A felucca down the Nile – day one

Thursday 8 January 2009 – Felucca day one

We boarded our felucca and met our crew – captain Hassan, cabin boy (not that there’s a cabin!) Amir, who with his very swivelly hips had demonstrated his skill as a dancer at last night’s party, and cook Hassan, whose face had an extraordinarily lived-in countenance and whose feet looked to be at least partly those of a camel!

After a short stop to register our departure with the Nile river police, we tacked gently back and forth northwards down the river. Gradually lethargy overtook most of us and snapping photos and chatting gave way to gazing in silence, reading and napping.

The sitting area around the edge of the boat had been covered with boards. Luggage went down below and we lounged on thin mattresses up on top. A canopy covered the boat at a height of about five feet, so standing was only possible on the foredeck. Lunch was excellent babaganoosh, tomato and cucumber salad, tuna, bread and fruit – simple but fine.

Around sunset we pulled over on a beach to camp for the night. We each made our toilet arrangements while the crew set the deck for dinner, which was ‘beef’ stew (possibly camel), some very tasty vegies (mostly potatoes, stewed in tomato).

 

After dinner our crew built a fire and played Nubian and other folk songs as they’d done at Esna’s last night. A couple more feluccas were camped just along the beach (their crew having provided a toilet tent!) so with a couple of beers, a small party developed. The passengers of the other boats being on average half the age (or less) of ours, our lot was ready for bed quite soon.

I had taken ‘Gastro Stop’ for my squits and indeed all bowel action had stopped, so I was aware that what I ate and drank would involve either constipation or nocturnal expeditions along the river bank at night, or a special stop on the shore by day, so moderate consumption marked the journey. The Egyptian national diet of white bread, eggs and meat does little for the digestion.

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