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Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the Nile

"If you come to the fork in the road, take it"

Thursday was the start of our three day sail down the Nile in Feluccas. At 5 AM took the ferry over to the island to try and catch some reflection from the rocks of the cataracts but the current was flowing to swiftly to have smooth water. While waiting for the ferry a kid with his donkey cart filled with propane tanks was unloading his cart to take the tanks to the island. Later I counted the steps, 43 steps of Aswan red granite. After I got to the bottom heard a series of crashes as one of the tanks rolled all the way down. Then I realized it wasn't a slip up on his part, he was rolling the tanks down the steps. One tank hit the wall and started hissing gas much to the dismay of some one cooking over an open flame at the ferry dock. As we left on the ferry he was hitting the valve with a rock to stop the leak while I expected to see a large ball of flame. Much different code for handling hazardous materials .

At around 10 AM we left Aswan in two Feluccas camping out two nights on the Nile. Having raced sailboats, these were vastly different from anything I have ever sailed but completely unchanged from the way the Nile has been sailed for hundreds of years. They seem ungainly with not only the boom moving but also the mast. At times one of the crew would climb almost to the top of the mast to free a line. At night the Nubian crew would entertain us with there drumming, singing, and dancing. Of course while enjoying our Nile sail it is proper to feel sorry for the passengers in their air conditioned staterooms as they chug past in their large Nile cruisers. Just like when your ridding through the Valley of Kings and beyond on your donkey and are passed by poor tourists in their large coaches so isolated from real Egypt.

It is now Saturday and we are in Luxor for two days, was just down to the Luxor Temple but it is hotter than normal, about 110 degrees and normal should be 80 to 90. Also it is severe clear, no clouds, need to get out and photograph early. Plan to be at the Karnak Temple at 6 AM.

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