Nile River Scenes – Part One – Feb. 2009


An Egyptian toreador?
An Egyptian toreador?

We toured the Upper Nile for seven nights on our cruise boat, the Giselle. The Upper Nile supports agriculture in two narrow, green strips on its East and West banks. It is farmed by the poorest of the poor – the fellahin – Egyptian converts to Islam who cannot trace their ancestry back to Arab, or better yet, Mohammedan roots.

Men in boat
Men in boat

Life is difficult for the fellahin. They used to own their land and now (my research was done in 2009) they rent it or, if they cannot afford to rent, they are paid about a dollar a day as labourers. Now, with land commanding high prices that are driven largely by the tourism industry, the fellahin are frequently driven off the land they once owned or rented by the owner when he/she (most probably he) sells. Actually, life for the fellahin is worse than this. If you are interested, here’s a link to their story from the Egypt Independent, written by Maria Golla.

Old houseboat becomes a waterfront property
Old houseboat becomes a waterfront property

This old houseboat apparently serves as a dwelling for a large extended family or group of people. Perhaps they are the families of workers allowed to live there by a landlord.

Boy hails our boat, the Giselle
Boy hails our boat, the Giselle

These boys were playing on the East bank of the river as we passed. One enthusiastically called out to our boat.

Women collect water
Women collect water

These women were collecting water from the river. The Nile is very clean near Aswan. We saw a tourist woman swimming in the middle of river there.

Elephantine Island Ferry cost us 50 cents. Woman in back.
Elephantine Island Ferry cost us 50 cents. Woman in back.
Near Aswan, Anita and I took an pleasant optional cruise with our tour group around Elephantine Island in a felucca. To save time, when the cruise was finished we had our group’s felucca drop us off on Elephantine Island – for an inflated price. There we visited the Nubian village of Koti on our own for about 2 hours. The chief’s son took us around. More on that in a future post.
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We then took this ferry back across the narrow channel to Aswan for about 50 cents and walked back to the Giselle. Note the woman sits in the back of the boat. This is a common custom in Egypt. I encountered more of the same on the Cairo subway, where women sit in cars that are further back. Considering how crushed we men were in a forward car, I get it. More on that in a later post. I took this photo after we had disembarked the ferry. No one, by the way, objected to Anita sitting with me in the middle of the craft. We felt very safe and welcome wherever we went.
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Author: mytiturk

Travelbug Minstrel: Strum for my supper, croon for my cuppa Search for a sign, write for my whine

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