Wednesday 13 December 2023

Boat rides and Nubian village

Today started so peacefully with a felucca ride across the river. Feluccas are engineless sailing boats that have travelled up and down the Nile for centuries.

Our captain and his crew took us across to a little island in the middle of the river that is now a botanical garden. (But not before we had a little sing song, a dance around the boat and a souvenir shopping opportunity!)

The botanical garden could also have been peaceful, but hiding amongst the undergrowth were salespeople. They appeared without warning, some holding baby crocodiles to be posed for photos, others selling wooden crocodiles and tea towels, and one man who walked alongside us for ages with nothing to sell, but who just kept reading out the labels on the plants in the hope of receiving a tip.

We did manage to spend some time on our own too.

Next up was a boat trip up through the cataract. A cataract is a series of rocky rapids with fast flowing water. I don't know why I don't have a picture of this as it was lovely, but this is a photo of the start of the journey just before the rapids.

Then we reached a very sandy section and stepped ashore so that a few brave passengers could have a quick swim.

Obviously there was another shopping opportunity on the sand, and Darren spent about ten minutes haggling over a little glass camel filled with sand. It's very pretty and I hope that we can get it home without it getting broken.

Back on board we headed a bit further upstream to visit a Nubian village for a cup of tea and slice of bread in a typical local house.

The village very pretty with brightly painted houses and even brighter interiors.

The house had rooms around a courtyard and looked very comfortable. It is considered lucky for the household if they keep a crocodile in the courtyard, and this one had an enormous one in a cage just a few feet from the dining table.

It seemed very cruel to me and it is a very strange tradition, and we are not sure what happens to the crocodile when it gets too big for the cage, but we are certain that it can't be good.

On the way back we passed through the streets filled with tourist tat and all of the store holders constantly asking where you are from. They only know 'London', and they immediately reply 'lovely jubbly', and 'Liverpool' where they say 'Mo Salah' and try to sell you his football shirt.

Back in time for lunch and an afternoon on the sunbeds, followed by a sunset over the Nile.

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