After a horrible start to my Egypt trip, a ride on the Nile was just what the doctor ordered.
The trip to Egypt had hit a critical low before it had even really begun. My second night into the trip, while on a leisurely night stroll in Aswan with Liebling, I was accosted and mugged. Two hundred and fifty dollars poorer and infinitely more cynical after a frustrating time at the police station reporting the robbery, I almost felt ready to pack my bags and scamper home to rainy London without a look back. I went to bed that evening with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. I awoke the next morning feeling angry and deflated.
And then I went on a felucca ride on the Nile.
Generally regarded as the longest river in the world, the Nile stretches over 4,000 miles through 11 countries in the east of Africa. The primary water source for countries largely shrouded in desert like Egypt and Sudan, the Nile is as important to every day life as it is mystically beautiful.
A felucca is a wooden sailing boat commonly in use in Egypt and is not large; only made to seat a handful of people (even 10 is a probably too much), a ride in a felucca offers a calmer, slower alternative to cruising the Nile in a noisy motorboat. Felucca rides are particularly popular in Aswan, so it wasn’t hard to find a local willing to take us out on the river. We paid 150 Egyptian Pounds (a little over $20 USD) for a 2.5 hour river jaunt. And you know what? It was fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
I don’t really like water. I can barely swim and on my week long sailing trip to Croatia a few years back I spent most of the time curled up below deck feeling seasick. But the felucca moves slowly, languidly through the water, keeping my stomach and fears of being thrown overboard in check. Our guide deftly handled the boat, and when he found out that Liebling has his sailing licence, implored him to help.
The sun was shining, the water was sapphire, a light breeze was blowing through my short little dreadlocks. I was feeling like Cleopatra or Nefertiti as Liebling and our guide worked the sails (yes, I am dramatic)! All the feelings of helplessness and anger I felt shed themselves like a snakeskin.
Um, I so needed this. I may have lost $250 USD, but this $20 ride on a boat made me feel like a million bucks. And that, my friends, is a great thing.
Have you ever gone sailing?