WE ARE SAILING......
29.09.2010 - 06.10.2010
Cruising on the Nile is obviously a very popular pastime, attested to by the large numbers of ships we saw, often berthed three abreast at major stops.
Our cabin was air-conditioned and comfortable, with a large picture window through which we could watch life along the banks slipping by.
On our first evening we found the beds had been turned down, and a sculpture of towel-art on our bed!
Thereafter, the cabin stewards created a new one every evening, and hung about in the passage waiting to revel in our exclamations of surprise and delight. We soon discovered that whatever was left on the dressing table became fair game for their creative outlets - as the rest of the towel art will show further down. They could hardly speak a word of English, but appreciated our admiration!
In the dining room, we enjoyed buffet-style meals; but with only small daily variations it tended to become monotonous (There are only so many different ways one can prepare so-called sea bass!) We were allocated to a table for the whole time, and became friendly with our table companions, Mandy and Gillian.
The Egyptian waiters could speak a little English, but had a great sense of fun, often pretending to drop one's plate, and would demonstrate tricks with matches after supper.
On the top deck, which was open, there is a bar and a plunge-pool. Many of the English passengers lay about all day, cooking like sausages in the sun, but we found the heat stifling until it eased a little after dark.
Drinks on board are very expensive, and we had been advised to pay for an all-inclusive drinks package. Sandi ordered a Bloody Mary at the bar one evening, which threw the barman into a quiet flap! After eventually getting Sahar to translate the word "tomato", he disappeared for the third time. We had almost given up waiting, when he appeared, proudly bearing her drink, then stood back for her appreciation. The drink looked rather anaemic, but Sandi took a gulp and spluttered! He had gone down 3 levels to the kitchen, pulverised some fresh tomatoes, added loads of water and a shot of vodka! Try as she might, Sandi couldn't even pretend to like it, as it was beyond vile. Rather strange to put a cocktail on the drinks menu when no-one knew what it was! Maybe it was just another bit of quirky Egyptian humour.
The locals seem to do everything in the river; washing themselves, clothes, and their livestock.
The belt of agricultural land on either side of the river is irrigated with water pumps like this.
As we left Edfu, we noted the buildings were colourful, in contrast to the usual mud-brick houses. This is probably due to Nubian influence in the southern region.
Sunset over the river was spectacular every day.
Another evening revealed another towel-art creation!
David took the opportunity to tour the workings of the ship and kitchens, and was impressed with the triple filtration system in place for treating the water. Here is our skipper on the bridge. We learnt that they get to know the river intimately from a young age, as an apprentice for many years, then pass some exams to become a skipper, with little formal education.
The Nubian dancers, who entertained us while berthed at Aswan, performed a series of unsophisticated, but colourful dances. They also brought on a witchdoctor and a horse, which went around intimidating the passengers!
The high-light of the week was the much-publicised Galabeya Evening. A galabeya is the dress-like garment worn by traditional Egyptian men and women. Most of the English passengers on our tour group bought galabeyas and got into the party spirit, but the German tour group declined to take part!
It was a fun evening, and several of us were chosen to play silly games.
We won two bottles of beer on a raffle, which was a bit wasted on us as we had unlimited drinks on board!
Sunset on the second last day.