Sunday, 13 July 2014

Along the Nile

Right now it's blazing hot here.  The saving grace during this season is that the temps do cool down in the evening so that morning is quite pleasant.

We have some friends visiting, so we thought it would be nice to plan most outings in the morning or evening hours.  We would hate to return them to their homes with tomato-like appearances.  

John called Mustafa* and had him meet us with his felucca.  Mustafa arrived right on time but with a motor boat.  "No wind," he said.  We responded, "No problem."  We have had the opportunity before to sit in a windless sailboat and "take in the view" for long periods of time.  Motorboat it is.

We climbed in and began our trek down and around the first cataract of the Nile.  This river is the longest in the world and has fascinated many by its rich history.  Many Nubians live along the Nile in Upper Egypt.  The Nubian people have an amazing heritage that includes a royal history as the  "Black Pharaohs."  The Nubians that we know today are hospitable, open, intelligent and welcoming.  

As we continued down the Nile, we passed a clump of plants that Mustafa wanted to show us.  He pulled up alongside the shore and touched the leaves.  The leaves immediately folded up.  He said it was a carnivorous plant.  Now THAT is very cool.  He told us the name of it is "Shy Lady." (Although I have to admit that the Hall & Oates song started rumbling around in my head…"Oooooh, here she comes, watch out boy…"

Our friends commented on the colorful houses on one side of the river.  Nubians are extremely creative people.  They love bright colors and decorate their houses accordingly.  The dome design allows the heat the rise leaving the lower part of the room cooler during warm summer days.

We pass by a group of children spear fishing from the rocks at the shore.  They didn't seem to be much success, but they were all having a really good time.

A beach that we visited last week was now hosting a group of camels who looked like they wanted to take a union break.  I can't blame them.

Egypt is 95% desolate without the life that the Nile brings to it.  All the green that we see is only in close proximity to the water.  Desert is on either side.  The Nile has sustained this country and allowed its people to carve out a living in a very harsh land.

Mustafa steered us alongside an area of giant granite boulders.  Here we see actual hieroglyphics carved into the rock.  The area that we live in had been an ancient port for trade ships coming from Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and the countries along the Mediterranean. Amazing!

The quiet river ride and historical lessons were traded for the morning honks of local traffic.  Mustafa took us toward the city where hieroglyphics are replaced by hotels and cataracts are taken care of in a modern eye hospital.

Ancient and modern.  The Nubians have a saying, "There is no wheat where there is no grain."  I'm thankful to live among such an incredibly resilient people where seeds of Truth can be planted just as the lush vegetation takes root and flourishes along the Nile.


*Not his real name

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