Dreamily drifting on the Nile

The sun is setting now.  A gentle wind sweeps through my hair.  I am content here.

Sayed, our leader, knew today’s early morning visit to Abu Simbel would tire us all, and that a felucca ride on the Nile would be the best way to end our day.  He was absolutely right.

A traditional small wooden sail boat, with only three staff, picks us up from the dock.  We board to gentle smiles from the local men wearing light traditional Galabeas.  We settle on the small benches, anticipating the journey ahead.  This evening we are to travel up and down the Nile in Aswan.

Twilight colours ripple across the small waves.   The waters are gentle and calming with a slight breeze, enough to stir the sails of the boat and keep us drifting along.  I have been waiting for this moment for the entirety of the trip.

Everybody relaxed, we discuss the state of Egypt now after the unrest in 2011 and how the Egyptian people are feeling at the moment.  Sayed tells us that despite the revolution and Mubarak’s reign in parliament, the people are actually feeling positive now.  In Sayed’s words, having “learnt from their mistakes,” they are determined not to elect a president with religious intent.  With time spent in Cairo, where the riots were at their worst, I can honestly say I felt completely safe.

There were soldiers dotted around the place, as well as a few tanks, but as we drove past they smiled, and sometimes even waved!  Tourists are very welcome, and very much needed since the decline in their economy due to the lack of tourism in 2011. It’s certainly quiet in Egypt at the moment.

Sayed is a great tour leader, and a great man.  Happy to discuss anything, he explains the facts in perfect English and terrific detail.  He also has a fantastic sense of humour, keeping the group laughing all the way, there is a feeling of true contentment on board.

After a while, I decide to move and sit on the front bow of the boat by myself as the sun begins to set.  Sat here I think about my time in Egypt.  It’s been unbelievable so far.  Rich, unparalleled history, inconceivable architectural feats and incredibly friendly people have made this trip one of a lifetime.  But this is a moment of pure inspiration; sat alone, Nile waters moving under the small boat, mesmerised by the reflections of the sun in the water I am drawn into this country.

I do not want this to end.  I love being on the water; there is something so charming and alluring about this little felucca.  I could have sat here for hours drinking in the beautiful scenes of the Nile around me.  Yes, I am content here.

I am pulled out of this moment of dreamy captivation by Sayed.  He is telling me that the men on the boat would like to perform a traditional song.  They start to sing, and we all stand and appreciate their performance.  Sayed joins in the singing, his eyes lighting up with enjoyment.  We clap along, and as I take in the group, there are huge smiles all round.  I am happy to be taken from my dreamy moment.  This is a lovely end to our time on the felucca.

I am incredibly sad that this journey has to end, but I will be back.  I love this place too much, and the Nile is a beautiful place to sail and be at peace.  As one of my favourite bands, Train, puts it “This Ain’t Goodbye”.

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