Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cruising the NIle

Cruising The Nile

The Nile River is said to be the lifeline of Egypt, and without the river, Egypt could not exist. The country is one massive hot desert with a thin strip of green running through it nourished by the Nile. If you visit Egypt, you are never going to be far from the Nile, so taking a Nile Cruise during our visit to Egypt seemed a good idea.

Pumping The Nile
The number of cruise ships in Egypt is amazing, all along the river they are moored in spots four or five deep. Unfortunately, most of them sit rusting and sad with fading paint, shredded canvas awnings and torn indoor/outdoor carpeting. When we arrived at “our” ship it sat beside the Nile surrounded by these unhappy looking dockmates. Later I questioned our guide who told me that prior to the revolution most of these ships would have been carrying tourists up and down the river constantly, but the tourists have been scared away so the ships were mothballed, waiting for things to improve, but it hasn't yet.

Tombs Along The Nile
The cruise began in Luxor, which although smaller than Cairo, it is still a large city, so it took a while before we started to see the real Nile. But as we went further and further south the scenery got better and more interesting. In many areas there were sandstone mountains and in other areas almost jungle like areas of greenery. These green areas were never very wide however, and the further south we went the narrower these strips got. Sometimes the desert came right to the riverside. There were always little settlement not far apart, but there were also areas of green.
Prime Real Estate

Our boat did not move very quickly up the river, giving us plenty of time to watch the Nile scenery drift by. We saw longer sections without the ever-present mosque towers announcing their presence throughout the country. Other areas were quiet sections inhabited by only cows, donkeys and people living in simple reed huts, quietly tending family plots alongside the life-giving Nile. I will say that no matter how far south we went, there was always some sign of people. After all, the Egyptians only have these tiny green strips to live comfortably, so few were wasted.

Unfortunately no matter how remote the sections of the Nile were, there was usually one sign of civilization. The boat might be slipping through a section appearing to be nothing but green palms, but then “Put-put-put” would echo across the river. In those quiet remote rural areas, there is no power grid but water still has to be pumped from the Nile to grow the crops so the quiet was broken by the sound of diesel engines running pumps which pumped the water from the Nile into the surrounding fields, trying to stretch the strips of green as far a possible.

Our cruise ended in the city of Aswan. With the building of two massive dams, navigation of the river stops here. This is a beautiful city with most of it built just on the east bank of the river, providing a lovely desert view across to the west bank. A nice place to terminate our Nile Cruise experience. In fact this is where Ms Agatha Christie ended her Nile cruise and stopped to write her book “Death On The Nile”.

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