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HomeTravel WritingA Precarious Encounter on the Nile - Intrepid Instances

A Precarious Encounter on the Nile – Intrepid Instances

Throughout a cruise down the Nile River, a traveler and her fellow vacationers watch as a small boat pulls up alongside theirs. What may these strangers need?

It’s day two aboard MS Mayfair, cruising south from Luxor to Edfu. This morning, whereas exploring the sun-scorched, vegetation-barren Valley of the Kings, it felt hotter than the almost hundred-and-ten-degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the very fact the hour hand hadn’t but ticked previous seven. Again on board, nonetheless, because the blood-orange solar begins to set under the horizon, and a faint breeze stirs from our vessel’s ahead propulsion, I nearly overlook in regards to the searing warmth. It’s mid-October, and from now till February, Egyptians think about this their winter season, which is perennially sunny and heat.

If I feel in Celsius, it doesn’t really feel as scorching. It’s solely forty-three levels. Again residence in London, Ontario, the mercury is dropping nightly to single digits, turning the inexperienced leaves to vibrant hues of reds and golds. However right here, cruising the Nile, the luxurious panorama of the Nile Valley bordering the nation’s river from prime to backside is eternally swathed in inexperienced. The Nile, the longest river on this planet and shared by 11 nations, flows northward by way of Africa and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The river bisects the Western and Jap deserts, the place little naturally grows, and if not for the Nile, all of Egypt can be barren. The Greek historian Herodotus toured the nation within the fifth century BC and known as Egypt “the present of the Nile.” His declaration is as correct right now because it was then. The Nile is the lifeblood of Egyptian civilization.

It has been an extended day, however I’m revived by the breeze as I prepared myself to take pleasure in afternoon tea and some shortbread biscuits on the open higher deck with a couple of of my journey companions. This isn’t the same old approach I discover a overseas nation, adhering to a regimented, tightly-scheduled itinerary, escorted on and off a ship or motor coach, and touring with safety guards, their lengthy rifles peeking out from beneath their fits. However right here, steel detectors and fixed safety sweeps are obligatory for our protected journey by way of Egypt.

As I settle in on one of many wood daybeds draped in lengthy billowing curtains, I savor all of the sensorial delights of the second. A small group of passengers gathering on the Port facet of the deck catches my eye as a result of one thing has clearly caught theirs. They’re intently targeted on one thing instantly under them within the water. A crocodile, maybe? Uncommon, however not unattainable. A rising cacophony of noise rises from the river’s floor three decks under, and I instantly bounce to the conclusion we’re being attacked by terrorists. The Nile was as soon as the principle artery of commerce and journey throughout historical instances and remains to be one of the best ways for vacationers to expertise this a part of the nation. Why, I mused earlier, don’t Egyptian Nile cruises prolong the river’s size like excursions of bygone eras? I realized from our information that for the reason that Nineteen Nineties, Nile excursions have been restricted to a small part between Luxor and Aswan as a result of Center Egypt, the realm north of Luxor and south of Cairo, is usually threatened by terrorist assaults. We’re greater than a day south of Luxor at this level, however I can’t assist my over-active creativeness from fearing the worst.

Lastly, I cave to my curiosity, shifting nearer to the railing to analyze. A big sq. object flies vertically up from the water as I step ahead. The projectile hovers briefly at my eye degree earlier than touchdown on the wood deck with a thud. A bomb? A grenade? I inch nearer to the railing and peek over the facet of the boat. It takes me a second to course of what’s occurring under. I see two Egyptian males, dressed historically in lengthy white tunics, standing of their small blue motorboat. They’ve tied their tiny vessel to ours and at the moment are touring alongside us at our cruising velocity, and their boat dips and flows to our rhythm. We’re shifting at fairly a clip, and now so are the 2 males. I’m impressed by their ingenuity, fearlessness, however worry for our security. Is that this a pirate assault? They give the impression of being up at us, and we glance down at them. They’re yelling at us in Arabic, however they begin talking English once we don’t reply.

My eyes dart to the package deal on the deck earlier than I look again on the two males. They’re straddling the arching wood hull of their boat, painted in the identical indigo blue used within the tomb work I noticed earlier right now. I watch, captivated, because the surreal sight unfolds earlier than me. They unfurl one thing I initially mistake as a flag. Are they protesting our presence on the waterway? We’re interlopers, in any case. I’m right here on a visa and nicely conscious it may be revoked. They pull the rectangle piece of material taut between them, and with last recognition, I’m flooded with aid. They’re exhibiting us a tablecloth. They’re not terrorists, they’re merchants, and so they’re decided to make a sale.

The beginning worth is twenty American {dollars}. “An excessive amount of,” a girl beside me shouts over the railing.

The tablecloth is bordered by indigo blue lotus flowers that develop abundantly within the Nile wetlands. It’s Egypt’s nationwide flower and wealthy with the symbolism of creation, resurrection and renewal. Just like the water lilies again residence, the lotus flowers open with the rising solar and shut when it units. The aromatic blue flower is taken into account an aphrodisiac, as depicted in tomb work.

One other acquainted sight from the Nile adorns the material. A number of species of geese and geese, some resting and a few in flight, full the sample. The tablecloth is a murals, and I shift from observer to lively participant. The boys rapidly roll up the material and toss it into the hull of their boat. That tablecloth, I notice, quintessentially represents Historic Egypt, and I’ve to have it, however how?

Earlier than I’ve an opportunity to step again from the railing, they hurl one other bomb onto the deck, mere ft from me. I can’t even start to work out the physics of their throw, not to mention the fixed accuracy of their goal, however each are spectacular. The bartering begins, and after some energetic bantering backwards and forwards, we agree on ten American {dollars} for the tablecloth and a dozen matching napkins. The subsequent problem is to finalize our transaction, however in what approach? One other bundle hits the deck. My buy has arrived. One of many males tells me to place my cash into the supply and throw it again to him. Not possible. Nevertheless, with just a little good-natured goading from my journey companions, I tuck my cash into the package deal, take goal, and toss it all the way down to ready palms. He pulls out my invoice, inspects it, and provides me a thumbs up. We’re good. He hurls my buy again to me. This time, I lean over the railing and catch it. Our transaction is full, and I embrace my present from the Nile.

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