A feluccing good time on the Nile

Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
Trip End Jan 20, 2011

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Felucca boat

Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, November 15, 2010

So it’s a sad day that we say goodbye to Aswan, the city really is bursting with personality if you’re prepared to venture off of your tour bus / cruise ship to really see the city as it’s meant - on foot, lost with an Egyptian up your ass trying to sell you something you don’t want, will never use and will likely never survive the trip back home with you…
It’s felucca time and we’re lead off to our home for the next couple of nights, a small sail boat docked in the harbour.  

It’s not what we expect, it’s better! The whole deck area where we expected wooden seat benches, ropes and buckets to bail out the water we’d no doubt be taking in, is in fact a massive bed!!! Yup, a bed.  There are large mattresses and pillows lining the whole of the boat area bar the bow and a small kitchen area for our dinners to be cooked.  It is awesome and super comfy. 

We settle in quickly, claiming our spots for bunking down for the next few days (snorers in one corner, gays in another) and then we’re off.  Well sort off… We sail for about 10 minutes to get to a police check point where we have to wait around for a while to have our papers checked etc.  But it’s hardly a chore to sit back and relax on the boat as the sun shines on us and we wait for the papers to be sorted.  Then we’re off again and starting to experience the true sailing.

The boat is really stable and makes it’s way zigzagging across the waters at the most perfectly relaxing pace.  I for one am in heaven - there is no truck winds blaring across your face, numbing your cheeks, knotting your hair and watering your eyes, no horns blaring and nobody trying to sell you crap! It’s ‘the’ place to relax and when in Rome… 
We kick back and pass the time reading, watching the sights pass us by and just generally chilling, with some beer thrown in as well of course.  The guys have a few beers to add to the fun as we make our way up stream.  We’re randomly stopped once by the police for a check of some kind -  btw cheers for being grumpy b*stards who get all our gear wet with your speed boat!  But other than that it’s a chilled affair as we pull up to a side spot to pick up Kay who has done an extra day on another boat - oh how peaceful it WAS…
Then it’s a break for lunch as we pull up onto a small stretch of beach on the banks of the Nile. The chef serves a delicious meal on board the boat and we sit and chill as our food settles.  It’s then back to it as we glide our way serenely up to our camp for the night… 

Camp is another small beach a little while up the Nile.  They must have known we were coming as three young boys set up there ‘stalls’ to entice us into buying a range of handmade necklaces, bracelets and crocodiles!! I opt for a necklace and bracelet for all of 1 equivalent each, I didn’t even barter them down, it’s crazy cheap and they seem pretty well made for the money. 

 The local man who runs the felucca trips invites us to his house for dinner and we make our way over there after watching a beautiful sunset from the boat.  The village is a bit of a walk through fields of varying terrain - some irrigation systems, some cow patted to high heaven and some dusty and sandy - needless to say once returning we all needed to give our feet a wee wash in the Nile.  The village is small and the house we eat at seems more of a complex of houses with an open courtyard and communal chilling area attached to a small room where we eat our meal.  The food is tasty and the atmosphere pretty cool.  It’s not top of the list of local interactions but it’s nice to get off the boat and see some of the local towns that surround the Nile.   
After dinner we relax and chat about Oz with some of the gang to get a feel for what we should do when we hit Melbourne and Sydney (we’re now practically locals but will still be counting on our own personal tour guide for Sydney (and Dahab!) - Kimmie dear you’re a star).  Whilst we chat, Kim is trying to arrange a sheesha for her and the guys, it takes about 40 minutes to find it and get it semi working to find out then that they only have local tobacco… Non-flavoured tobacco in a sheesha is pretty rank - like smoking lots of stale, unfiltered cigarettes all at once.  But they can hardly decline after the trouble they went to to get it from the village…
 As we’re relaxing the room where we eat turns into a ‘boys club’ of sorts as a number of old local men come filtering through and congregate in the room.  Allison, not one to miss a good shot, gets invited in (leaving her trusty crocs at the door as is expected) and takes some photos of the men, much to their delight.  Ish then joins to get a few too before having an explore of the houses in the complex and meeting the lovely ladies who prepared our dinner. 
Then it’s back to the felucca where we bed down on the boat and prepare for a good night’s sleep.  Which is easy as the calming rhythm of the Nile waters gently lap the side of the boat we drift into a quick slumber and then it’s sunrise before we know it.  The sun rises across the waters and is the most beautiful sight to wake up to (even if it is 5.30am!) but once risen it’s back to catch a few more zzz’s. 
 On waking again it’s time to test the waters as Jules and I head for an early morning swim / wash! The water is pretty cold but lovely and refreshing, if you can resist the strong pull of the current.  Thankfully the dam means there are no crocs in the water so we can safely relax (bilharzia who!).  Then it’s breakfast and drying off time before we hit the waters again.  It’s more of the same and to break it up a bit today we go for a swim before they pitch the sail.  The current is really strong and we try our hardest to stay up water of the boat.  As the pic below shows it’s not so easy to be where you want to be for the less adapt swimmers like me and Ish.





It’s another delicious lunch at a small beach stop (which couldn’t come soon enough for Jules as she had had a few beers and didn’t quite have the courage to just ’go’ off the back of the boat!) before continuing on to make camp.  Camp that night is again a small beach stop where we eat on the boat by candlelight.  Not before the guys have had a swim and some more beers…


 Dinner is really tasty and eating on the boat is becoming a favourite way to be served and enjoy food with friends.   After the food is demolished (‘yes, seconds please’ featuring highly on this trip) we play a few games of “would you rather” which leads to insights into the inner minds of each other as we answer whether or not we would rather call our child ‘Bookcase’ or ‘Battery’ or if we would rather have loved and been heartbroken or never have loved - a nice range of topics covered (Kim your’s was both too disturbing to answer (other than for AK!!!!!) or to mention aloud ever again!!).  

We also play a few games of counting to 20, one by one, but not developing a pattern, signalling to each other or saying the same number at the same time. It’s a tricky one but quite fun and we manage not to throw Jules, Spencer or Ronald off the boat as we make it to 19 but not 20...  We do finally make it to 20 after a short break to play a story telling game involving Ish’s suspicious disappearance and remains of underpants and a finger……… Honestly, the most beer any one person consumed that night was 2 cans - maybe we do need to get off this boat…
After another great night’s sleep on the boat, an amazing sunrise and another early morning swim / bath it’s off for a very short trip across the river to our pick up point to head out to Luxor.  We cram into the minibus, which only just has enough room and only because Kay has decided to stay on the felucca and return to Aswan, thank god or we’d be in trouble fitting into that bus. 
 We make our way to our first stop, the Kom Ombo temple situated in the town by the same name, built c130 years BC.  Jules and I are the only ones to head into the temple and are glad we do.  It’s a really cool little temple that’s pretty unusual as it’s a double temple meaning it has two sets of everything for two different gods.  The whole place is teeming with well preserved hieroglyphics, some of which have retained some colour despite being unprotected from the sun.  The place has a lot of atmosphere and isn’t too filled with tourists as we luckily miss the cruise boats stopping (they file past in their hundreds just as we’re leaving). 




The next stop is the temple of Edfu, the second largest temple in Egypt (the first being Karnack in Luxor).  The temple is a shrine to the falcon god, Horus, hence all the bird statues floating around.  It’s a pretty cool temple but doesn’t have the intimacy and character of Kom Ombo but it’s still worth a visit given it’s supposed to be one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. After the temple it’s an hour’s drive or so into Luxor town to our camp for the next few days.



We would have liked to have spent more time on the boat before being picked up by our minibus and were under the impression that we would be seeing the temples from the boat rather than by bus but we still have had an amazing trip and would recommend everyone doing at least a couple of nights on the felucca - if we could have we would have gone as far up the Nile as possible over a number of days.

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