Back on the M.S. Medea, we all had a late lunch in the dining room in which once again, the food was delicious and the service impeccable. By then, all the servers knew that I was a vegetarian (or "fussy" as Michel puts it) and were constantly advising me on which dish to choose.
As we ate, the M.S. Medea's motors could be heard and the gentle rocking of the ship felt as it slowly left the pier heading south on the Nile River under a clear blue sky and a bright warm sun to guide us. We were sailing via the Esna Lock to Edfu.
The afternoon was spent on the top open deck of the cruise ship relaxing on the comfortable lounging chairs while the ship’s captain navigated the M.S. Medea on the calm waters of the river. The weather felt like in the high twenties and life couldn’t be any better!
The landscape seen along the Nile River was absolutely stunning where lush green vegetation, palm trees, huge sand dunes and the Sahara desert surrounded us. As we passed by many small villages, many women were seen washing their clothes or dishes in the polluted river whereas men, working in the fields. Small children waved at us while playing on the dirt roads right next to their small old brick houses while goats and cows chewed grass close by. Chickens flew all over the place as men rode their camels or horse drawn wagons next to them.
This was life along the Nile River. This was life where people appeared be happy and lived with the simplest things in an era where evolution seemed to have stopped. Where life had its hardship but everyone was making the most out of it and surviving. Most of the houses seen were in pretty bad shape, some having no glass windows at all. However every one of them had one or several satellite dish, the only up to date visible technology seen from my standing point.
As I scrutinized my surroundings with my camera’s telescopic lens, on dry land, all local women walked around covered from head to toes and here we were very close by sunbathing on the top deck of our cruise ship! Men sat on their open door steps, probably taking an afternoon break while chatting between them and drinking a cup of tea. Friendship was very obvious in these small villages as arms were held together by these local men this being regarded a normal custom in this country.
In other areas, local men with rifles sat comfortably on the ground guarding their villages or territory along the Nile River. Who were they guarding their villages from? They were dressed like any other locals and not wearing any official uniforms. Aware of my watching, they looked straight back at me, right into my camera and waved back with big wide toothless smiles! Were those guns even real!
As we continued cruising south on the Nile River, here and there, some local fishermen on small boats were seen repeatedly tossing their fish nests into the dirty river hoping to catch their meal for the evening while bulls and cows enjoyed a dip in the cool waters not too far away. In several areas, small fires were made by the locals along the river’s shore which produced thick heavy smoke that followed us in the sky for short period of times.
This was life along the Nile River seen from a foreigner point of view. Life was simple but everyone was making the best of it!
As for us, sitting on the top deck of the cruise ship and looking all around us, it was absolutely wonderful seeing all of this beautiful landscape that kept opening in front of us while the M.S. Medea continued its path further south. Once in a while, beautiful feluccas would pass right next to us giving us a view of the way the ancients were navigating the Nile River centuries ago.
In late afternoon and still on the top open deck, the refreshing warm breeze of the wind was quite welcomed on our faces as we drank our afternoon tea and ate delicious cookies under the bright yellow sun stare.
As the sun slowly made its disappearance act behind the sand dunes, its bright yellow and orange rays produced a spectacular sunset along the river convincing me once and for all that life along the Nile River had its glories and rewards!
Thankful for cruising down the Nile River!