So, why did we choose to sail on the RV (Royal Viking) for the third time in less than a year? Of course, the special rate that we are able to negotiate with our good friends at Viking is a great help, but the fact that it's a really nice boat/ship (or whatever) with comfortabely sized, clean cabins and perfectly nice food also goes a long way to my being more than comfortable with recommending it as well as sailing as often as we can afford to. It's a joy to sit on the sun-deck as you leisurely make your way between the glorious banks of the world's longest and most famous river.
We mustn't forget the pleasurable visits which the tourists undertake on their journey; the magnificent temples at both Edfu and Kom Ombo, as well as the various visits arranged for them in and around Aswan itself. But, for us, it's all about the actual cruising, and meeting fellow Brits who are (in the main) visiting the wonders of Egypt for the first time. We can re-live the thrill of our first encounters with Egypt's treasures as we converse with them, it's fab!
Mind you, they can include some queer folk, as you well know, Dear Reader!!!!
We were amazed to meet the husband and second daughter of a lady whom we met when we sailed in October! The husband was fascinating, with lots of special interests. It seems that his working life is spent making metal rust! Now, if that's not strange, I don't know what is!!!!! Never mind, a thoroughly nice chap, anyway. He was also "game for a laugh", and a bit anti-authority! Here he is, with the rest of the Ingleezy gang, displaying his anti-authoritarian streak by not wearing his life-jacket whilst on the felucca:
Added to this mix were the Chief of the Luxor Traffic police and his family, and a particularly self-assured young lady travelling solo, whom I was informed was very close to President El Sisi as a member of his equivalant to the American CIA and the Russian KGB!!!!!! Of course, it still being relatively close to the annual Egyptian holiday period, there were a good number of Egyptian families aboard, too.
The Journey South
The mountain lights in Luxor don't compare at all! But they're very different places, after all. We like Aswan a lot, and especially the Old Cataract Hotel, where we stayed on our very first trip there in 1997. It has real character!
After lazing round the boat all day on Thursday, we decided to stretch our legs with a stroll along there on Friday. It's only about 25 minutes or so, and we don't walk too fast, being ancient, you know? On the way, I always keep a lookout for things of interest, as you're aware, I'm sure.
I don't know whether you remember me mentioning the cruiseboat on wheels, with the accompanying picture? I brought it to your attention as the rumour was that Ethiopia was going to take more water from the Nile, and that the cruiseboat operators were considering stealing a march on the situation by sending the cruiseboats and passengers, via a magnificent new road (yet to be constructed) across the desert. Here's the proof which I provided at the time:
We made it to the Old Cataract, where we found comfortable seats in an advantageous position for watching other visitors as they came and went (as usual!). I took the obligatory pictures of the beautiful Moorish arches etc as we waited:
When we finally asked for the bill, we were astonished to find that our refreshments were "Complimentary, Mr Edward". How nice, it made the walk back to the boat all the sweeter!
Our journey back to Luxor
We stopped off at Kom Ombo and Edfu to facilitate the new arrivals' visits to the two temples.
I noticed a concrete barrier, of sorts, across a part of the river which ran behind an island.
Approaching the bridge and lock at Esna each cruiseboat is regaled by the local galabiya/table cloth/bath towel salesmen. Shouts of "Excuse me" "Hey Ingleezy" or (of course) "Hey beautiful" "My queen" "My sweetheart", usually get some response, and then the goods come flying through the air, being stuffed into a plastic bag for fear of falling into the water and being ruined. The idea being that the prospective purchaser can inspect the item before agreeing a price and throwing the cash (in the bag) back down to the seller. More often than not, though, it's the item which gets thrown back down in the bag, and often landing in the river! Here's some ideas of their tactics:
I don't know how they are managing to make a living by doing this in the current tourist situation.
Whilst waiting for the lock to empty into the downstream section of the river, I couldn't help but notice this particularly fine looking hydraulic press:
I think that that's about it for this journey, I do hope you've enjoyed coming along with us, even just as spectators. See you all again soon, I'm sure. TTFN.
(p.s. I hope these videos play properly for you, as I'm still not getting them on my machine. Grrrrrrrr!)