The day we spent as starfish

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Day 29: Aswan-Luxor via Felucca (7 Oct ‘09) The day we spent as starfish

After a good night’s rest in a nice hotel we were ready for a breakfast with a lovely buffet and an omelette man and then ready to board our felucca. Now, here’s the story, it’s an interesting mix of people as we’ve said on the trip and as everyone who’s ever been on a group tour knows there are some people you enjoy spending time with and others you don’t. So, we were trying to get the people we liked on one felucca and as it turns out Mayer told us that he ordered two feluccas so we’d all have more room and be more comfortable. Although we tried to be cunning and tell people to join us; the plan worked out even better than we had expected (although it seems that we were basically ostracized from the group-but we were fine with that)…James, Louise, Mathew and I wound up more or less having a felucca to ourselves. Jay (Northwestern graduate from Chicago who works for Accenture consulting) and Mayer were on for awhile then got onto the support boat for the rest of the day and just slept on our felucca in the evening…how silly, that meant that on the same size boat there were over 10 people on the other one with all of their stuff not having room to lay down comfortably and we could have used ours as a gymnastics mat for tumbling runs! Mayer had promised us a day that we could lay like starfish and we did just that!

The feulcca itself looked like a sailboat but the deck was covered with matresses and that whole area was covered over to keep out the sun. We had an older gentleman and a young guy to sail; the young one smoked cigarettes while the older one favored the shisha pipe. Get this; apparently the tobacco brick that goes in the shisha pipe is like forty cigarettes in one and sometimes the smoker might smoke two bricks a day! You could imagine the breathing difficulties that one might have walking around a country that is very friendly with their shishas, right? Anyway, we lounged a bit, chatted, took photos, read our books and made some stops with our support boat. That boat was a motor boat with a generator-two floors, two toilets and a kitchen eating area and a lounge. We had lunch on the top after our boats were tied together and we could hop from one to the next as if we were in the dukes of hazzard. Lunch was carb central…potato and lots of them), macaroni and some sort of naan bread and tahini…well, look, at least it was something that I could eat, right? We hung with a few goats and then got back on our feluccas for the day to relax the day away. We sailed again for a couple of hours and then a toilet break and as we started to sail we wound up turning around as one of the sailors left his cigarettes on the river bed…crazy, right? We continued to sail until sunset and then had our boats all tied up together; the felucca is not allowed to sail during the nighttime so we were moored on the river bed and tied to the support boats as well. The sun went down after our wonderfully relaxing day on our felucca and we were ready for dinner. It was chicken for the others with beans and rice and I ate some rice with some peanut butter. The others did also have a first course of chicken soup that you squeezed lime into which they said was good and very interesting. We ate, relaxed, I had an asthma attack and we watched the stars in the night sky as the moon rose overhead with only a few lights on the river bead and the sounds of the Nile to lull us to sleep. We made our last toilet run (well, hop that is as we jumped from felucca to motorboat through the windowless windows) as the generator would shut off in a short while and then if you had to use the toilet it would be by torch light only. And of course you would also have to find the rubbish bin as in many parts of Egypt as on this boat you are not allowed to put toilet tissue in the toilet it must go in the bin.

We headed to our felucca, unrolled our sleeping bags, took out our torches, put on some bug spray, brushed our teeth into the Nile and attempted to sleep on the banks of the river Nile. The boat rocked a bit when it had to be retied, the animals howled and the mossies bit like crazy in the warm night air making it a bit difficult to sleep…but the air was clear and it was certainly a night to remember (even if we didn’t get much sleep and I acquired 22 mosquito bites-7 on my face alone). Good night sweet Nile…we’ll see what sunrise tomorow may bring!

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