Feluccas on the Nile
Every tour offers a felucca ride on the Nile, which had us raising a skeptical eyebrow -- a tourist trap-ish kind of thing, we were sure.
It was really nice. Relaxing, and unbelievably quiet. I finally realized something while we were casually floating around Elephantine Island -- it's quiet here. Really quiet. No cars, no horns, no city sounds. Aswan is quiet. Luxor is quiet. The only city with the cacophony I've come to expect in the states is Cairo.
Feluccas are small -- maybe 25 feet? -- with a single mast and a slanted sail that reminded me of Chinese barques. The keel board can be lifted up, since the Nile is shallow. They are broad and shallow , and usually crewed by two people -- the captain and a young kid who runs and deals with the sheets and lines. And makes tea -- using a small propane burner on the deck.
Nearly every ship has the Eye of Re on the prow, and most have interesting names. The captains, used to the tourist trade, speak English and usually a few other languages deftly enough to talk to passengers. Our captain claimed to be one of the captains who manned the tiller when ex-President CLinton visited Egypt, he had Hillary Clinton in his boat.
We sailed around Elephantine Island -- so named because the rock formation apparently looks like elephants -- and along the shores of the Nile for ra few hours.
Important note!! The Nile is a known source of bilharzia -- a very nasty buggie that infests your liver. DO NOT touch the water. DO NOT drag your hand into the water, and most definitely DO NOT drink any, even if your captain claims that it will give you a mystical link to Egypt.