I have been in Egypt for six days now and have only just had some downtime to do some sketching. Having already visited the main sites near Cairo and Aswan, I have spent the past two days on board a felucca called the “John Cairo”. Though we have been sailing down the Nile (actually north) towards Luxor, the wind has been against us since midday yesterday, so we have been forced to moor on a rather uninteresting bank near a Nubian village. The crew have been cooking for us on a single hot plate and we have been sleeping directly on the deck in our sleeping bags. Our toilets are whatever bush or tree we can find and we have to watch out for curious local boys gawking at us over the top of the sandy embankment that backs onto our preferred patch of shrubbery.
Unfortunately I have a bad cold which I must have picked up on the long-haul flight from Sydney. It is good that there is nothing to do but lounge around the boat as it has forced me to rest. I have a moderate fever so I have spent most the time sleeping or talking to the other backpackers on our trip. Because of the recent revolution there are very few Westerners in the country and our final group is rather small; the overlanding truck fits twenty-four but we have only fifteen passengers including Missy and myself. Everyone has lots of travel experience and there are no princesses so it makes for good company.
We have two feluccas shared between us, moored side by side. The group were up late last night drinking on one boat, but Inga (a Dutch girl who had food poisoning) and myself were able to leave the party early and recover on the other boat. I was up at the crack of dawn and tiptoed over all the colourful sleeping bag cocoons on deck and then climbed up the hill, where some of the Egyptian crew members were smoking weed. Declined the smokes (of course) but perched near them on the embankment to draw the feluccas in the dawn light.
By the time I had finished the attached pictures, a few tired bodies had begun to emerge from the boats, so I joined them down on the Nile. We dove straight into the freezing water; we could only stand a few minutes before our teeth were chattering. Afterwards, I sat on the bow to dry off in the sun and drew a quick pen sketch of a Volkswagen Beatle which I photographed at the Giza pyramids a few days ago. The car belonged to one of the hawkers who were selling black cat statues and plastic coins, most of which were stamped “made in China”. We have a busy couple of days ahead of us in Luxor but I should have some free time to sketch again when we reach the Red Sea.
|Bank of the Nile, Aswan Egypt. 25 March 2011|
|“John Cairo” felucca, Aswan, Egypt. 25 March 2011|
|Quick pen sketch of a Beatle parked at the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. 25 March 2011|