September 30th to October 2nd 2000:
Once not so long ago all traffic on the Nile was dominated by small feluccas. Even today, animals, stone and other materials are commonly moved by these bite sized sailboats.
Feluccas also transport tourists who desire an alternative mode of transport to the massive 'floatels' plying the Nile.
We met in the Aswan Moon, a floating restaurant reputed to be frequented by boat captains. The negotiations take two hours. "How much beer will you drink," Captain Sampry asks. We answer 16 bottles. "How much beer for captain?" he asks in reply.
They give us their western names so we can better communicate. Jaques is Sampry's second in command.
We glide along in cushy comfort under a sun tarp. Time to catch up on some rest: Henry's father sleeps non-stop for 14 hours.
Captain Sampry offers to have us to his village.
The children are as curious about us as we are about them. They only know enough English to say "Hello! Pen?" But this doesn't prevent us from quickly coming up with some fun games to play together, like squirt-water-in-the-mouth-and-run-away...
We had given Sampry a copy of our passports, and from that they had deduced that Henry the father's birthday was our first night out.
In evenings and early mornings, we hear calls to prayer from mosques upstream and down. The eastern melodic chanting from multiple minarets mixes together in our brains, filling our nights with Arabian dreams.
At night Robert, the most junior crew member, goes aloft to tie up our sails.
One becalmed morning, our captain slept in while Robert steered with the current.
After stopping off to use the bushes, the ever-helpful Robert insures our walking the plank doesn't end in a swim.
Of course, along the way there are temples to visit.
At Edfu we found our favorite statue of Horus, the falcon god of the sky and chaotic forces.
At Kom Ombo we found the unique dual temple to Horus and Sobek. Sobek is the Crocodile god of the Nile, and several mummified crocodiles are on exhibit.
A local 'guide' explains: 'Look! Two!'
For baksheesh, of course.
There is also a chapel to Hathor, who among her other duties protects women during childbirth.
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