This day, spent on the Nile, in the tiny Nile Smile, was spectacular for me, although my eager photo snapping greatly irritated the captain, who, it appeared, greatly resented making a living ferrying a white westerner woman on his home surf. But for me, it was magic.
His dislike blasted through his impenetrable Arabic, but, oh, I did not care one bit. An avid chainsmoker, he suddenly started shouting at a boat headed directly at us, ordering his underling to steer the boat directly towards them. At the last second, the boats deftly cleared within inches of each other, allowing just enough time for the second boat to pass several cigarettes to our captain, providing him more fuel to complain. His boat was covered with Bob Marley and Rolling Stones stickers, but when I handed him a “Live Aloha” sticker in an attempt at reconciliation, it had no meaning for him, and he tossed it on the deck of his boat. Oh well.
Back on land, I visited an evening market, where the likes of black paper, ment tea, kary, and hot tchele were sold, while prayers trumpeted out of minarets, and Egyptian shopkeepers professed their love for me, if only I would buy what they were selling.
Egypt. It wasn’t until I returned home from my second visit and read Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy that I finally began to begin to understand the place.
Hope you’re not already over Egypt, cuz there’s more.
Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.