Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8-30-11 Nile Cruise

Our friends accompanied us on the Nile Cruise. We stopped along the way to buy some snacks and found that the little store also offered some fresh baked bread. They offered us an impromptu tour and gave us a sample. The baker was very proud that I said it was "zacky" delicious. We also saw a few horse/donkey drawn carts going down the street along with traffic. We arrived at the departure point and Rayan negotiated the price. This would be significantly harder to do if you don't speak Arabic, but it can be done they do speak some English. Be firm and if you don't like the price pretend to walk away, they will come after you and haggle some more. The price was for the entire boat regardless of how many ppl were on it and it included a nice lunch. The cruise has alot of small islands to stop over on and each one has something to offer tourist. There is an extra fee for each place you stop over at and an additional charge if you purchase any of the products on the islands as well, keep in mind their goal is to sell you products and even if you don't buy anything they want a tip for giving you their spiel. The price for this lovely day including lunch, taxis and all the extras was about 100.00 pp. It is more fun to go in a group, safer too and as an unmarried woman this also provided me with a female companion.

Our 1st stop was a lush tropical oasis with a small hive of honey bees and the friendly bee keeper was funny and informative and we got to see and taste fresh flavorful honey. His wife was busy baking pharaoh's bread , a bread once only served to royalty now being served to tourists. The bread was warm and flaky like phyllo dough and went really well with the honey. There were also fields of flowers there (probably for the bees) and the teenagers giving the tour will happily pick you a small bunch to take with you-they were very fragrant and lovely but they don't hold up well in the hot sun it will only cost you a few extra coins.

Next stop was my favorite, a horse drawn carriage ride followed by some horse back riding by the Nile and down the middle of the crowded street. Don't be alarmed the horses are used to the traffic and there is the child of the carriage driver running behind you with a crop yelling directions at the horse. There also appeared to be a festival going on as Ramadan ended yesterday and we got to ride past a carnival and concert venue. It was very bouncy and I kept yelling "Hollis" which means "enough", but the 11yo running behind the horse kept whacking him and making him run.

Lunch was grilled shrimp and fish and some fried fillets served with lots of bread and salad and sauces on the side. We sat on plastic chairs and tables directly overlooking the Nile. We found out that this island only serves drinks and someone had to go and get the food and bring it to us but it was definitely worth it. They even had a decent bathroom to use so I was a happy girl.

As it approached sunset we cruised by a bridge and some alcoves that were dam like to retain the water. Unfortunately there was a ton of garbage stuck in the alcoves and there was even a dead horse and a goat floating in it which I found disturbing and disgusting as this is supposed to be the water source for the city. Its always a good idea to drink bottled water and drinks and avoid ice cubes just in case and this confirms it.

Our day concludes with disembarking and waving goodbye to the crew of our Nile Cruise and we wearily but happily were driven back to our hotel by a taxi.

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