Cruising the Nile
Cairo Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
After four days of hard work and tasty, yet tiring business dinners, it was time for something fun. Today was the last day my Dutch colleague Peter would be in Cairo, so we decided for tonight we should definitely do something special. Especially since we hadn’t really been outside of our Heliopolis comfort zone yet - with our hotel, office, shops and restaurants all within 5 minutes walking distance, you’re not really inclined to take the 20-45 minute drive (depending on traffic) into the city.
One of the nicest things to do in Cairo around sunset is to do a cruise on the Nile with a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat. So together with two of our Egyptian colleagues, Ahmad and Mohamed, we drove into in the busy Cairo traffic to the banks of the Nile, only to find out that there was no wind and a felucca cruise would hardly be more than a felucca float.
As cool as the image of a felucca in the middle of the Nile was, it was a bit pathetic that it had to be pushed or tugged to the middle of the river, only to float there for an hour before being roped back in. So we opted for a slightly less traditional, but still very traditional, outboard engine powered flat-bottomed boat, complete with loud Egyptian music playing from onboard speakers and bright neon lights as decoration. At night the Nile is filled with these floating Christmas trees.
We had a lovely cruise for about an hour, going downstream quite far, past the central business district, before turning around and going back again. For most of the downstream part the captain sailed on very low power, so that it still resembled sailing a bit. I loved it. As dirty as the city and river are, it is just a tremendous amount of fun to gently float along as the sun slowly sets and the city is lit up electrically.
After the trip we were joined by two more colleagues for a very tasty, if slightly pricey Lebanese dinner at the Sabaya restaurant in Garden City.