Anchored in Aswan

Aswan Travel Blog

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Still waters at Aswan

As he slopped fava beans and bread into our plastic bowls, the riverboat cook seemed more alien than the world around us. With a narrow unshaven face, slicked-back hair, and slightly spiked ears, he resembled a scruffy Sudanese version of Mister Spock from Star Trek. His piercing dark and beady eyes seemed to focus on another time and place as though he somehow missed the homeward voyage of the Starship Enterprise. Since we had no cups, we took hot chai in our plastic water bottles, afterwards rinsing and refilling them with water directly from Lake Nasser.


Sometime after breakfast all passengers filled out embarkation forms for entering Egypt. Along with the completed paperwork, officials collected our passports. As our flotilla approached Aswan by late afternoon we were exhilarated to see signs of a fresh new world: people stirring along the shore which was dotted with sycamores and date palms, cars commuting on paved roads, and majestic monuments of ancient civilizations.


The long journey from Khartoum was nearly over and we were all eager to get ashore. But our jubilation was short-lived since the Egyptian immigration office had already closed. We could not disembark until the following day. The boats moored in a rocky cove near the High Dam. The second night afloat was much warmer and quieter than the first but trash and garbage quickly polluted the still waters around us. And without the fresh wind flowing over the decks, foul odors from overfilled onboard toilets drifted the air.


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Still waters at Aswan
Still waters at Aswan
photo by: Vikram