A visit to a Nubian village – Nile River Cruise
Today, we paid a visit to a Nubian village to learn something about Nubian culture. Nubians are the people of northern Sudan and southern Egypt. The Nubians are believed to be the first human race on earth, and most of their customs and traditions were adopted by the ancient Egyptians.
We were led into a building which appears to serve as some sort of a co-operative. In the main room, there was a tank filled with baby crocodiles. You were invited to pick them up, but this was not for me. We went into an alcove and as we sat around, mint tea was made and served. Our guide gave a little talk on life in the Nubian village.
There were several other alcoves with different exhibits in them. In one of the alcoves, a couple of the Nubian ladies offered tattooing services. This was very popular with the girls in the group. Tattoos form part of the decorative artform for Nubian women. A woman would normally have one shaped like a mole on the cheek, a crescent on the forehead or a line drawn from the lip down to the chin. Today, the girls were offered more modern choices like floral patterns, scarabs, etc.
The guide then showed us into a room where two women, seated on the floor, were caring for her young child. This appears to be their home and we felt bad for having intruded. We were assured by the guide that it was alright and that this was all part of the tour. That didn’t make us feel any better.
Other things we were shown in the place were the men smoking their water pipers. As we left the building, there were other vendors outside, selling their little craftworks. We went back to our boat for a sail back to our cruiser.
This evening we went back to the Old Cataract Hotel and had dinner at the 1902 Restaurant with a few of our fellow travellers from the cruise. This restaurant was opened to celebrate the opening of the first Aswan Dam and its grand launch was attended by Khedive Abbas Helmy, the sovereign of Egypt, Winston Churchill and a host of Dukes, Lords and other dignitaries. The restaurant had a very exotic and welcoming feel, but unfortunately there were not many diners there and therefore the place felt empty. It was therefore strange that when we rang make a booking the previous day, the person who took the call said that he had to check to see if there were tables available.
There were six of us in the group and we tried a spread of food, some better than others. We wondered about the wine, given the extremely hot conditions and were assured by the maître d’ that the wines are good. Inspite of buying the best drop, the verdict was that beer was a better option. We concluded that although the food in this restaurant was not fantastic, we had a memorable evening dining in this historical restaurant, yet another travel mission accomplished.