Sailing around Aswan – Nile River Cruise
This afternoon we sailed around Aswan Botanical Gardens in a felucca. Our local guide was a botanist and was very keen to tell us all about the fauna and flora that existed around the waters. He certainly knew his birds very well and had hawk-eyes, frequently spotting and pointing out wading birds in the mangrove swamps or bushes. After a while, it became a standing joke and everyone was going ‘oh look egret’!
Along the river banks we could see donkeys grazing, young children playing at the water’s edge and fishermen resting while their boats were moored ashore. All of a sudden, we saw young boys swimming up to our boats and then clutching onto the railings or lifeboys. They were begging for money and many on the boat felt inclined to give some coins to them. Our guide though was insistent that money not be given to the kids as it encourages them to play truant from school and to resort to begging. Much as we understood his point, you do feel sorry for the kids as they were putting their lives at such risks to earn a little money.
This evening we made our way top out to the Old Cataract Hotel, which we had seen from the river. We couldn’t wait to check out this famous hotel from where Agatha Christie penned ‘Death on the Nile’. During the Egypt’s British colonial period, the Old Cataract was a favorite destination of the elite and interest in the hotel was revived when Agatha Christie wrote her book. It was a charming hotel and the archways had Moorish features that reminded us of our time in Morocco. We had drinks on the Terrace Bar, looking out into the Nile, which was a grand experience. I can see how a writer like Agatha Christie would have drawn her inspiration from being in a place like this. We decided then that we would make arrangements to come back tomorrow night for dinner.