Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff

By Rosemary Mahoney

Whilst Rosemary Mahoney, in 1998, took a solo journey down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she came across glossy Egypt for herself. As a rower, she confronted crocodiles and testy river currents; as a feminine, she faced deeply-held ideals approximately international ladies whereas carefully closing open to actual friendship; and, as a tourist, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an come upon that begun as essentially the most scary of her lifestyles and ended as an edifying and chastening lesson in human nature and cultural false impression. even if she's assembly Nubians and Egyptians, or discovering connections to Westerners who traveled up the Nile in prior times--Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert between them--Mahoney's proficient interest in regards to the international by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

"A pilgrimage approximately pilgrims and holy areas that isn't in basic terms enlightening but in addition very funny." -Paul Theroux (on The Singular Pilgrim)

"Mahoney is a superbly powerful catalytic agent: she is going to eire and simply makes the rustic occur round her." -Jonathan Raban (on Whoredom in Kimmage)

"Mahoney, who has been rowing for 10 12 months, brilliantly juxtaposes an account of her personal palm-blistering hours at the Nile....with the diary entries of 2 Victorian travelers-Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale."
--Lisa Fugard, New York occasions booklet Review

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His gallabiya was once torn and soiled, and that was once striking, for in Aswan even the lowliest workers consistently seemed lately washed and laundered. He sat in his boat and smirked at me. I requested him if he might promote me the boat. “Three thousand bounds! ” he shouted. His snigger used to be startling, a toy poodle’s high-pitched yip. “Magnoun,” I acknowledged, and the previous felucca captain hooted back. “She acknowledged ‘crazy’! She is sweet girl! ” status barefoot at the deck of his boat, one arm rakishly hugging the mast, the captain requested what state i used to be from. I informed him. His salt-white mustache and handlebar eyebrows twitched with curiosity. “Ronald Reagan! ” he acknowledged gleefully. “Yes,” I stated, “and George Bush. ” “John Kennetty! ” he acknowledged in a trumpeting manner. It seemed like a minor problem. I hesitated, now not definite what the right kind answer could be. I took a stab. “Richard Nixon. ” “Ibrahim Linkum! ” Curious as to the place this is able to lead, I stated, “George Washington. ” The captain fussed together with his turban and pointed a crooked finger at me. Gamely he cried, “John Wayne! Beel Cleelington! Gary Coober! Charlington Heston! ” categorizing presidents with motion picture stars in a wholly moderate method. within the distance the noontime name to prayer had started, and even though to me this huge, immense sound used to be continually totally arresting, like a simulacrum of God himself all of sudden descending from the sky, and even though it was once formally important that each one reliable Muslims get down on their knees and pray, the 2 males looked as if it would take no observe. I requested the younger guy if i'll test his boat, yet, like such a lot of males in Aswan, he had hassle realizing what precisely i needed till I went over, lifted an oar in my hand, and pointed at myself. He provided to row me. I stated no. He provided to come back with me whereas I rowed. I stated no, I simply desired to attempt the boat on my own for one minute. With stabbing defiance he stated, “Fifteen bounds for one minute! ” After a chronic wrangle, we settled on a touch much less extortionate 5. The younger guy fell to a crouch within the backside of his boat and started rummaging in a cubbyhole less than the strict, and on the finish of loads of muttering and pawing via a jumble of possessions that clanked and thudded loudly opposed to the hull like chains and stones and empty cans, he withdrew an English reproduction of Marie Claire journal. Courteney Cox at the conceal. He climbed out of the boat, opened the journal, and held it up for me to work out. Pointing on the English textual content, he acknowledged, “German? ” The journal had the heft of a phone book. “English,” I stated. He flipped furtively in the course of the pages, displaying me pictures of ladies in scanty clothes, ads for bras and stockings, tampons and vinegar douches. Lovingly he touched the sleek thighs and burnished breasts at the pages, the glazed lips, the naked bellies, and bunchy buttocks along with his calloused fisherman’s hands. He looked as if it would have fallen right into a trance. He gave off the humid odor of rainy hay. His black eyes regarded feverish as he jockeyed the journal as much as my face. He sought after me to seem with him.

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