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Felucca ride in Aswan

This post is part of the collection from Classic Egypt – a trip up the Nile

As you sail towards the upper reaches of the Egyptian Nile, you’ll begin to see feluccas floating down stream.

By the time you reach Aswan, you’ll spot a whole congregation ready to offer rides to the passing tourist.

The rudimentary sail boats often dock right beside river cruise ships instead of the port. Passengers then hop from one boat to the other in a matter of minutes, before it sets sail again.

Every minute counts when you’re trying to make the most of the tourist trade while it’s here.

Children on surfboard, Felucca ride on the Nile

As the boat glides out, a light breeze picks up, taking away some of the heat – already close to 30°C in March.

Children on paddle boards float alongside these vessels, and they’ll sometimes hitch a ride by holding on to the side.

They sing for change and move on to the next felucca when their song is done.

Traditional music, Felucca ride on the Nile

When the boat stops in the middle of the river, the boatmaster sings with the aid of a tambourine. A mix of Arabic music and bastardised 80s disco.

Then, almost as swiftly, he unveils his collection of Nubian jewels. It’s business now.

It’s a curious fact. There’s almost no begging on the streets but there’s always someone trying to sell you something.

On the shimmering river, the realities of how hard these people have to work to make a living is reflected back clear as day.

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