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By Rosemary Mahoney

Whilst Rosemary Mahoney, in 1998, took a solo journey down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she found smooth Egypt for herself. As a rower, she confronted crocodiles and testy river currents; as a feminine, she faced deeply-held ideals approximately overseas ladies whereas carefully final open to actual friendship; and, as a visitor, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an come upon that all started as some of the most scary of her existence and ended as an edifying and chastening lesson in human nature and cultural false impression. no matter 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 knowledgeable interest concerning the global by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

"A pilgrimage approximately pilgrims and holy locations that's not basically enlightening but additionally very funny." -Paul Theroux (on The Singular Pilgrim)

"Mahoney is a superbly potent 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 yr, 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 e-book Review

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Simply because I had by no means noticeable an Egyptian fisherman donning sun shades, I had stored my sun shades in my bag and now my eyes have been stinging from the serious gentle. In mid-afternoon i finished on a sandy seashore under an island, a large flat position that, whilst the river was once excessive, will be inundated with water. the sting of the river was once crowded with water hyacinths, and for the 1st time I observed one in bloom — a pinkish white orchidlike cluster of flora with a deep pink middle. It was once a stunning flower for a plant that used to be relatively not anything greater than an invasive weed that had seemed at the Nile a few hundred years in the past and had proliferated to the purpose of infestation. past the seashore, tiny sand dunes made the vista asymmetric; ripples of warmth rose up from the recent hollows among them. there has been seashore grass right here and the dried brown stubble of reeds, a number of thornbushes and bushy acacias. numerous hundred yards to the west, the road of palm timber begun, and much past them I observed a faint string of grey smoke lifting into the air, smoke from what was once absolutely a village. The east financial institution was once only a low flat line of arms and greenery. the single humans I observed have been fishermen a long way downriver, spanking the water with sticks, scaring up fish. I anchored my boat and stepped onto a seashore affected by snail shells. After sitting see you later at the water, i used to be unsteady on my ft; every thing looked as if it would sway underneath me. I walked the size of the seashore — the size of a soccer box — and again back, then sat within the colour of a giant bush. The coloration shaped an oval precisely the measurement of my physique, and because the moving sunlight pressured the coloration to slip round the bush, I needed to slide with it. a couple of stone curlews, shorebirds a little bit greater than crows, fluttered out of the sky and landed close to me at the seashore; they'd lengthy yellow legs and shocked-looking vibrant yellow eyes as tremendous as a human’s, they usually stared at me in a spooky, hypnotized approach. Dragonflies floated drunkenly by means of. complete rafts of water hyacinths moved quickly prior like feathery eco-friendly mattresses set unfastened at the present. The sky seemed galvanized within the east, a broiled grayish white, even though at once above me it was once turquoise blue. I sat fortunately for an hour, drank a bottle of water, and attempted to determine the place i used to be. I guessed i used to be twenty miles or so from Qena. i used to be exhausted. The fingers of my arms have been uncooked. I felt the warmth pushing me towards the earth, and finally I lay down within the sand, utilizing my footwear as a pillow. now not fifteen toes clear of me, boys walked by way of on a direction on the fringe of the river. I situated my arm over my face considering, you appear to be an Argentine; you seem like an English, a cat, a chicken, and was hoping that during my white blouse and free white pants I gave the impression of simply one other barefoot Egyptian guy having a sleep. the lads glided by, by no means as soon as breaking their regular flow of chatter, by no means as soon as glancing at me. I lifted my head and watched them pass. My boat parked on the fringe of the river didn’t allure their recognition — it used to be too universal a sight, the kind utilized by each fisherman in Egypt.

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