fredag 21. september 2007

Everyday Nile

Most tourists think about one of two when they hear the words "The Nile". They think about pharaos and Baby Moses in the basket, that is ; stories and myths from the past.
Or they think about the Nile Cruise industry, floating hotels with bars and disco, and a stop once in a while to visit a temple or museum.

But for some people the Nile is every day, it is their life and their income. I talk about the motorboat men, that let you cross the Nile for a dollar. It is the sailboat-captains and their helpers. And finally the "Nile-police", who charges fines from anyone, because they hardly get paid at all.

They can look very relaxed there they sit on a bench or stand leaned to a wall, all day long, waiting for customers. But the truth is very different. Norwegians love the sun, but the teenager who stands there, hour after hour, with no shadow and only Nile water to drink, do you think HE enjoys it?

Probably he is worrying about his family at home. And probably it will be rice and bread for dinner again today.

I met a canadian woman once in Luxor. Very proudly she announced that she had avoided being fooled earlier that day, she had been on a two hour roundtrip with fellucca sailboat, and the boys on board had told her after that the price was 50 egyptian pounds (8 dollars) and she had refused, because in her Lonely Planet it said that the price ought to be just 20!

I found this very strange. 20 egyptian pounds for two men to share? To feed two families? I had a look in her travel guide, and there it said that 20 ENGLISH pounds would be a reasonable price....Well that's something a bit different.

There is a lot of gossiping about the boatpeople. They are looked down at, regarded as lowlife and treated like cattle. Well, a young man who has been out working from he was eight, to get his siblings through school, isn't only good enough in my eyes, he's got my deepest respect.

4 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

This is the Egypt the world needs to know more about;)

Keep up the fantastic writing!


eastcoastdweller sa...

You are a very thoughtful and perceptive Woman, Lyn, to have made these observations. I agree totally with F.J.

Azrael sa...

People have to learn to think a bit from the other persons shoes as well, not just their own. Mind it's not always easy, but we should keep trying.


Lauren Vaughn sa...

I can't wait to visit Egypt and pay the boatmen all the cash I have in my wallet just for a short trip across the Nile. They deserve it. I'd love to give them a basket of food to share with them along the ride as well.