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By Rosemary Mahoney

While 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 girls whereas carefully final open to actual friendship; and, as a vacationer, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an come across 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 knowledgeable interest concerning the international by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

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

"Mahoney is a perfectly powerful catalytic agent: she is going to eire and simply makes the rustic take place 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 e-book Review

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I had acquired bread, apricots, raisins, peanuts, a few tins of sardines and tuna fish, olives, cheese, and fruit. I had chanced on a ironmongery shop close to the educate station and purchased a few hand-crafted cotton rope in case the cord that sure my oarlocks broke. i purchased a size of thicker rope as a spare painter or anchor line. at midnight and dusty ironmongery shop, I had rummaged amid the massive spools of rope, and whilst I lifted one huge spool to look at the spool underneath it, the shopkeeper ran over and lifted the rope out of my fingers. whilst I advised him I didn’t brain doing the lifting myself, he smiled and wagged his head at me. “Oh no, my girl, it's too heavy that paintings. you'll get drained from it. i don't wish any woman to get drained. ” I had chanced on it very unlikely to provide an explanation for to Egyptians that even if i used to be a vacationer, I loved labor, that I cherished doing issues for myself, that I didn’t brain wearing a heavy bag or slicing wooden or jogging an extended distance. as soon as, while I advised the motive force of the Luxor ferry that I had walked from the ferry touchdown to the Temple of Hatshepsut and again back, he laughed loudly. “No. very unlikely. not anyone do this. ” The stroll used to be basically 5 - 6 miles. “Yes,” I instructed him. “I did do this. ” He pursed his lips defiantly, his mustache twitched. “No, woman. I don’t think. not anyone do. ” It used to be real that only a few travelers really walked from the ferry touchdown to the Ramesseum or the Temple of Hatshepsut, yet I couldn’t comprehend why. It wasn’t a long way and the stroll used to be attention-grabbing, with its dust huts and dusty arms and ancient-looking plows being dragged alongside by way of huge, immense water buffalo. I had walked alongside the tops of irrigation mounds during the eco-friendly fields of wheat and alfalfa and sugar cane and had met farmers and bullocks and kids alongside the way in which. the 2 Colossi of Memnon rose up on my left with their large fractured arms resting primly on their large thighs; they sat directly sponsored, like undesirable boys despatched to sit down within the nook of a lecture room. A big-eyed eleven-year-old lady hugging a wood doll in her palms had walked in addition to me for it slow, and we had had a short dialog in Arabic. along with her hot brown hand laid flat on my forearm she requested me my identify. I acknowledged, “I am Rose. ” She nodded with sisterly curiosity and approval and requested the place i used to be from. I advised her i used to be from the USA. Her brown eyes widened generously in reputation and aid. “And I,” she provided with one hand pressed to her middle, “am Aïda! ” Then, lest there be any confusion as to her provenance, she extra regally, “From right here” and pointed on the cracked black earth underneath her naked toes — 8 thousand years’ accumulation of Nile silt. Aïda wore a yellow gown and a pink shawl tied tight opposed to her head, like a pirate. She had huge, immense golden eyes and a dainty little mouth. I gave her a section of sweet, and he or she provided me her wood doll in trade. I declined the doll as too extravagant a present; as a substitute she gave me the crimson ribbon that held the doll’s hair in position. We stated goodbye via very officially shaking arms.

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