EGYPT: Adrift on the Nile
It can change a mood, this breeze. It curls and rustles along the shore, gusts over the deep water, pushing wooden boats down the river toward smokestacks, brick kilns and chalky cliffs in the distance. The boats won’t go that far, though; they’ll turn just beyond TGIF’s – its neon streaking the palms – and sail back to the docks, releasing tourists along the corniche.
You can imagine Cleopatra; Moses bobbing in the reeds. Water slaps the bow. The captain, a man in a tunic who moves like a moth upon the water, drapes his arm over the rudder and points to the horizon. The sun is halfway down, burning the sky beyond the pyramids. And the captain, who has seen the same scene for years, is amazed that something so splendid happens everyday.
“Take a picture,” he says.
You do. The boat drifts against the current. The captain pulls in his sail, coils his ropes. You hop to land. The breeze slackens farther from the river. The darkness is hot, filled with buses, horns, buildings that seem to heave against the night. All life, screeching. But there is that picture in your camera, the one with the falling sun and trees bending and sails billowing in the summer wind.
-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo
Photo: A boat on the Nile. Credit: Associated Press