During the first week of orientation, the school treated new staff to a sunset felucca (sailboat) ride on the Nile River.
From our hotel in Zamalek, we crossed the 6th of October Bridge and followed the east bank of the Nile River, the longest river in the world. We passed the historic Tahrir Square, the place where the 2011 revolution demonstrations were held. Near the square is the American Embassy.
We started the ride during the sunset, which provided gorgeous views. Our group divided between two boats and began a slow float.
The owner of the school pointed out some landmarks to us. On the other side, we could see the narrow Cairo Tower, which was just starting to light up for the evening. Next to it, was the Sofitel Hotel and the Cairo Opera House. Many boats were out because it was the weekend. It seems common to rent a party boat for a wedding or special occasion.
The land on both sides of the Nile is very green and lush, unlike the rest of Egypt. Take a look at Egypt on a satellite map; there’s a green ribbon snaking its way down the desert.
For that reason, farmers and landowners have always relied on the Nile as a source of water, especially during the season when it floods and leaves behind fertile land. In fact, ancient Egyptians thought that the god Hapy and the pharaoh could control the flooding. Additionally, the ancient people believed the river was a path from life to death and thereafter. It’s interesting how many civilizations connected their observations of nature to religion or spirituality.
Now, the river is still one of Egypt’s gems and symbols. Thank you to the school for a relaxing river float and introduction to life in Cairo.
What do you imagine when you think of the Nile? Head to the comments section below to take part in the conversation!