By Rosemary Mahoney

While Rosemary Mahoney, in 1998, took a solo journey down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she chanced on sleek 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 closing open to real friendship; and, as a vacationer, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an stumble upon that started as probably 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 expert interest in regards to the global by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

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

"Mahoney is a perfectly potent 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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It looked as if it would make no distinction to him that Hoda was once clanking pots and dishes within the kitchen or that i'll see him sincerely as he knelt down and pressed his brow to the carpet, a posture that struck me as so intimate and private that I needed to glance away. whilst his prayers have been accomplished, Amr referred to as me into the kitchen and prompt me to sit down at a truly small desk that Hoda had laid with Nubian dishes — roast pigeon, fried fishes the dimensions of minnows, a savory dish of brown rice and gentle bread, macaroni with gravy, potatoes, stewed tomatoes, a salad of minced greens, and goat cheese. within the Nubian culture we started the meal with candy dates soaked in water, and as we ate the scrumptious dates i noticed that for a tablecloth Hoda had used numerous broadsheets pulled from an Arabic newspaper. in a single nook of the desk was once a small characteristic written partly in English. It contained a few complex physics difficulties. To the perfect of my plate I learn: challenge: A gardener works at the grass with a rake. If the attitude among the arm of the rake and the airplane of the skin is 60 levels, and the gardener exerts a strength of 10 N, locate the paintings performed whilst he strikes via a distance of two m. within the Nubian customized we had no napkins and not anything yet soupspoons for utensils. Amr ate so much of his nutrients together with his arms, scooping on the a variety of dishes with a flat piece of wheat bread. Hoda was once in her room looking at an Egyptian cleaning soap opera, and while it grew to become transparent that she wouldn’t be becoming a member of us on the desk, I requested Amr why. “She will consume after us,” he stated. I knew it was once now not unusual for Egyptians to ask a visitor to dinner after which seat the visitor by myself on the dinner desk whereas they sat individually in one other room, a kind of etiquette that felt quite uncomfortable to me. Hoda had ready the foodstuff; I felt impolite consuming it with no her. i wished to invite Amr the place his mom used to be yet sensed that the mummy used to be a subject matter greater left undiscussed. I defined to Amr that I had come to inform him that my buddy Madeleine in Cairo had agreed to affix us with the intention to make our journey to Edfu attainable. She might arrive by way of teach the day after subsequent. Amr appeared overjoyed and raised his water glass at me in a toast. “So we will be able to celebrate,” he acknowledged. We clinked our glasses and made up our minds that we'd go away Aswan in 3 days. Amr may make the entire preparations and buy all of the helpful offers. He would offer dozing baggage and pillows and every little thing else we might desire for our journey. i might pay him what appeared to me a lower than nominal rate. All 3 folks would go away Aswan jointly, towing the rowboat in the back of us, and when we handed the Aswan river police, i may take the rowboat off by myself. Amr advised me I wouldn’t be sorry that I had agreed to take my journey this manner. We ate silently then for a couple of minutes, with the sound of Hoda’s tv drifting into the room. I tasted one of many little fried fish and was once disturbed to discover that it had a touch chemical taste, no longer in contrast to chloroform. Reminded unpleasantly of the mysterious powder that the Aswan fishermen have been within the behavior of utilizing to homicide the neighborhood fish, I shoved the remainder of the minnow below my stewed tomatoes.

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