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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 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 ultimate open to real friendship; and, as a vacationer, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an come across that started as the most scary of her lifestyles 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 educated interest concerning the international by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

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

"Mahoney is a superbly potent catalytic agent: she is going to eire and simply makes the rustic occur round her." -Jonathan Raban (on Whoredom in Kimmage)

"Mahoney, who has been rowing for 10 yr, 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 instances e-book Review

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Oh, that enormous crap! ” she stated. “He has had 5 better halves and plenty of childrens and he thinks he's a tender guy yet he isn’t and he has no tooth in his head and in addition undesirable breath on best of it. God, that outdated goat. ” Safaa advised me that final yr the chief of the resort had chanced on pornographic magazines “for intercourse” in a cabinet within the resort kitchen, and in a fury had burned them at the roof of the lodge and had shrieked on the chef that if he ever introduced such dirt into the resort back he might fireplace him. the youngsters have been now observing a movie at the Christian Channel; a narrative a few Muslim guy who desired to convert to Christianity as the corrupt Muslim leaders have been continuously telling him he needed to kill humans within the identify of God, and the way in the world may perhaps that be holy and correct? The Muslim imam ranted frequently on the guy approximately how he should still reside and what he may still do. The imam gave the look of a sketch of the satan, leering in a skullcap, with an extended unkempt beard and difficult little lightless eyes and palms like menacing claws with which he pantomimed his rage and hatred for the Christian infidel. The would-be Christian convert used to be, after all, good-looking, noble, and mild. He admitted to the imam that he desired to develop into Christian, whereupon the rabid imam flipped his lid and attempted to strangle the traitor with the 2 claws. I watched the scene in fascination, brooding about how the Christian Channel may possibly break out with a convey like this. Christians have been a tiny minority in Egypt, have been persecuted and maligned, and but that they had controlled to air on nationwide tv this incendiary polemic portraying Muslims as fanatical murderous maniacs. That exhibit ended and one other started. From what i may glean from the imagery and from Safaa’s occasional translations, this one involved a sensible Egyptian legal professional who is going to a celebration, is so disenchanted — or maybe simply so wicked — that he has to drink directly out of the host’s whiskey bottle, will get under the influence of alcohol, feels up a buxom younger girl in a again room, then drives domestic, and by chance kills individuals with his fancy automobile. the following morning he’s hung over, unshaven, and raveled yet exceptional in court docket. He finally ends up redeemed more often than not simply because he’s good-looking and clever and since he brings offers to a boy he has crippled within the twist of fate. That express was once by way of an commercial for a conversation exhibit interview with a well-known Egyptian superstar reputed to be very humorous. within the advert, the celeb was once crying essentially and tamping her eyes with a hankie. I requested Safaa why she was once crying. “Ah, these foolish craps! ” Safaa howled. “They consistently fake to cry! they need to! humans love it! ” and eventually we sat watching a convey within which girls have been discussing what you'll want to do in the event that your daughter has a toddler ahead of she’s married. shocked, I stated to Safaa, “That occurs? ” “All the time, Rose! simply final month an boy or girl used to be came across deserted in a basket blocks from right here. ” Safaa grabbed the television distant from Mary, clicked it off, instructed the youngsters to head and do their arithmetic and take the newborn with them, then she grew to become to me and commenced to talk with rueful envy.

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