Monday, September 6, 2010

Photo Adventures in a Nubian Village near Aswan, Egypt

A proud Nubian man
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Copyright 2010 David/Anna Smith


Our first overnight stay of our Nile felucca adventure was on an isolated Nile River bank near Aswan, Egypt. Earlier, in the heat of day, we jumped into the surprisingly cold and refreshing Nile and lazed under the protecting woven canopy as our Nubian captain and crew tacked against strong north winds. The slow movement down river allowed glimpses of life along the Nile river as we crisscrossed this famous and historic river. With dusk emerging, the strong winds quickly abated so we tied up to a fallen tree on the riverbank, ate a pleasant Egyptian dinner of rice, beans and bbq’d chicken while watching occasional donkeys and camels being led by locals stroll by and bird wildlife cross our view.

Ehab Ghareb, our wonderful OntheGo tour guide, casually announced he could lead us to a Nubian village – lets go! No time to change out of our swimsuits, we donned our tops and sandals and hiked up the muddy riverbank to a dirt road atop the river dyke. We are glad we grabbed our cameras!

The Nubians with very dark skin are an ethnic group originally from northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Ancient Nubians were famous for their vast wealth arising from trade between cenral Africa and the lower Nile civilizations, their great military, their advanced civilization, and their century-long rule over the Pharoahs of the united upper and lower Egyptian kingdoms. The creation of the Aswan dams in the early 20th century and 1960’s forced Numbians to evacuate to villages and cities across Eypypt. We are going to visit one of those tiny villages.


Camel riding on the Nile
After a 10 minute walk, with local villagers meeting and greeting us with shy warm smiles, we entered a collection of small houses surrounding a muddy courtyard. This was in fact the home of “Fuzzy” one of the felucca crewmen and we were invited into their homes to take photos and see how they lived. Three generations of the same family lived in the 2 or 3 homes around the courtyard and they willingly posed for us while teaching a few Arabic phrases and offering tea. The light from the setting sun was magical and the local Nubians so warm and friendly that we had no time for tea or shisha water pipes, this was a lifetime photo opportunity and we took it.

A first camera experience
An old proud woman wearing an indigo shawl and robe brought her daughter and grandchildren into the courtyard and we exchanged greetings in both Arabic and English while snapping away. One little girl was offered to hold a huge SLR camera and within a few seconds guidance of how to take a picture she was snapping away and admiring her achievements on the camera’s LCD with a twinkle in her eye.




David, reminiscing Steve McCurry’s famous National Geographic Afghan girl, the dimming light caught the old woman’s eye to create a friendly glint and charming smile while he caught several shots. Everyone sat on porches facing the courtyard to bask in the last sunrays and men and women willingly posed and smiled while the warming yellow light faded to blue as evening quickly turned to darkness in this primitive and enchanting village.

On the return to our felucca, our excellent travel and photo adventure continued as Anna was offered a donkey ride by a young boy, all captured in a video clip that will guarantee to make you smile. Not wanting this day to end, we sat on the riverbank with more villagers and were granted more stories of everyday life along with genuine friendship and questions of how we were enjoying Egypt. We answered an overwhelming yes! As we waved goodbye, we marveled at our fortune to be so warmly welcomed in local ethnic communities all over the world. Egyptians and in particular, Nubians are some of the warmest people you can meet.

Visit our Interface Images photo gallery of our adventures in a Nubian village here
Nubian boy, Anna and Ehab

Note: This story is part of a series of “David and Anna’s Excellent Travel and Photo Adventures” (tm) across the globe and is available by license to publishers and the media in various lengths and accompanied by high resolution photographs and video clips. Syndication of this series is available. David and Anna are published world travel photographers, writers and keynote speakers based in Vancouver, BC. More information us available on their web sites www.interfaceimages.com and www.imagebyinterface.com. Contact 604-818-7662 or info@imagebyinterface.com.

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