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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 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 girls whereas carefully closing open to real friendship; and, as a tourist, she skilled occasions that ranged from the funny to the hair-raising--including an stumble upon that begun as some of 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 trained interest concerning the global by no means ceases to captivate the reader.

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

"Mahoney is a superbly powerful 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 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 publication Review

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Emerging fifteen ft above the extent of the water, stretching its roots twenty or maybe thirty toes lower than, and so raveled and tangled jointly that elephants can stroll effectively upon its springy floor, papyrus is the start and finish of this depression global. For thousands of miles not anything else is to be perceived — no longer a mountain-ridge blue at the horizon, scarcely a tree, no habitation of guy, no signal of beast. The silence is damaged in simple terms by way of the croaking of innumerable frog armies, and the cry of dreary birds. i used to be serious about the awful energy of the Sudd — a spot so dense and packed with plants that the Nile waters nearly fail to go through it. In his ebook The Nile, a close anatomy of the river, Robert O. Collins writes of the Sudd, “The river can hardly ever circulation in any respect during this Stygian swamp, so it sits, and within the steamy warmth close to the equator, greater than 1/2 the water of the Bahr al-Jabal evaporates away into the ambience. ” It used to be the impassability of the Sudd that for millennia had avoided the invention of the resource of the Nile. Neither pharaohs nor emperors were capable of lower via that swamp. due to the transferring circulate of clumps of progress, it was once most unlikely to chop an everlasting channel there. a boat could movement upstream a section, in simple terms to have drifting islands shut in in the back of it, blockading any attainable retreat again to civilization, whereas extra drifting islands from upstream could glide down and press opposed to the ships till they have been trapped, not able to maneuver in both course. Collins writes, “To abandon send intended definite loss of life within the Sudd, with its swamps stretching forever past the horizon. aid expeditions didn't regularly arrive in time to save lots of the occupants of a stranded vessel from hunger. There are experiences of fragile steamers being beaten by way of the implacable strain of the river, development its block of sudd, and legends of cannibalism while rations got here to an finish. ” Fish, crocodiles, or even the big hippopotamuses within the Sudd are frequently actually overwhelmed to dying through the swamp’s huge, immense floating islands. In 1839 Muhammad Ali despatched the Turkish naval captain Salim to damage throughout the Sudd. Salim failed on his first test yet lower back a 12 months later and effectively minimize the 1st passage. yet as soon as a minimize used to be made during the swamp, it was once most unlikely to maintain it transparent. In 1869 Muhammad Ali despatched the British explorer Samuel Baker to the Sudd with twelve hundred infantrymen, yet Baker, too, did not holiday via completely. The much-diminished White Nile trickles out of the Sudd and, thankfully for northern Sudan and Egypt, will get replenished at Khartoum by way of the Blue Nile flowing into it from the Ethiopian highlands. For all of the outdated institutions of Lake Victoria because the resource of the Nile, in reality that greater than four-fifths of the water of the Egyptian Nile comes from Lake Tana and the monsoons in Ethiopia. North of Khartoum, the Nile meets the Atbara River, its final tributary, and travels on in the course of the deep wasteland of Sudan and on into Egypt in a gradual, regular, unaltered country, but with adequate quantity and strength to were in a position to kick dirt into Amr’s mom and dad’ cup of water at Elephantine ahead of the development of the excessive Dam.

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