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Nights on the Felucca

Excerpts from Journal written on
October 23, 2000 20:16 hrs

by Sunita Fernandes

Beyond your own, personal definition of Life, what else is there? I chanced upon a dimension of my Self on a felucca ride on the Nile from Aswan to Luxor. Two days under the boiling angry sun and two nights under cool misty moonlight, the mighty river softly swelling under me.

We were in all thirteen of us on the felucca - three Germans, three young couples (Australian, French and Slovene), two Indians (my friend who flew in from Los Angeles and I from India) and two broad Nubian men who served us. 'Jamaica' was captain for a day and night; his mate Naquib was captain for the next. They cooked excellent meals cottage cheese, eggs, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, okra, and pita bread. In between, you could bake under the sun, doze off, read, drink cold beer, smoke Cuban cigars or smoke marijuana (for the more adventurous). The two German girls and the Australian couple took turns on the marijuana, sending out small gray-white smoke clouds with each puff. The Nubians provided for everything with big beaming smiles and flashing white teeth that were in vivid contrast against black skin. And sang Nubian folk songs to break the silence over the river.

On night two, we docked at a Nubian village. There was a wedding going on, and we were dragged into the open-air celebrations. Nubian men danced on the sand, and so did I, kicking off my walking shoes. Sand poured in between my toes, but I didn't care. I felt free.

The women were shocked but the men were pleasantly surprised. A foreigner woman who can dance like them, sway and belly gyrate and swirl. Men and women do not even sit together at Nubian weddings. We were invited to eat the wedding feast and were seated at the best table. Little girls crowded around shooting rapid-fire curiosity questions. Big eyes stared un-ashamedly at us, we who were just passing by.

I am not sure if we ever remained in the memories of that village. For me, that night under the stars, dancing with pure abandon and raw energy on the banks of the Nile, is a lasting moment stretched over time.

There is more to Life than its definition using mere words.

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