Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Nile River

The Nile River…just the name conjures up visions of pyramids, pharaohs, boats floating on the river, and, if you’re an Amelia Peabody fan, visions of high adventure. The faluca, a graceful boat that dots the river around Aswan and Luxor, have huge sails that make a striking contrast against the deep blue of the river. In Aswan we had the luxury of sitting at the peak of an outcrop of rock, conveniently part of a botanical park, watching the boats ply their way across the water. We met Ishmael there and spent an enjoyable hour listening to tales of the Egypt he grew up in.

The Nile is actually the reason that one of the world’s oldest civilizations began in Egypt. The annual flooding created a fertile green valley, cutting a swath across the inhospitable desert. It was both a blessing and a problem for the early dwellers for the flooding, while it brought much needed silt to fertilize their soil, also destroyed homes and buildings. The Egyptians built early dams to help control the flooding in areas to allow farmers to somewhat control the advancing floodwaters. They also had “Nilemeters” in various places where they could map and predict the extent of the annual flooding. An amazing civilization.
As soon as Jeff gets his album posted, I'll add a link. He takes the amazing pictures - I do the touristy ones...just for the blog.

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