One of the first things they tell you when you come to Cairo is to stay away from the Nile. Though it may look beautiful and refreshing especially in the summer heat, it is actually full of things that can and will kill you, like crocodiles and various diseases and bacteria mutated by pollution.
And yet, the river is still fun to float on (as long as you don’t touch it), either in boats, yachts, cruise ships, or house boats. One of my friends is currently living in a houseboat, and ever since I heard he was doing something ridiculous like that I had the urge to see what life is like out on the river.
Today we went over to his place to study, and I finally got to experience the buoyant life. The taxi dropped us off on the side of the road, and we went through a fence shaded by leafy trees and just down the slope there lay a row of houseboats….and they looked exactly like they sound: floating houses with little bridges to them from the shore.
We enter his houseboat and immediately feel a world away from all the exhaust, noise, and traffic of Cairo. The best part about it, of course, was the balcony that overlooks the Nile and provides a lovely view as well of all the balconies of his neighbors. So we sat on the balcony and watched the water and counted the empty containers we saw float by and felt the occasional wave from a passing boat blaring Arab pop music. I watched his neighbors as well—it’s hard to prevent that kind of thing since they were just right there about 15 feet from us. But I found the river life swell indeed.
I was also interested to know how waste disposal worked, but as far as I could determine, the toilet is completely functioning and probably doesn’t flush directly into the Nile. But I can’t be certain.