Engagement Party

Nothin’ like a 110 degree Luxor street party with blaring Nubian tunes, children in fisticuffs, and a bouncy castle.

engagement_01_02

engagement_03

engagement_04

engagement_05

engagement_06_07

engagement_07

engagement_08

engagement_09

engagement_10

every engagement or wedding party has one of these.

engagement_12

engagement_13

This is what you had to do if you wanted to say something to someone, literally scream into their ear. That’s how loud the subwoofers were.

engagement_14

engagement_15

engagement_16

engagement_17

engagement_18

engagement_19

It’s too bad I was super ill when I shot this and we couldn’t stick around for the future bride and groom to show up. The heat was something I had never experienced before. In those Luxor backstreets the wind does not blow. But that doesn’t stop the parties. Engagement/wedding parties usually start around 10pm or later and run late into the night. We waited for hours for the bride and groom to show, and never got to see them.

Kick Aswan Part II

Aswan is home of the Nubians. Yes, you can find them in other parts of Egypt and in Sudan, but Aswan is really their haven. They are very proud of their heritage and rightfully so. Nubians constitute the earliest black civilization going back all the way to 2000 BC. What’s more, Wikipedia says there’s only half a million of them left.

In Aswan, my friend Owen and I were lucky enough to stumble upon Khalid, a proud Nubian and a sweet person. We spent a couple days with him sailing the Nile, learning about his city, meeting his family, and enjoying their hospitality. It was interesting to hear him talk about his culture because he always spoke about it with such pride. He pointed out that that they have their own language, two actually, he introduced us Nubian music, pointed out how he wraps his scarf differently, and boasted his love of the land.

As soon as we met Khalid, it was a relief. Our exchange was very human. It was a relief from being treated like a tourist so many others. Finally, we had found a friend.

Months later we would return to Aswan for an epic three-day felucca trip from Aswan to Edfu with Khalid as our captain. But for now – the last week of 2008.

egypt_aswan_2008_01

Half-demolished buildings are typical of Luxor, and apparently, they happen in Aswan, too. The ever-present and ever-expanding tourism industry “requires” wider streets and removal of residual housing anywhere near antiquities and the residents have no say in the process. One day you’ll get a knock on your door saying the city has to demolish your building. They hand you the key to a new building, which hasn’t been finished yet. A couple days later, the bulldozers come in.

egypt_aswan_2008_02

This was taken on an island named after Lord Kitchener, a British Earl and army general. He was a mixed bag; in one of his tours of Sudan at the turn of the 20th century, he managed to do some positive things for Islam. Things like: saving farmers from greedy moneylenders, insuring they had proper land and tools, preventing Christian missionaries from converting Muslims, passing reforms to preserve Friday as a day of prayer, rebuilding mosques, etc. As Wikipedia notes, “In 1899 Kitchener was presented with a small island in the Nile at Aswan as in gratitude for his services;” He converted it into an epic botanical garden, with thousands of exotic plants and trees. Today, it is a very pleasant place to escape to.

Unfortunately, Kitchener also played several other roles following his Sudan tours which weren’t so flattering. For one, he served as Commander in the 2nd Boer War (a war between the British and South Africa), and was responsible for a brutal campaign which included moving civilians into concentration camps where the conditions were so bad that tens of thousands of women and children died of sickness and malnutrition. He also served as Chief of the Indian Army, where the British empire carried out the cruelest massacres and most paralyzing economic reforms of that time.

egypt_aswan_2008_03

You can only get there by felucca boat or motorboat. Duh.

egypt_aswan_2008_04

Khalid.

egypt_aswan_2008_05

egypt_aswan_2008_06

egypt_aswan_2008_07

Inside one of Khalid’s homes.

egypt_aswan_2008_08

egypt_aswan_2008_09

Egyptians, like everyone except Americans, are crazy about soccer, ahem, football.

egypt_aswan_2008_10

Makin’ braids.

egypt_aswan_2008_11

egypt_aswan_2008_12

egypt_aswan_2008_13

egypt_aswan_2008_14

egypt_aswan_2008_15

This is Khalid’s new home. Can you tell? Look at the bright purple paint. It functions as the guest home when they have them – and that’s pretty often. It’s incredible the effort and care they put into the place. Along the outside there are a couple stray lines of Arabic painted in with a stencil that pattern around the home’s exterior: “Allah akbar” God is great. Indeed.

egypt_aswan_2008_16

Khalid sleeps on the roof. A lot of people in Egypt do this in the summer. Air conditioners are only for the wealthy, so the night breeze usually does the trick.

egypt_aswan_2008_17

egypt_aswan_2008_18

Henna preparations for marriage. This is just one ritual that really adds to the wedding ceremony.

egypt_aswan_2008_19

egypt_aswan_2008_20

egypt_aswan_2008_21

Online Drugstore,atarax reviews,Free shipping,buy cialis cheap ,Discount 10%