It was still dark when we left our hotel en-route to the airport. I put my watch on as I stared blankly at the glittering lights of the houseboats tied up along the Nile. I couldnât believe I was finally on my way home.
It seemed like I had been in Egypt since the grand opening of the pyramids. I checked my recently donned watch (I try not to wear it while on vacation) and to my surprise, even though it felt like ten thousand years, I had only been in Egypt a day or two more than a couple of weeks. But, Iâm getting ahead of myself. Let me launch this tale from the beginning.
I was born a small white baby in Riverside, California, some 30 plus years ago. Okay, it was forty years ago but whoâs counting and anyhow, 40 is the new 30 so I donât see what difference it makes.
Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, I was born and born with the desire to venture far and wide. Unfortunately due largely to my financial standing it was not to be. But I could dream and DREAM I DID! Most of the time during the day while at school.
Jump ahead twenty years or so: while lounging at my motherâs house I was flipping through a copy of National Geographic looking for pictures of, um, uh, fish; yes I was looking for pictures of fish when I ran across a picture of a guy carrying a large fish across his shoulders. This great fish was the Nile Perch. From time to time over the years I would read little snippets about the Nile Perch, stories about them eating crocodiles and monitor lizards and talk of their gargantuan proportions; how far away the Nile was etc. Someday, I thought to myself, Iâll get over there and catch some of those bastards. Of course I wasnât exactly sure where âover thereâ was but I knew it was far.
Jump ahead again; say maybe ten or fifteen years; lightly skipping past marriage, full time employment, the internet and the invention of the airplane. Now were almost getting to the present or at least the not to distant past.
My lovely wife, Michelle, and I went to the Amazon, which only bears mentioning because it ties into how I ended up in Egypt. (Some of you may remember my âAmazon Reportâ or more appropriately titled âFear, Intrigue and Deceit Under the Amazon Canopy.â) And, there is a television show called The Hunt for Big Fish that I watch on, occasion (as long as the host doesnât talk too much or use a fly rod) well, anyhow Iâm watching the show and Larry (the host)
Larry and Ramidan the Guide
is fishing for Nile Perch; which is the first evidence I have of anybody actually fishing for these red-eyed beasts of the desert. Nile Perch (below)
Then the next day Steve Yatomi (the travel agent from Adventuretravelalliance.com) who occasionally sends me pictures of fish and is a partner of some sort with Larry; sends me a picture of some fish.
âHeyâ I said in my email âjust out of curiosity, what does one of those Nile Perch trips cost?â Steve responded that they were about half of what our Amazon trip cost. Clearly Steve is an expert angler because with this info he had me chummed up to the stern in a matter of seconds.
I called Michelle or emailed her, I donât remember which and told her that we were going to Egypt and that was all there was to it. She, being wonderful and all, said ok and that was it. Later we found out that her schedule wouldnât allow it.
Oh well, whatâre you gonna do? I was going without her.
There, that is how I ended up in Egypt. Lake Nasser to be exact, which is where the bulk of this story takes place and that, is where the fishing takes place.
As the worldâs largest man-made lake, Lake Nasser is approximately 310 miles in length (1550 square miles) and, in places, can reach a depth of 600 feet. The lake was created in the 1960s when the world famous High Dam was built. Together with the old Aswan Dam (built by the British between 1898 and 1902) it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt. It is named for Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt from 1956-1970. The southern third of the lake is in Sudan and is called Lake Nubia. The lake is 312 miles (480 meters) long and covers an area of 2026 square miles (5,248 km2). It has a maximum depth of 426.5 ft (130 m) but its mean depth is 82.6 ft (25.2 m). The Egyptian portion is 202 miles (324 km) long and has a shoreline of 4,875 miles (7,844 km). Part of the area Lake Nasser covers today was once the site of the temples of Abu Simbel, built by Ramses II around 1200 B.C. The temple was moved but other sites of historical significance was submerged. Thirty-two species of fish, as well as Nile River crocodiles, are found in the lake. 80,000 tons of fish a year are caught.
The shoreline is a variety of desert landscapes, hilly and rugged, or flat and sandy with clean freshwater beaches.
The lake is remote and thinly populated by peasant fishermen, the local residents are Bedouin camel and sheep herdsmen who are occasionally seen grazing their flocks on the sparse vegetation at the edge of the lake.
There are an impressive variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded: Wild duck, Egyptian geese, pelicans, herons, egrets and various species of hawks, kites, falcons and eagles will be among the birds seen. In most areas there are crocodile and monitor lizards, other types of wildlife include Dorcas gazelle, jackals, desert fox, and various smaller desert mammals.
Lake Nasser is a place where a small group of anglers have literally hundreds of square miles to themselves.
Lake Nasser has arguably the best freshwater fishing in the world for both Nile perch and Tiger Fish. There are also several species of catfish; the legendary giant Vundu being the biggest. Two species of Tilapia also inhabit the lake and give a good account of themselves on a fly rod. All told there are some thirty two species of fish in the lake.
The above was found on the web and really takes a lot of the work out of the story. Thank you web.
So, Iâve decided Iâm going fishing in Egypt. Those of you who have got this far know why. Nearly every person I told prior to and following the trip thought I was nuts.
âWhy would you go fishing in Egypt?â âTo catch Nile Perch, duhâ Iâd reply.
âPerch, why donât you just go to the park?â Iâd explain, to their annoyed and blank face, that the term âperchâ was yet another reason why common names were often worthless. How the Nile perch was actually related to the snook and the barramundi and grew to huge proportions. Then theyâd say âWow, a perch that grows to 300 poundsâ
It was about a year from the time the trip was conceived till we were actually supposed to leave which was about right as it gave me plenty of time to look forward to it.
Then, the date changed from November to May and I had to cram a lot more anticipation into half the time.
As the trip grew closer I bought more and more Nile Perch tackle. The main thing I looked for was âBIG.â When you are choosing tackle for fish that could go 300 pounds with a mouth big enough to engulf your head, you donât mess around with #16 hooks and tiny little plugs. (Of course I brought a bunch of that stuff just in case).
Nagrashi (owner of Lake Nasser Adventures) sent some tackle suggestions a few months before the trip. Most of these lures were unavailable in the states. The others that were available were very expensive (like $30. a pop in some cases). The one that was available and reasonable was the Rapala Super Shad Rap .
So I bought a bunch of those off of EBay and I bought other big plugs that I thought looked appealing and I loaded up all of my plastic swim baits along with some special ones that I also got on EBay, some wire leaders, split rings, circle hooks, regular hooks, spectra, mono, markers, lead-heads, swivels, torpedo sinkers, egg sinkers, six reels, five rods, sleeping bag, tackle boxes, back-pack, headlight, books, bug spray, hats, sun-glasses, shirts, pants, shoes, sandals, more sandals, sunscreen, medications, more medications, more medications, magazines, planer, bug coils and a bunch of other stuff. Then I considered a forklift for moving all of my gear around.
I actually did have a very large cache of gear to haul around but I figured I wasnât likely to get to Egypt again anytime soon so I needed to be prepared for anything that might come my way.
The reality was that I was able to condense it all into a fairly manageable pile of stuff and with the combination of a backpack, gym-bag, large suitcase and rod tube I could move it all by myself.
Off I go!
The travel time to Aswan (the city where we would catch the boat) was about twenty-five hours. Ten hours from LA to England; six hours to Cairo; two more to Aswan plus lay over time.
Not bad traveling. The British Airways flights were very nice. Cramped but nice. Fifteen channel entertainment systems which allowed you to choose what you watched and did not censor your viewing (when will the U.S. grow up?) lots of meals and (as I found out on the return flight) a candy buffet available in the prep station.
Many of the meals came with a piece of chocolate and banana cream pie, which with the proper seductive glances I was able to double up on during most meals. I had to, who knew when I would get an opportunity for more.
I met up with my traveling partners at LAX; Randy, who I would get stuck with, I mean, um, paired up with most of the trip and Steve Yatomi. Later at the Heathrow airport we hooked up with George and then in Cairo we connected with Larry, Kevin and Mark( Mark was Larryâs cameraman).
The following conversation took place as we were checking our baggage for the flight to Aswan:
Egypt Air lady at counter: âWhat do we have here? Snow skis?â
Us: âFishing equipmentâ
Egypt Air Lady: âFishing equipment? Thereâs no water in Egypt. Egypt is a desert!â
Us: âOh no, you have great fishing here, Lake Nasser is world renown.â
Egypt Air Lady: âYou flew all the way from America to go fishing in Egypt? You could have gone anywhere in the world and you come to Egypt to go fishing, you Americans are smart!â
What did she and the rest of the world know anyhow?
The other reaction that I received when telling people that I was going fishing in Egypt was âEgypt? Isnât that in the Middle East?â
âWell yeah kinda, I guessâ
âHa, well it was nice knowing you.â
To be fair not everyone acted that way. Some people said: âEgypt huh? They got them pyramids there, donât they?â
Sphinx and Great Pyramid
Anyhow, the Egypt-Air flight wasnât near as nice as the others. Only a piece of dry bread and a box of guava juice for in-flight refreshment. Luckily it was a short flight.
The whole desert thing (vast, desolate, depressing, dry) really kicked in as we flew into Aswan; As far as the eye could see, nothing but sand and every once in a while a few rocks. I used to call the Imperial Valley âthe dessert,â no more.
Shortly after arriving at the airport in Aswan we were met by a very regal man in a dress.
This was Nagrashi, our host for the trip. Nagrashi had made all of the arrangements for us while in Egypt. It was very nice having someone take care of all the arrangements.
In Cairo we had been met by an American Express travel representative who spoke excellent English and helped usher us from place to place. In each subsequent city we were met by an agent who helped with baggage, accommodations and tour choices as well as hiring guides ahead of time. It was comforting to have someone holding your hand on a journey such as this.
As I said before, Nagrashi owned Lake Nasser Adventures which consisted of the fishing boats, supply boats and employed all of the guides etc.
Supply Boat/Living Quarters and Fishing Boats
Nagrashi was also our main contact on the lake as well as a guide. If we had any concerns or gripes Steve would get wind of them, take Nagrashi aside and explain the problem to him and everything would be okay, well, maybe not ok but he did really care that we enjoyed ourselves.
By the way, we were the first Americans to fish with Nagrashi in over eight years, this was kind of a promotional trip for us since Larry would be filming and airing the show in the U.S. Soon all of America will know that thar be a fishin hole in Egypt.
All right, all right, I know I better get to some fishing. Seeing as how were seven pages into this saga and we havenât landed anything but a few airplanes.
We stayed for a few hours in a hotel along the Nile and then had some breakfast which, as was the case most of the time, consisted of some eggs and bread. There was also some yogurt which was very sour. I didnât eat mine but I think the others did which may explain their intestinal challenge during most of the trip.
We were off! We loaded our gear into a travel van and shot through the city on the way to the lake.
Right before we left the city we were stopped in an area that looked like some sort of official check station. Soon all these local looking guys started getting on the bus. I thought we were just giving them a ride. Turned out they were our crew.
We sped through the desert in this weaving bobbing van, threading its way along the tiny black trail of asphalt. The whole time all I could think of was âmaybe everybody was right!?â
Soon enough a large body of water showed on the horizon. I jumped up and down yelling âI see the water, I see the waterâ apparently my cohorts werenât as easily excited as me.
As we reached the waters edge we saw a few boats tied to the shore.
One was the Nubian Queen and the other the Lake Nasser Adventure.com boat. Suddenly I realized this was an adventure not a luxury long range trip.
I find that it is very important to steel oneself for situations which you have no control. Also, get the lay of the land quickly and plan accordingly in case you need to lay claim to an area or position.
As the crew transferred our luggage to the floating patio that was to be my home for the next ten days I did a quick reconnaissance.
â¢ Toilet-Check- One
â¢ Shower-Check (sorta)
â¢ Air Conditioning-haha
â¢ Television- Oh Please.
Okay at least there was a toilet, of course there were fifteen people on the boat which added up to not much can time. Easy enough, I only need to use it once a day; Iâll just get up early and go before anyone else. I didnât figure on everybody going fourteen times a day but more on that later.
I laid claim to the starboard bunk which was also the starboard dining room seating as well as the starboard loading and unloading point. My gear fit nicely against the forward bulkhead and I was able to arrange a small shelf for all of my toiletries etc.
The plan was to head across the lake for a bit, have lunch and start fishing.
Our first lunch was cucumber/tomato salad and a canned tuna casserole with rice. Not bad, not great but I was relieved we werenât eating goat.
Kitchen, Cook and Mahmoud The cook did amazing things with very little!
I gobbled lunch down and went fishing from shore while everyone else finished eating. I was using a Calcutta 200 with 50 pound braid and a 10 pound mono leader. I was casting a small spinner with a glass minnow body. After casting a bit I caught a freshwater puffer fish.
They literally get bigger after you catch them. Smair with a puffer.
Unfortunately that was to be my only fish for the day.
We (Randy and I) left with our guide Smair headed out towards what looked to be a large flat area. Shortly after getting in the area Smair told us to start trolling. This as I soon found out was the technique used most often for catching the perch. I made it clear early on that I did not intend to spend the entire time blindly dragging lures around the lake. Randy also said that he didnât want to troll all the time.
Well I figured we could do it for a while until we found the fish and then we could stop and cast lures and jigs.
After about an hour of trolling for nothing we heard that Larry had boated one about a mile from us so we shot over there trolling and then stopping and casting and then trolling again.
Basically at the end of day one we had one puffer to show for our efforts.
We met up with the mother-ship right before sun down. We were pretty exhausted as we had basically been up for the last couple of days. As we trolled to the ship both of us were falling in and out of sleep.
That night we ate one of the fish that Larry had caught that day with vegetables and rice. It was very good as fresh fish often is.
One often discounts the convenience of eating in bed. When you are done all you have to do is put your head down and go to sleep. I had this convenience the entire time I was on Lake Nasser, of course I had to wait for everybody else to finish eating in my bed before there was enough room for me to stretch out.
Dining room table and my bed, thatâs my knees on the right.
Evening meal with Nagrashi pouring wine (he said that he wasnât a Muslim at night).
The next morning I was ready to go! Good nights sleep a nice meal and my internal bathroom clock went off just in time to get my business done.
As the dark sky became slightly gray I was up, applying sunscreen, taking my vitamin drink, checking tackle etc. Today was going to be different. I wasnât tired and we were going to get an early start. HELLO? Weâre going to get an early start!
As I was soon to realize, the Nubians, while wonderful, sweet and nice are not early risers.
The entire American contingency was up and ready to go yet the aft upper deck was still a gently undulating mass of blankets.
âUm, Uh, hey Steve, you think we might get to go fishing today?â
âYes,â said Nagrashi âweâll have some breakfast, your guide will get the boat ready and then weâll go fishing. The perch, they donât like to get up earlyâ
How they knew the perch didnât get up early is beyond me since they (the Nubians) didnât get up before 9 in the morning.
I settled in and accepted what was, while nibbling on some flat bread (pita).
After that I cast of the back of our skiff with a small spinner which resulted in one tiger fish hooked and lost and then a quick snip (bite off) resulting in a lost lure.
About nine or ten that morning we moved out to start fishing.
Fishing in foreign lands brings with it the inherent challenge of teaching the guide while the guide is trying to teach you. Yes, the guide fishes this area all the time. Yes, this is often the first time you have ever fished here. Yes, the guide knows better. But the guide more than likely has never fished anywhere else in his life so his perspective is very narrow.
On the other hand, as arrogant, know it all Americans we clearly know more about everything than anybody.
Success comes from integrating the two and doing so in a fashion that doesnât cause your guide to leave you on a partially submerged rock in the back of some forlorn bay.
Smair knew that the best way for his passengers to consistently reel in fish was for him to troll from dawn (10ish) to dusk. He also knew where he had fished every year for the last 8 years and which spots caught fish and which spots didnât. So when we would point to an area and say, âhow about we try fishing over thereâ he would say âno good back there.â
âOh, well it looks goodâ and then we would continue trolling for nothing.
We had been fishing for two or three hours on our first full day when, as the boat trolled around some boulders, Randyâs Super Shad Rapala got pounded by something.
After checking and setting his drag and reassuring him that he wasnât stuck on a rock he brought the first perch of the trip to the boat.
Aha! There are some fish here!
Being the experienced tuna fisherman that I am I instantly began fan casting the area we were in; for nothing.
So we started trolling again. At least Randy caught one. Or more appropriately; Smair, while driving the boat, hooked one and Randy reeled it in.
A little later while trolling through a valley underneath some temples Randy caught a few more. These were nicer fish the first one weighing 27 pounds and the next going 20. I was bumped while throwing my jig but no fish.
In this area we ran into some commercial fisherman who didnât seem to like the fact that we were out there chasing their fish.
I can understand their displeasure. We were out fishing with gear that cost more than they would make in a year; From a boat with a motor that could propel us through the water over 30 miles an hour; while they were in a huge wooden skiff, rowing with the wrong end of giant chopsticks while trying to untangle electric fish, elephant fish and puffers from their nets.
We gave them a Coke and everything was cool.
Plus we told them that we would be releasing everything we caught. They were relieved once they realized that we were retarded.
We meandered along the shoreline of the lake trolling and occasionally stopping to do some casting in likely looking areas. We did stop to take a swim in the very clear water off a red sand beach.
It was important to swim in clear water so you knew when to clamber up on top of the water and run for your life if a crocodile happened by.
We saw quite a few crocs, mostly floating in the middle of the lake looking very much like logs; big logs.
The guys told us that there was only one incident of a human being eaten by a croc; a fisherman who fell in while tending his net. There were so many nets strung around the lake that all the crocs had to do was wait for them to fill up with fish then enjoy the easy pickings.
After swimming we trolled to where the supply boat was beached for lunch. On the way there I caught a small perch about six pounds. I had popped my Egyptian cherry! Woohoo!
One of my first perch!
Before and after lunch I cast from the beach in this spot, using bright pink swimbaits. I caught another small perch; I was really starting to get the hang of it. This one was ten maybe twelve inches.
After lunch we moved off again looking for more productive waters. By this time I was pretty sick and tired of trolling. I had gained my balance on the boat well enough that I was able to stand near the bow and cast to likely looking spots as we trolled along.
Smair, was doing a good job of humoring me while we putted along. As we came around a point one of my casts resulted in a small perch. This was caught on one of my custom painted swimbaits. This was the first fish I had caught on one of these; âSee, see, these will catch fishâ I said â I know youâre thinking that Iâm crazy using this all the time but I knew it would catch fishâ Smair, ever the diplomat, even when his eyeballs were rolling around in his head, said âyes, they catch fishâ and then very quietly said âsmall fish.â
Later that afternoon as it was getting dark I caught another, this one probably topping ten or twelve pounds and definitely proving that the Nile perch were susceptible to a cast jig artfully worked through the water.
That night the supply boat waited for us tied up on the edge of a sandy beach near a weed bed.
I fished, for bait for a good portion of the evening, to no avail, while waiting for dinner. I was sure if I could catch some tilapia and then cast them out from the shore I would be rewarded with a big fat perch. I know to this day that a lively tilapia cast from that beach would have produced but the tilapia in lake Nasser did not want anything with a hook in it.
I canât figure it out. The tilapia here (in California) is a ravenous beast willing to bite anything. People at the Salton Sea catch hundreds in a day but we couldnât catch a one.
Later in the evening I crouched on the side of the lake with light line and a small piece of bait on a small hook I was encouraged by the pecking that I could feel on my line. But I couldnât hook anything. Every couple of minutes I would feel the tug, tug of small fish and then nothing.
Over and over again they bit, I knew if they were biting, eventually I could hook one and then quickly transfer it to a larger hook and then my only problem would be keeping the giant perch alive till morning so I could show everyone.
Of course that is when I realized that the tug, tug of small fish was in fact tiny bats flitting about and running into my line. I gave up and went to bed.
Nagrashi said the particular beach that we were on was a good one for shore fishing so I was programmed to sleep lightly that night.
I woke up sometime in the night, not really sure what time it was but decided to make the most of the evening while everyone else wasted the night by sleeping. I only had eight more days to fish!
I rigged another rod with one of my custom swimbaits and headed towards the beach in the dark.
As I walked away from the supply boat I could see quick movement on the beach ahead. There were also some muffled grunts and thuds. I slunk behind a sand dune trying to get a closer look at what was going on.
Abdul, our Egyptian police officer, was being held around the neck by what appeared to be (based on everything Iâve seen on television) a TERRORIST!
I wasnât sure what to do, Abdul was our security so I couldnât run back to the boat for help. I knew that I would be hard pressed to wake the Nubians as I was all out of dynamite. The other passengers werenât exactly Chuck Norris, though Larry was pretty wiry(for a guy on TV) and Mark seemed like he could probably take care of himself. No, like so many other times in my life, I was on my own.
Also, it seemed like the terrorists were about to cause Abdul great harm with their long gleaming knives glittering wickedly as they danced in the glare of the full moon.
They were speaking to him in low guttural hissing tones. While Iâm no expert in the Egyptian tongue I was pretty sure they were trying to get him to tell them where the money and television celebrities were on the boat. They also wanted to know if there was anyone else with a gun.
I realized that I needed to do something quick or both of Abduls wives would soon be widows.
I checked to make sure the clicker was off on my Calcutta 400. I debated whether or not to remove the plastic swimbait from my 1.5 ounce jig head but I figured I would be able to see it better if I left it on. Plus, I had just put it on and if I took it off it would ruin it. I only had twenty five for the whole trip.
I quietly stood up, probably thirty yards from the soon to be gruesome scene on the beach. I crouched slightly and then reached back and flung. The seven foot trigger stick arced as the weight of the jig pulled it back and then shot forward.
Deadly concentration was required as a backlash at this time would clearly cause too much noise and really be hard to untangle in the dark with terrorists charging on me.
Luckily, the last couple of days had provided me with more casting practice than anyone should endure and no backlash occurred.
My aim was true. The two men, haranguing Abdul, were standing at a slight angle from me so right about the time the man farthest from me realized I was standing there he took a lead head square between the eyes.
As soon as I saw my jig had found its mark I wound tight and set the hook as if I were ramming the hook into the bony mouth of a wahoo.
The jig had just dented the head of the man farthest from me when it was yanked backward right into the face of the man looking away from me.
The other, hardly had time to wonder why his partner was crumpling to the ground when he was caught in the eyeball with a 6/0 Owner lead head hook and then yanked to the ground.
I raced to where the men were, Abdul was trying to figure out what had just happened. Luckily I had plenty of 50 pound Powerpro spectra so I pretended I was a tetherball and quickly ran in tighter and tighter circles till I had the two of them tied tightly together.
I didnât want to cause great pain so I knocked out the guy with the jig in his eyeball with a quick uppercut and quickly removed the jig.
Abdul radioed the Egyptian police headquarters and they dispatched a patrol boat to pick up âhisâ prisoners. The Egyptians are very serious about taking care of their tourists!
Well, after that I was a little tired so I went back to bed or couch or dining room table whatever you want to call it.
I woke up just as the sky was changing color. Abdul beckoned to me from the beach. âPeter, thank you for saving my life last nightâ he said.
âWell, what else could I have doneâ I reassured him, âI know that you have two wives who would miss you dearly, plus itâs just my way.â
âPeter, I would like to repay you.â Abdul said.
âOh thatâs not necessary,â I said, âI would have done that for anybody. Please forget all about it. In fact, Iâd prefer if you didnât even tell the others about it.â
âI would like you to take one of my wives for your own.â
I thought about it for a minute and realized I would never be able to go on a trip like this again if I brought home an extra wife.
âDo you have a picture of them?â I asked.
âHere, they are both beautifulâ Abdul proffered a couple wallet sized pictures of women with their faces poking out of a sheet.
âYou know,â I said, not wanting to offend him, âI already have a bunch of wives at home but maybe I can think of something else that you can do for me before the trip is over.â
He seemed satisfied that by the end of the trip I would think of someway he could repay me. I would have settled for a bucket of live tilapia.
I fished the beach for the next couple of hours and ended up catching a couple of decent ten pound class perch on my swimbaits.
I heard the motors whirring to life back by the supply boat so I dashed back to the boat grabbing some Pop Tarts for breakfast.
I was pretty beat by the time I hopped in the boat, what with catching two fish already that morning. What? You the reader doubt my story of heroism on the beach? Well, I donât know what to tell you, that is exactly how I remember that night. I suppose if you want confirmation you can call Egypt and talk to Abdul about it. I donât know his last name but how many Abduls can there be in Egypt?
Anyhow, itâs not important; this is a story about fishing.
Like I was saying, I was beat and started not feeling all that great. I was content to sit and let Smair do the fishing with the boat while I contemplated the ill feeling that was brewing in my belly.
I was trolling a Rebel Long-A minnow which got whomped on by a perch about 20 pounds. I boated and released the fish. I then released the contents of my stomach into Lake Nasser. Those Pop Tarts tasted better going down than they did coming up.
Right after this picture I ed.
The supply boat was chugging past on its way to our lunch spot so I had Smair drop me off.
I spent the next six or seven hours contemplating using my travel insurance to get me the hell out of Egypt.
The Nubians made excellent nurse maids. Captain Ramidan, of the big boat, would check on me from time to time. Moving me to spots that would be more comfortable; into the breeze, out of the sun, on a mat or pillow. He also provided me with various medicines.
Late in the afternoon Randy and Smair came back to the boat to see if I wanted to go fishing. I was touched that they had made the gesture (If I was fishing I wouldnât have come back for me) so I took them up on their offer and went fishing with them.
Didnât catch anything but at least I wasnât laying around like a loser.
That night the diarrhea kicked in.
Up to this point I had been very comfortable. The others, well, letâs just say that I was more than familiar with how the others were. Some had issues going while others had issues with not going.
The night of my sickness I took some Imodium. As I lay on my dinner stool, I mean bed (there was no stool in my bed), contemplating calling it quits the Imodium subjected me to each of its published side effects.
In the morning I asked Larry, who is a much more seasoned traveler than I will likely ever be, about the proper time to take your Cipro (heavy duty antibiotic).
âWell, the best way I can describe it is that when you use the toilet and it smells like a dirty city, itâs time to take the cipro.â
I really wanted to fish without worrying about things, so, while doing my business I contemplated the dirty city smell. Iâve been to a few dirty cities and I had a pretty good idea what he was talking about.
I left the can (which is actually a very descriptive word for the bathroom on the supply boat) and popped my cipro. These were pills that I had purchased for our Amazon trip but never used.
Iâd like to put an end to the scatological discussion; while it dominated most conversations held while I was in Egypt I donât want it to dominate my report. The first few days of the trip I was healthy and while not relishing my companions discomfort I was definitely happy it was them and not me. For one day I was not healthy. I wished to not be in the same boat (often times in more ways than one) with everyone else.
I took my cipro; later, around mid-morning I felt, what I like to think of as the dying convulsions of whatever bug was in my belly and that was it.
I went back to being smug and healthy. Except for my back which went out on me a day or two later but Iâm not even going to go into that. Back to fishing.
The morning, after the great sickness, dawned with a new freshness and vigor. While I was still tepid on the trip I was determined to take control of the situation!
Randy, Smair and I headed one way while the other two boats moved in the opposite direction. Smair was taking us to a spot where he said there would be good casting.
We traveled in glass like conditions for about ten minutes before we came to a submerged island with sticks poking out of the water. There were small fish flitting through the sticks and grass and as we approached I saw some small boils.
I quickly took my spot on the bow of the little boat and as if on cue there was a large boil and some bubbles directly in front of me.
Smair said the bubbles were from a vundu (a large Egyptian catfish that ate his grandfather). I launched my swimbait across the boil and almost immediately something grabbed it. I felt the fish for a moment and then it came loose.
Reeling in the swimbait something had bitten the paddle tail off. This was the fate of most of my paddle tails.
Earlier in the trip, when I was fishing on the beach, I realized that once the tail was gone you could work the jig with a quick bouncing action that imparted quite a bit of life to it even if it didnât have its tail.
Knowing that there was a fish right there and needing to react quickly I shot the jig right back to where the first cast had landed. I brought the line tight and started bouncing it back to the boat quick and jerky. Within ten feet it was inhaled by something big.
At first I thought it might be a vundu but Smair said no, that a vundu would have given up long before.
I was perched on the bow putting a lot of pressure on the 50 pound spectra with a 40 pound mono-leader. The fish was big enough that it was towing the boat around. After about ten minutes of not knowing what I had hooked the line began to rise to the surface. âGet readyâ I said âheâs going to jump.â Well, he didnât really jump so much as roll on the surface giving us a good look at him.
âHoly ####â I said, âlook at that fish, wow, look at that fish!â
Randy was even more impressed as the fish sounded again.
Smair coached me that we were getting close to the island and that I needed to finish the fight before the fish took me into the weeds so I started putting maximum pressure on him to raise him off the bottom.
The fish came to the side of the boat where Smair used a lip gaff to pull the fish in the boat.
At first I was speechless due to the size of the fish. But quickly I realized that we needed to act quickly to get him back in the water.
Smair took out a large vinyl sling which we rolled the fish into for weighing. Then we both held the fish for a picture. While I have the strength of many men, this fish was to long, heavy and unwieldy for me to handle on my own. After telling Randy to take multiple pictures, due to the fact that he usually cut something off in most of his shots, we got the fish back in the water. We had to do some work to get him to swim off. Hopefully he recovered as big fish that are fought to exhaustion often times donât do so well after release.
Weighed about 90 pounds.
The Nubians had a very strong release ethic. Nagrashi actually instructed his guides to not bring anything back to the boat except for the odd food fish.
He said that in order to instill this in their thinking he would âsinkâ a fish rather than bring it in. Meaning that he would leave it for the crocodiles rather than let his people think it was ok to kill a fish.
âSo Smairâ I said âis that a small fish?â He looked at me quizzically for a moment; âyou told me that these lures were only good for catching small fish, so is that a small fish?â He laughed and said âyeah, those lures work pretty good.â
Anyhow, I had a respectable fish (bigger than any others caught on the trip so far) I was beginning to really enjoy myself.
We worked the area for a while longer. I caught some more while Randy practiced his casting. I let Smair try my gear and he also caught one on my special jig.
Randy was sorta new to fishing. And while he originally had shared my disdain for trolling all day long he was losing his enthusiasm for watching me catch fish. I was actually happy for him when he caught his first fish on the cast jig (I was a little surprised by that emotion, although as I think about it; itâs probably because I knew it would help me refrain from trolling).
Later in the afternoon we made our way back to the supply boat where the others tried to remain nonplused by my fantastic catch.
They had caught a number of fish while trolling an area below where we had fished.
The fact that they were catching all their fish while trolling was starting to get to my boat partner. I do admit it was easier, especially in the 100+ degree heat. All you had to do was sit there with nary a thought in your head and wait for your guide to drive over an area holding fish.
The only real concentration required was insuring that your lure wasnât fouled by grass.
The first couple of days Smair would notice that Randyâs lure was fouled with grass and he would point it out, and then slow the boat down so Randy could reel his lure in and have Smair remove the grass for him. We would then take off again.
Randy soon learned that when the tip of his rod stopped vibrating it was an indication of âweeds.â He would then say âweeds Samâ (Randy never bothered trying to get any of the Nubianâs names correct) and Smair would slow the boat again and help him remove his weeds.
I was doing my best to go with the flow each day. Realizing that there were two of us in the boat and that I needed to go along with what my partner wanted to do whenever I could. I didnât squawk when we had to stop and gather a bottle of sand to take home.
I kept a civil tongue in my head when he went on a campaign to cleanse the lake of cigarette butts one Nubian at a time. (Poor Smair thought Randy wanted to pee in his tea cup.)
But, I finally had it with the weeds. I was willing to endure trolling because it was half his boat for the trip but, well, it went like this.
âWeeds Samâ annoyed pause and then again in a much more condescending and annoyed tone; âAhem, Sam; WEEDS!â
As if saying, âhey dumbass, I have weeds on my line, stop the boat and take them off.â
âNoâ I said, âSmair, keep driving the boat. Randy, reel your lure in and take off the weeds. We donât need to stop every time a lure gets fouled, were wasting fishing time.â
That was kind of it. I felt a little bad. He had come back for me a few days before when I was sick but I think I made up for it by letting him lose my tackle and tying all his knots for him.
Anyhow, we worked the area for the next couple of days. It wasnât a very attractive area being made up mostly of mud and rocks.
What did start showing up in ever increasing numbers was commercial fisherman. Commercial fisherman laying miles and miles of nets and long lines.
Originally we were told that they were fishing for tiger fish and other smaller species and that they did not target the perch. Before long we realized that wasnât the case as we ran across long lines baited with live tilapia.
The fishermen were very nice though. Always willing to share their bait with us, never even asking for payment. We would give them some sodas if we had them but other than that they asked for nothing.
The commercial fishermen were camped all over the lake. From what I could gather they would work for a few weeks at a time and then go back to the city for a while and then back to the lake. They were nomadic moving from one area to the next catching all that was available.
Their fish would be picked up every few days by the âice boatâ which must have delivered ice and then picked up the fish.
The ice boat and their cargo.
While the fishermen were nice and friendly that didnât take away from the fact that they were really doing a number on the perch. The more we moved into areas with fishermen the fewer fish we seemed to catch.
Also, our trip had started the day after a one month moratorium on commercial fishing. So the pressure had been off the lake a bit before we got there.
The one thing that the commercial guys did for me was provide tilapia for bait. One of my favorite places in the entire world to fish is/was the Salton Sea. We would drift or anchor using live tilapia for bait catching the beautiful orange mouth corvina.
Fishing Lake Nasser really reminded me of the Salton Sea. Mostly it was the ridiculous heat and desert landscape but also the fact that it was filled with tilapia. Of course some of them were much larger than those we have at home by about five times.
Anyhow, I think it was the seventh day of the trip, Randy had jumped ship (I think he told Steve he needed to fish with someone else who didnât mind driving around all day) and was fishing with Kevin and captain Ramidan; George had come to fish with Smair and I which was fine by me as he was really up for anything. Also, George had caught more fish trolling than anyone else so it was all gravy for him at this point.
We fished hard that day, not catching a lot of fish but a few; I set George up with a jig and he caught a fish here and there.
The next day which I think was day number eight. We spent the night in the same general location where we first had lunch. It was not looking good, as we headed for the supply boat, there were more nets than ever. We had fished until dark, even running over the nets as we made our way in.
The next morning George wasnât feeling great so he told Smair and I to take off without him. We headed out across the giant lake
By this time of the trip (especially with Randy off the boat) Smair and I had a good working relationship. He had his old spots that seemed to work but he also paid attention when I would suggest an area. One thing he realized was that I, with my polarized sunglasses, could see things in the water that he was unaware of.
He learned this because I gave him an old pair of sunglasses. He owned them for one day. Then they disappeared.
Anyhow, we fished a series of weed beds and submerged islands for the first two or three hours; catching a few twenty pound class fish as it got later in the morning I asked Smair where we were supposed to meet the big boat? âI donât knowâ he said.
That was okay with me, as long as we had gas and something to drink I was very happy staying out all day. Who needs lunch?
We worked into an area of deep channels that at one time were probably very difficult to drive your goats and camels through but they made for good fishing.
As the day wore on Smair was getting nervous about not knowing where everybody was. I told him as long as we found the boat that night I was fine and not to worry about it.
He took me to a spot where he said he had caught some nice fish before. As we came into the area we could see fish on his meter so we stopped while he smoked and I cast. After casting for a while for nothing we tried dragging the Super Shad Rap around the high spot and that netted us a fish in the thirties.
There were some commercial guys nearby so I suggested we beg some bait off of them. As usual they were very friendly and happy to hand over a handful of 3-4 inch tilapia.
About that time here comes one of the other boats with George, Kevin and Randy. Apparently they had been looking for us. Thinking we were lost.
Now, I didnât think we were lost, and I certainly didnât want to be found but I could understand if they wanted George out of their boat.
Kevin seemed kinda pissy about spending an hour looking for us. Well, who asked them to look for us, sure wasnât me or Smair.
Anyhow, I told George to hop in the boat; that I had just scored some tilapia and we wuz gonna catch us some big perch.
He declined. Said he was happy trolling around with those guys.
OK by me.
I put a tilapia on a big circle hook with a little egg sinker and tossed it out in about 25 feet of water.
Captain Ramidan made circles in our general area hoping to hook a fish for Randy, Kevin or George to reel in.
It took all of about two minutes for me to feel the tell-tale âthunkâ of my tilapia hitting the back of a big perchâs mouth.
I told Smair, âboy those guys should have taken some tilapiaâ as I wound tight on the line slowly raising the rod tip which pulsed heavy with a big fish.
This was bitchin! I had to move to the bow of the boat as the fish was heading for the weeds and we needed to keep the fight on top of him. I was using my new Trinidad 14 with fifty pound spectra and a forty pound leader so I was able to pull pretty hard and I really wanted the fish to jump and thrash around so I could rub it in to the guys that were trolling (futilely) in circles around us.
The fight didnât last too long and we quickly brought him in the boat and released what turned out to be about a 55 pound perch. It also added to the extreme back pain that I had been dealing with for the last couple of days. Oh well, at least the fish made it back in the water safely.
After that we caught up with the supply boat where I had a late lunch and Smair lost his new sunglasses.
We went fishing again later that afternoon and into the evening but that was it for what was my favorite day of the trip. The best part of this day was that I and Smair had been fairly successful landing about ten decent perch topped off by the fish caught on the tilapia while the rest of the group had tubed.
During the day I had a chance to talk to Smair about the other clients he had fished with. As I said before we were the first Americans to fish there in over eight years. They fished with French, Dutch, English, Russians etc.
We (I and Larry, ok Randy and George a little) used conventional (round baitcasters) tackle for the perch. He said that before us he had never seen people use conventional gear for casting. He also said that the French were happy to catch anything. Their idea of a good time was catching small fish which didnât make you work very hard to reel them in. Go figure.
Well, the last full day of fishing was upon us. It was a tough one.
George landed two fish in the morning and I landed two in the afternoon. The last one was a nice one, in the twenties, caught in the grassy islands and pulled out of some trees.
The next day was going to start with some fishing as we made our way to Aswan where we would leave the supply boat and begin the tourism part of our trip.
There was some discussion about the fishing that would take place on the last morning. George opted to rest and get all his packing done while Kevin and Randy were going trolling again.
The possibility of me going with them (trolling) was brought up. My initial reaction (which in retrospect maybe I should have kept inside) was âno way, Iâm not spending my last day here with my thumb up my ass.â I think, based upon how many times Kevin kept bringing it up for the rest of the trip, it may have struck a nerve.
Anyhow, the last day was a bust. The closer we were to âcivilizationâ the worse the fishing was. Nearly every point housed a commercial fisherman and every cove was laced with gill nets and long lines. It was beautiful water, clear and clean but there were no fish to be caught at least not on the last day.
As we left the boat and said goodbye to everyone I was just a little sad. I had really hoped to catch a perch over a hundred pounds and the best part of the trip was behind me.
I kept thinking to myself (for the next five days) âshow me some friggin pyramids so I can get the hell out of here.â
That is what I kept thinking but I knew that was the wrong attitude so I resigned myself to make the most of my time remaining and enrich myself by soaking in all the wonderful social intricacies that my brothers from the Middle East had to offer.
Oh boy, had you fooled for a second there didnât I. Man what I wouldnât have given for a television and half a dozen English speaking channels.
Randy told Nagrashi to call ahead and tell the hotel staff to turn on our air conditioning before we arrived so we would not be forced to endure another minute of Egyptian heat. This earned him the nickname âFrenchyâ from this point on.
Rare photo of Randy.
We left the boat, took the obligatory group photo and headed into downtown Aswan.
All the Gang.
We were staying at the hotel with the sour yogurt which was located on the edge of the Nile river. Beautiful location with so-so accommodations. It was supposed to be four stars.
Itâs a bit of a shock on a trip like this when you go from almost no people whatsoever to the filth and congestion of a big city. So, what better way to get used to it than to immerse yourself in it.
Taking a hot shower was pretty cool and there were geckos running around on the ceiling so that maintained a lot of the wilderness that I had grown accustomed to.
I realize that this is dragging so Iâll speed up the last few days of the trip.
The first full day in Aswan was spent farting around. My companions were very interested in bringing home lots of souvenirs. They were buying rugs and rocks and plastic statues as well as foot stools and clothes that didnât fit. While I enjoyed negotiating with the locals I didnât want to lug a bunch of junk around that I could buy over the internet, if I really wanted it.
The locals in the downtown area were very friendly. They all asked where I was from; and then offered to help me spend my money.
Day two: We headed off to see the unfinished obelisk and the temple of Isis. I wish someone would have told me what an obelisk was. Turns out itâs a tall rock.
A finished obelisk.
And, guess what? They were selling the same stuff here that they were in downtown Aswan. My back was killing me by this time.
On the way back we stopped at a fragrance mart, I sat in the air conditioned bus. Then we went to a papyrus factory. Who knew that a papyrus factory was where they made paintings? I thought we were going to a factory where they made things of value. Turns out it was an opportunity for the Egyptians to fleece tourists. My cohorts bought a bunch. Later in the downtown mart we saw all the same junk for a fraction of the price.
Next we went to the Temple of Isis. It had nothing to do with the TV show from the 70âS.
Temple of Isis
Although, speaking of television (which is one of my favorite things to talk about) I was really in television withdrawal at this point. So close to TV but still so far. It was like torture to turn on the television and then only have people jabbering at you.
The Temple of Isis was actually pretty cool, despite the Disneyland aura that surrounded it. Apparently they had moved the temple from where it once stood in the lake bed. I think it was probably in a better location now. There were dozens of boats to take tourists to the temple.
Who did we find running one of the boats? Captain Ramadan of the big supply boat. Not only did he take us to the temple but when I couldnât take standing anymore he came, picked me up and put a pillow under my head. Man, I love that guy.
Day three we left Aswan and flew to Luxor. It was only an hour flight but we were in first class. I think the difference between coach and first was that we got a juice box.
Luxor was a little more to my liking. For one thing the countryside was all farmland. For another thing the hotel was a real four star hotel-very nice. And the best partâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦.REAL TELEVISION WITH REAL ENGLISH CHANNELS! Not a lot of them but enough to ease the pain!
We checked into the hotel and went out to get something to eat at a buffet restaurant that looked like they were only open for us. After that my companions went to another temple. I think this was a good one but my back was bothering me like a mutha-f-er and I was looking forward to worshiping the black lacquer alter in my hotel room.
The next morning we went off and saw the Valley of the Kings. That is where they found King Tut and a bunch of other Kings. Those guys were sure full of themselves.
Next we went to, um, uh, The Valley of the Dolls. Wait, no, I think it was the Valley of the Queens. Well, something like that. It was an impressive temple with some really old drawings that were covered with wax.
Itâs coated with wax so it lasted a long time.
There was a queen who used to dress up like a man and drank straight from the teat of the cow god. I think her name was Hot-#### Sue or something like that. It was a cool looking place look at the picture. Iâm sure if you are really interested you can go there.
On the way back from the Valleyâs we stopped at one of the places where they carve stuff. Oh yeah, you can buy all sorts of carved stuff at each of the valleyâs as well. You can buy like five artifacts for three dollars. What you can do with them after that is beyond me. I guess you could throw them at coyotes. They were good throwing size.
So, at the carving place Randy decides heâs going to buy some stone sculptures. They weigh like ten pounds apiece and they want $300 dollars for them. You could see on the bottom where they had ground off âmade in China.â He fretted and worried about them and luckily decided not to get them. Until later that evening when he bought them in the Luxor market place for a third the price. Luckily security wasnât near as tight in the Egyptian airports as the U.S otherwise thereâs no way they would have let him on carrying forty pounds of rocks. Randy brought enough âartifactsâ home to have his own Egyptian temple. Come to think of it, maybe he was inspired in the Valley of the Kings. In addition to papyrus paintings and carved rocks he brought back sand from the dessert, beer cans, pictures with the heads cut off (pictures of his traveling companions), diarrhea and constipation (at the same time, now that takes talent). He almost didnât bring back some of his teeth.
Not that I was going to knock them out. When we were in our hotel room in Aswan Randy decided to rid Egypt of mosquitoes. He was jumping around on his bed trying to swat the mosquitoes on the ceiling when he lost his footing and plummeted head first towards the tile floor. Luckily for him I happened to be between him and the floor, otherwise he would have been going home early. Of course then I would have had a room to myself. In case youâre wondering, Randy is fifty.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Luxor; have I mentioned that Egypt was hot? Man was it hot. Let me tell you how hot it was, really hot. Well here, let me give you an example. It was the last full day that we were going to spend in Luxor. The rest of the guys had gone off to soak up more culture. Randy was going to go with them but somehow ended up snoring in our room thereby ruining my plan of soaking up more American television in Egypt. I decided I should lay out by the pool and read. I picked a copy of Vanity Fair from my suitcase and headed down by the pool. I was trying to cultivate a European Air so I thought the Vanity Fair would help.
I found a nice spot that was slightly shaded at the far end of the pool. I was trying to read my magazine but the sweat kept streaming into my eyes. Also I kept glancing about to see if people noticed how European I looked. Within about three minutes I decided that I needed to cool off, so I lay my magazine (Vanity Fair) down and sauntered over to the pool. After looking very cool in the pool I meandered back to my chaise and resumed the perusal of my magazine (Vanity Fair). The only problem was that the Egyptian sun had melted the glue that bound the pages together and the darn thing kept falling apart. I retreated to the room and turned up the volume to drown out Randy. Man was it hot out there.
So I spent the rest of the day in the A/C dreaming of going to the Pyramids and then home(not necessarily in that order).
We got up early the next morning and headed for the airport, bound for Cairo. I had not heard good things about Cairo from other travelers I had met on the trip. Mostly saying how dirty and crowded it was. I was not looking forward to our time there but it turned out to be like most big cities Iâve visited. Of course they did have that prayer chant that was blasted through the city three or four times a day but once you realized that their was no emergency or bombs about to go off it wasnât so bad.
We dropped our stuff off in this old style hotel and then met our tour guide. She was one of the few women we had met while in Egypt that wasnât wearing a bunch of fabric wrapped around her head. She was nice enough. She was engaged which seemed to dominate her thoughts as most of the time, when she wasnât rattling off her pat lecture on the various old things that we saw, she was on the phone with her boyfriend. (Whom she wasnât sleeping with (so she claims) but she was allowed to go to dinner with, alone.) The tour guide we had in Aswan was also engaged but he wasnât even allowed to take his girl on a picnic. I asked him if he ever bought shoes without trying them on he said ânoâ but I donât think he got the connection.
Anyhow, so were at the Pyramids and weâve already been up close to them and I walked all the way around the big one, (just to make sure it was real) it was about a mile, maybe.
We went up to a lookout point where all of the camel jockeys were hanging out (really, there were all the guys that rode camels) and they started badgering me to go for a ride on a camel.
George went ahead and had his picture taken with a camel. George is on the right.
The guy is like âHey Joe, come on, ride my camel.â I said âno thanks.â And he goes, â Come on, I have very nice camel, he will treat you rightâ
Me: âNo, thatâs ok.â
Camel guy: âYouâre going to hurt his feelingsâ
Me: âWell, Iâm sure heâll get over it.â
Camel Guy âOkay, no ride, take pictureâ
Me: âOk, give me your camera and stand by your camel.â
Camel Guy âNo, no, no, I take picture of youâ
Me: âOh, thatâs ok, I have plenty pictures of me.â
Camel Guy: âOk, then with my daughter.â
Me: âNo, thatâs ok I donât want to ride your daughter.â
At this point the friendly banter changed tones. I hadnât noticed the teenager wearing the belly dancer outfit standing on the other side of the camels. Apparently riding his daughter was not something he thought was funny, at all.
I was walking away at this point when I noticed the silence which was followed by the pounding of sandals coming up quickly from behind me. I instinctively ducked to my right just as the tip of a camel whip grazed my temple. The camel guy had come unglued. The other camel jockeys had heard my comment regarding his daughter and now his families honor was at stake. I thought he was joking about having a daughter. Well, about the time I figured out what was going on he was charging me again with one of those wicked curved blades.
Now, I donât consider myself a hairy-breasted man of action and Iâm a firm believer in flight before fight if at all possible but about the time the camel guy started after me, all of his buddies surrounded us. If I didnât do something I was going to get carved up like an Egyptian mummy.
He lunged at me with the blade and I was able to grab his arm and give him a firm, loud slap upside his head. This of course caused his comrades to start throwing insults at him which simply enraged him all the more.
As he started for me the next time I did something that none of them expected, I reared up on one leg like the Karate Kid. This got all of the crowd laughing. They had clearly seen the Karate Kid and new this was a ridiculous move. The camel guy thought this was his opportunity and flicked at my face with his camel whip. It was at this time that I realized the Karate Kid thing may have been a mistake. As he flicked the whip at my face I tried to deflect it with my hand. Which instead of deflecting the whip got caught in itsâ wicked sinews and pulled me completely off balance.
What ensued could only be described as a sinister dog pile.
As I fell I struck out with my fists and feet, catching three or four of the startled onlookers who saw this as their opportunity to get back at America.
I threw all conventional fighting to the wind. I was in a battle for my life and at the time it felt like it was me against all of the Middle East.
I kicked and scratched, I threw dirt whenever I touched it, I gouged and bit and snarled like an enraged beast. As I thrust my fists into the soft tissue of whoever was near me I would grope for something to gouge or grab. Iâm sure that more than a few wives were going to be left alone for quite some time after this fracas.
Instinctively I kept my head down; making sure that my jugular wasnât to be severed by one of them wicked looking speculums or whatever they called those vicious gleaming blades. The adrenalin was blasting through my system like a geyser when all at once I realized that I was basically spinning in a circle by myself. I had staved off my attackers, for the time being, and worked myself into a cloud of dust.
I stood there, blood dripping down my arms and face, some mine mostly others; clenching a handful of dirt in one hand and the remains of some poor bastards beard in the other. At this time I felt no pain, no aching shoulders or back. Nothing but rage emanated from my normally calm and subdued countenance.
I must say, while this display was certainly more than my assailants had counted on, they were not ready to call it a day; in fact it looked like more had arrived on the scene since the brawl began. The circle around me was now two or three men thick. Mostly locals but there were some tourists in the mix. Clicking pictures as fast as they could, no doubt planning on posting them on some silly web site.
While I had bested the first batch either physically or mentally they were clearly not going to let me get out of this alive. When all was said and done it would be easy enough to tie me to a camel and drag me into the desert never to be seen again. I realized all of this in the seconds following their retreat and decided I needed to get out of there.
Thatâs when I caught a break. Remember how I told you about the prayer being blasted throughout the city four or five times a day? Well, they blasted it out by the pyramids too!
All of a sudden the prayer started sounding and all of these good Muslims dropped to their knees and started praying.
Imagine that, me a non-believer, saved by prayer!
I didnât wait a second; half a dozen quick steps and I leapt across the people in the circle. I was never good at track and field events but today I was a long jump master. I hit the ground running and was able to jump onto the rack of a nearby tourist bus that was heading back to town.
My traveling companions had obviously left me for dead, I couldnât blame them. Iâm sure, had the crowd bested me, they would have turned on them next.
I made my way to the Cairo museum and rejoined the tour group. I washed off in one of the fountains, a guard tried to stop me but I snarled at him like he was trying to take my bone and he let me be.
The museum was cool. Saw King Tutankhamen and a bunch of other stuff.
Went back to the hotel and had a pizza. We left early the next morning headed for the U.S.
Well, thatâs pretty much my trip report. It took me almost a year to get it finished so I might have confused some of the details but I can honestly say that I wrote it exactly like I remember it.
If you made it this far, my hatâs off to you and thanks for reading.