Friday, June 8, 2012

Ghastly Nile River cruise entertainment

Nile River cruise boat

i paid $40 to a hotel-based travel agency to go on a Nile River dinner cruise. This is exorbitantly expensive in a place where local meals cost about $1 and full-day guided tours with car and driver cost just $40 as well. The selling points, they described, was a big meal and 4 types of entertainment: Arabic music, English music, Whirling Dervishes and a belly dancer.

Well, the meal turned out to be pretty good - reminded me of a high quality wedding banquet. But the entertainment was horrendous:

The Arabic music was sung by a college-aged kid in street clothes. i don't know anything about this music, maybe he was a savant, i have no idea.

The English music turned out to be a middle-aged chubby guy with a comb-over literally doing skaraoke to Santana songs.

Then the Whirling Dervishes. These performances are constantly promoted wherever the Arabian world gets tourists. The Dervishes are men that wear fancy costumes and long flowing skirts that twirl around and around in the pursuit of spiritual ecstasy, as taught by the Sufi mystic Rumi. From what i'd seen in photos, they perform this in large groups for audiences. On the cruise, however, there were just two of them. One Dervish was the Egyptian version of Cam from Modern Family.
The other one was a mongoloid midget (no joke.) (He danced/whirled precisely as well as you'd imagine he would.)

Somehow, in hindsight, i'm glad that photos were not allowed.

The captain (sorta) at the wheel, seen from the front of the boat.
At this point i realized that i did not have to sit there and subject myself to this. The boat had a roof deck so i went up stairs to the open-air deck, went to the front of the boat and had a really great, silent time, just being aware that i was floating on the Nile. But after a good amount of time, a couple of couples each wandered into my space. And i got curious about the belly dancer.

i went back downstairs into that crowd of mostly Arabian and, for some reason, Indian people and found a fat old lady belly dancing on the dance floor, and i thought, "THAT is their idea of a belly dancer?!?" But then i realized that was just a random old Arabian lady gettin' down. The busty, not-quite-Egyptian-looking belly dancer was shoving bald guys' heads between her nearly bare boobs while a staff photographer snapped pictures.

Realizing she was working the room, and anticipating the pushy sales pitch to buy the photos that would surely follow, i bounced and went back up stairs. At that point i realized the silence of the Nile was better than anything that could possibly be happening in the cruise entertainment!

The view of Cairo from the Nile greatly surprised me for how modern it appeared. There was a lot of boat traffic, but it was basically peaceful and beautiful and worth the trip for that.

Nile River Cruise view of Cairo.
All photos by the author.

34 comments:

  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  9. i am amused by this bunch of you aiming for free advertising for your river cruises on my blog. Your decision to advertise on a post about a "ghastly" river cruise leads me to believe that either your entertainment also includes dancing mongoloid midgets (in which case you should mention that specifically, i think there may really be a niche market out there for you) or that your business is really quite desperate. Given these choices, and since i wish you the best, i will hope and assume that your situation is the former and not the latter;-)

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