My best memory of Egypt was made on the banks of The Nile, one chilly April evening.
We pull our felucca onto the banks of The Nile at dusk. Our chores are to gather firewood and build a latrine as the first mate cooks up dinner on the deck.
Time is of the essence, we are loosing light.
We finish just in time to enjoy our delicious homemade meal by candlelight. And, as always, it is followed by a shisha session – and on this evening, a cold beer.
We quickly build a fire on the banks, which begins to draw local interest. At first, our visitors are merely shadows in the distance. And slowly but surely, they make their way to the fire’s circle.
Our felucca captain emerges with a drum, and is joined by other local gentlemen who begin to drum and sing, and soon enough every one of us is singing and dancing and getting lost in the moment – a campfire party (kitchen party where I am from) has erupted on the banks of The Nile.
A group of strangers – Egyptians, Nubians, Canadians, English, New Zealanders – coming together in a magic moment of song and dance without any cultural, linguistic or class barriers.
We look around at each other, smiling. At one point, Patrick looks at me and says quietly, ‘This is really special, isn’t it?’ Special. Absolutely. Without question, a moment to remember.
Later that night I find myself sitting with Mohammad passing the shisha and I ask, ‘Be honest, how often does this happen?’
He shakes his head and exhales a plume of white smoke into the night air. ‘I’ve never seen it happen before,’ he says.
Not scripted. Not bought. Not orchestrated. A beautiful organic moment in time. A cherished memory.
As the night draws to a close, two local teenage village boys run from the fireside, jump on their donkeys and gallop off into the darkness. By far, the best exit from a party I have ever witnessed.
The night, by far, my best memory of Egypt.