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The pandemic seriously restricted our social life and daily routines. Online shopping, dining in, Netflix-bingeing and virtual meet-ups have become the norm. But I’m happy to note that the art world is still very much vibrant and many artists — forced to stay home and finding more time to indulge in their art — have drawn inspiration from everyday life otherwise taken for granted.

While we stayed home much of the time, we haven’t given up on the stuff we enjoy doing. Thank God our neighbourhood is lined with deli shops, restos, bar joints, art galleries, furniture shops and not too far away, specialty home decor shops where one can spend entire afternoons. Our white walls are now adorned with newly-framed artworks which made trips to our favorite framer so very pleasurable. The art galleries are such a delight to visit and the adjacent coffee and snack bars provide interesting breaks. The alley we frequent even boast of resident cats who’ve since become attractions of the place. Now, here’s one area where feline and human creatures seem to live in true harmony amidst all the beautiful artworks. Swell.

Eating out is restricted to only a few establishments which we found to be safely observing health protocols. But eating in is no less satisfying. We even sourced some of our dinners from our favourite restos as food deliveries have become our new normal. One lovely discovery is the joy of enjoying good meals without worrying about finding a parking slot nor of having to drive home. The convenience beats worries of prepping for meals and washing the dishes. Over time, we’ve grown accustomed to serving the food in their delivered state” to do away with stuff filling our kitchen sink. No big deal, really.

While we have since started brewing our coffee and creating our cocktails at home, we didn’t miss out on sitting in outdoor cafes and bars if only to immerse ourselves in the ambiance of shooting the breeze, so to speak. Besides, it’s really nice to sit it out for some beverages after being on one’s feet in the many neighbouring art galleries. The pandemic may have reduced the visiting crowd but certainly not the interest and enthusiasm of the few who come. Online shopping for art may be the new norm but a serious collector would still want to view such creations up close and personal. There comes also this newfound respect for young artists as one observes how their art evolved through this rough period.


Life under quarantine. The new normal. Covid times. Social Distancing. These describe our present situation. No one was prepared for it. As the situation unfolded, acceptance of such reality took time. Unless and until lockdowns were put in place, flights may have gone on, dine-outs and parties pursued, get-togethers and meet-ups going non-stop. After 9 months, people have adapted to the more restrictive lifestyle. Zoom meetings replaced physical meet-ups. Online masses rather than actual trips to the church. Even weddings are via zoom. It’s a chore to go to the salon for haircuts and beauty treatments. Online shopping is doing brisk business. Same goes with food deliveries. So, how are we surviving?

We’re saving a lot of money making our own coffee. And it’s an adventure to try different beans and pods. Three coffee machines occupy space in my tiny studio and the first decision for the day is which machine to run. Our “Manang” regularly checks YouTube for baking lessons and her repertoire now includes bread, cakes and pies. More savings! The fragrant aroma wafting from the kitchen may have inspired the resident artist to paint for her 2 solo exhibits last April and October, and a couple more group exhibits she joined. Though few and far between, the light traffic encouraged me to drive again — just short trips to the tiny, boutique art galleries in the neighbourhood before or after meals in some outdoor cafe. At home, we have also grown experimental with our cocktails. And Netflix has become a way of life for us.

We’ve adapted reasonably well, but I do miss meeting my friends for lunch or coffee. More than that, I miss my travels and trips to the beauty and massage parlours. I get by with drive-thru bloodworks and medical consultations via Zoom but I do miss my regular visits to my dentist! And because of the restrictions, day-outs are very infrequent but absolutely treasured. My smiles come really cheap whenever I step out of the house with either family or with friends. We’ve also rediscovered the joy in joyrides! Yet again, a new routine has emerged and my daily life is truly nothing to complain about. Our only anxieties are health-related but our paranoia has dwindled down without being reckless. A few more months, maybe. Or perhaps a year or so. We’d all manage. We can overcome this!

Is That It for 2020?


I rested 5 whole months for my recent trip to Egypt. Between October 2019 to February 2020, I dutifully and patiently heeded doctor’s and family’s “orders” to stay put and take it easy. If you’ve been following this site, you know that I enjoy being out, whether with friends or going solo for some adventures here or there. Like arriving in the morning from an international trip, and leaving in the afternoon for yet another. Or deciding to stay in one place, alone, while the rest of your traveling buddies fly home. Even while in Manila, I’d troop to Binondo just to walk aimlessly after spending a few hours in the museum. I’d enjoy a cup of coffee while digesting a book, or just simply walking around BGC. I could have made a career walking dogs and end up with truly happy canines. It has been 5 weeks now since we arrived from Egypt. We’ve booked ourselves for trips to South America this July and Europe this October. Plus I’ve booked our holiday cribs with family this August-September. Is it happening?

Karnak Temple inLuxor, Egypt
Hot-Air Balloon Over the Valley of the Kings

The year 2019 (and the years before that) was full of adventures until the last quarter. The “break” was a painful reminder that health matters and that TIME is precious. I learned the first lesson the hard way and the 2nd lesson in time to celebrate life and friendships as gifts. In these COVID-19 times, we are made even more aware of these 2 gifts. The quarantine makes us miss a lot of things, but it has also made us appreciate a lot more. People and stuff we were blessed with but took for granted. Life lessons? Perhaps.

I have lived in a condominium the last 30 years but hardly found time to chat up my neighbors. These days, I see them doing their morning walks around the pool while I take my coffee. Late afternoons, I see the kids and now get curious whose children they are and which units they live in. I take delight seeing them kids try crafting a thousand paper cranes, believing their wish will come true with the 1,000th origami crane. I’ve also been talking more to our dog as if he understands every word as I sip the cocktails concocted by my Nieta. I reminisced over my travel memories and wonder what the rest of the year holds. Bookings have been made for 3 trips but I’ve long stopped worrying if they’re happening or not. I have also stopped worrying when this pandemic will be over. There are reasons why this is all happening now. There’s a new normal and all that matters now is how we spend our precious time and how we keep ourselves healthy to enjoy this time.

And so we’ve formed some kind of daily routine to deal with this quarantined way of life. I still long going out for coffee with friends but now realize my coffee machines (I switch between the 2 😊) give me good brews and I can enjoy my cuppa while chatting up my friends over cyberspace. I miss my happy hours with some buddies but realize that my Nieta can whip up a good cocktail for me. My late post-dinner evenings are spent with 2 young adults who now keep me company and liven up my otherwise quiet nocturnal nights. I sleep late with these young adults ( bad, bad) to the consternation of their parents and aunts. But happy hours have extended into happy nights and I think that’s what make it precious. That sofa bed? It’s more a bed and hardly folded back as a sofa now. The siblings bond long after their abuela hits the sack. After all, they never shared a room until now. Happy times amidst a crisis? Not really. The sad news still bother us but we’ve learned to live from day to day and try to worry less. We’re coping and dealing with this pandemic the best way we can. Much is beyond our control and we’ve accepted that. I do not know why this is happening but I’m sure we’d all come off it with a new appreciation of what’s truly important in this world. 🙏


A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

Aswan. As Two.


The last stretch. Done with the Pyramids. The “major” temples. The Nile River Cruise. Back to the city now. Aswan. Checking out the spices and essentials oils plus some Nubian jewellery, arts and crafts. And yes, just a few more historical sites to do as day trips before really “settling” in Aswan. Like Gebel El Silsila, the sandstone quarry site sitting at that narrowest point of the River Nile. Quite an adventure here as our guide led us through mounds, climbing up some rugged path to emerge on a cliff overlooking the entire quarry site. I wasn’t prepared to climb up and told our guide I don’t feel confident after seeing it’s by the cliff edge. He said assuredly that he’d assist, offering his hand. Grabbed his hand and while I was deciding whether to go with my left or right foot first, he promptly pulled me up. Voila! By the time he pulled back his hand, I was left with no choice but to go on fours to reach the top. It was a short climb but I felt funny doing it. 😂

That’s moí leading the seniors 😂

As the ancient Egyptian builders switched from limestone to sandstone, Gebel El Silsilah met the stone requirements of the Theban temples. Like nearby Kom Ombo, this quarry site’s principal deity is Sobek, the crocodile god. More than just a quarry site, there were also rock-cut tombs and crypts discovered here. While larger boats cruising the Nile offer only a fleeting glimpse of this site, our Dahabiya (sailboat) slowdrifted and actually stopped to unload us here. Having visited the Karnak Temple earlier, one wonders how the massive stone blocks were quarried and then transported from here. My, these Egyptians!

Then there’s the unfinished obelisk in Aswan. Cracked and abandoned, this obelisk would have been the largest in Ancient Egypt if only it stood at 140 feet in height. The giant unfinished monument lying on a bed of granite is now an open air museum where scientists and Egyptologists can study how the ancient Egyptians constructed obelisks. Because it is right in Aswan, there were more than the usual tourists we found in other attractions.

Not far from our (huge) sprawling hotel complex in Isis Island is the Mausoleum of Aga Khan. Yes, Aga Khan — that celebrated imam who also happens to be dad-in-law to a Hollywood actor, Rita Hayworth. The elegant tomb looks more like a mosque along the banks of the Nile viewed from our hotel. Why was Imam Khan buried here? It is reported that he spent many winters here in Aswan until he died in 1957. His wife, who died in 2000, was also buried here. Although not open to the public, the couple’s winter Villa is located within the mausoleum gardens.

We found time to visit the Nubian Museum in Aswan. Nubia is now present-day Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. In the ancient times, Nubia was Egypt’s supply chain for gold. Today, “Nubia” has become popular as a girl’s name. It has Egyptian origin and actually means “gold”. How so apt! The Museum building is an architectural beauty, and the many artefacts and antiquities inside is a good prelude to understanding Nubian history, culture and civilization. Amazing how these ancient kingdoms were so way ahead of their times! Heady with Nubian thoughts — hey, it takes awhile to let all that history to sink in — we ended our day with an end-of-holiday visit to the Coptic Cathedral and some retail therapy in spices and essential oils bazaar. Don’t you agree most holidays end this way?


Back in 1996, I blew the chance to visit Abu Simbel. I was on the last stretch of my 38-day holiday and I’ve grown tired of temples and shrines. Although I found the idea romantic — dismantling not one but 2 temples, and reassembling them on a higher hill to make way for the Aswan Dam construction back in the 1960’s — I wasn’t lured to make the visit. I was truly exhausted, and suffering from temple fatigue then. Or perhaps just travel fatigue. After 30 days, I was really longing to be home and found my tired self struggling with the last leg of the trip. But not this time. I was ready for Abu Simbel. I didn’t take the buggy ride to the temples and instead walked with the others. The path offers a view of the Nile River and the temples were hidden from view from the entrance. We passed a paved path crossing a rugged terrain. Behind the mounds and soon after a bend, Abu Simbel stood in all its majesty. After having survived the last 3,000 years some meters below, Abu Simbel looks like it’s always stood where it is now. There were other temples rescued from the rising waters of the Nile, but none more dramatic than this. Short of a miracle, you might say.

It was an engineering feat. Built in 1244 BC, the 2 temples were carved out of the side of a mountain. The Pharaoh Ramses II immortalised himself with not one, not two, but 4 colossal seated statues measuring 21 meters tall. Above these 4 deified statues of Egypt’s greatest and long-reigning Pharaoh, were statues of sun-worshipping baboons. Most interestingly and impressively, the entranceways catch the sunlight twice a year in such a way that it beams straight into the temple sanctuary’s seated statues. The dates are October 22 and February 22, both of which hold special meaning to me. Of course, I won’t forget. 😊 I can just imagine the crowd here as both locals and tourists witness the phenomenon. Too bad we missed February 22 by a week. Sob. 😢

The smaller temple is not exactly small. Built for the Pharaoh’s favorite Queen Nefertari but dedicated to Goddess Hathur, the 6 statues gracing the front in between the buttresses measured 10 meters each. Of the 6, the 2 statues were of the Queen and the rest of Ramses II. Imagine what an arduous task it was to relocate these temples 64 meters higher and 180 meters west of the original site. Even more interesting is the fact that this site is actually beyond the Aswan border and technically part of Nubia, resting by the southern border to present-day Sudan. Having said that, the site selection only goes to prove the might of Ramses II. Undoubtedly, he built all these monuments to flaunt such might, Egypt’s wealth and his “affinity” with the gods. Truly, a powerful image to convey who’s in charge. Quite a character, methinks. 🙄

After the visit, I couldn’t fathom how I didn’t feel compelled to visit 24 years ago. The rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel is an engineering wonder and even by themselves, one can’t help but be impressed-amused by this king’s stab at immortality. Even the image of the Egyptian sun god Ra in front is dwarfed by the colossal likenesses of Ramses II, with his Queen sculpted like tiny dolls beside his legs and his princesses between. This glaring glimpse into Ramses II’s ambition and self-importance may have supported this building spree during his long reign. Thankfully for us, these monuments survived through hell and high waters (pun intended) for many generations to appreciate this important segment of history.

Sailing, Without Care


It sounds nearly arrogant to say “Been here; done that” but I must confess that the enthusiasm before this trip wasn’t at par with my first visit in 1996. Just the same, being with friends give it a whole new dimension and in particular, I looked forward to sailing, without care, just chilling. It didn’t matter if I were to miss some sites included in our offshore excursions. I’ve seen them before and doubt if much has changed since. But I’m curious to just sail, watching life unfold. Slowly. Unhurriedly. And with my time-tested travel buddies. Besides, this is my first trip in 5 months and I’m eager to travel again. Anywhere.

Back in 1996, it was hot and humid with temps hitting high 40’s in May. This time, it’s cool during the day at 15-22C and even cooler as the sun sets and the wind blows. February is a good month to visit Egypt. And having this riverboat all to ourselves clinches the fun element of this trip. Our group of 16 would go up the deck to read, chat, drink and eat — donned in bathrobes — and just while away the time in between the 2 activities slated for each day. Each activity is a lesson in ancient history, just enough to stimulate our mental faculties. And a bit of physical exertion, just to check if those sweat glands are still functioning. Ahem.

Life by the riverbank varies by the season. When I first visited, summer meant watching children play, swim and bathe in the Nile. It was also teeming with wildlife especially cattle while some fisherfolks are busy sinking their hooks. This winter, there is hardly any activity along the Nile except for those feluccas doing business ferrying passengers crossing the river, or going to riverside restaurants. It gets even busier come sundown when tourists go for sunset rides on sailboats. Curiously, there are also the more enterprising boatmen selling wares to cruisers like us. Right there along the Nile. They’d say “hello, hello” at the top of their lungs while we’re at the deck. As we look down, they display their wares and manage to toss up their goods for our scrutiny. The haggling begins and some minutes later, hard currencies are dropped. Swell.

Cruising clears one’s mind of many cobwebs. Just watching the scenery change ever so slowly puts one’s spirit at rest. It’s like a movie set in slow motion. In the beginning, I’d claim a corner up in the deck and say my prayers. Attempts at meditation. But the ever solicitous staff and your travel companions can easily engage you any moment. So I had my quiet moments inside my cabin instead, staring out the wide window by the bed watching Nile life unfold and while enjoying the melodious ripple of the water as the sailboat slowly sliced forward. How precious. On this trip, I slept a good 3 hours earlier than my usual past midnight knock off. I haven’t done that in a very long time. Aaaaahhhh, the sweet life!


Back in 1996, I was floored by how majestic, massive and impressive those temples in Karnak and Luxor were. But no less awesome are the smaller (only in comparison with the 2) temples dedicated to Horus, Sobek and Isis. Our riverboat docked long enough for us to disembark and engage in our solitary morning and afternoon activities while preserving that chill mode reserved for Nile Boat cruisers 🥰.

Temple of Horus. Edfu.

Our boat reached Edfu where we took horse-drawn carriages that brought us to the Temple of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. The temple roof is intact, thus rendering this temple dedicated to the falcon god as one of best-preserved monuments in Egypt. Built from 237 to 57 BC, it took 180 years to construct under various Ptolemaic rulers. It was buried in 40 feet of desert sand and river silt for centuries until 1860 when work began to free the temple of the sands that helped preserve it. The “writings on the wall” certainly aided in our understanding the history of Ancient Egypt including details on the temple’s construction and rituals practiced then. It may not be as grand and large as Karnak and Luxor Temples, but it is nearly “complete” in its preserved state especially with the hydroglyphic inscriptions on the columns and walls, the monumental gates, the inner and outer Hypostyle Halls, a library, a laboratory (like how to formulate those essential oils and perfumes used during rituals), a forecourt and courtyard, chapels, a treasury, a sanctuary, more vestibules and a Nilometer. Impressive piece of ancient Egyptian architecture!

Kom Ombo Temple

The Temple in Kom Ombo is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek. Likewise built during the Ptolemaic dynasty, this was really a double temple in Aswan. Aside from Sobek, the northern part of the temple is dedicated to the falcon god Horus. Unlike the Temple of Horus in Edfu, this one is not as preserved as some parts were damaged by Nile floodwaters and earthquakes. Thankfully, a few of the crocodile mummies were rescued and now on display at the Crocodile Museum. Interestingly, this temple area is exactly how I remembered it when I first visited 24 years ago except for the Crocodile Museum. The latter may be a recent discovery and addition.

Temple of Isis Philae
Trajan’s Kiosk

We took another boat to reach this temple dedicated to Isis. Originally set in Philae Island, it now actually stands on the island of Agilkia. Why? Philae Island was constantly flooded leaving the temples submerged up to a third of the buildings. UNESCO began the project to relocate it to higher ground in 1960. All that work cleaning, dismantling and thereafter reinstalling some 40,000 units of the temples from Philae to Agilkia Island just some 500 meters away. What a feat! Surely, Isis is the goddess of magic and life. (Trivia: Osiris and Isis are the parents of Horus, the falcon god. The two are also brother and sister. Hmmmm. The gods must be above the law on incest.)

The Ancient Temples of Luxor


From the pyramids of Giza to the temples in Upper Nile, these ancient wonders make up Egypt’s history, inheritance and legacy. Unfinished or abandoned projects give a glimpse of how they were made but to this day, the unsolved mysteries still hound the construction of the pyramids, the mix of colours and dyes used, and the mummification process perfected in the ancient world. Questions remain unanswered, and many theories abound. The mysteries remain and such make it all the more compelling to go and visit this land of the Pharaohs.

It is amazing how these monuments withstood the test of time. Like how does one even begin to appreciate how these stones were quarried, dragged and installed 4,000 years ago? And why did they stop making pyramids? Not that those royal tombs in the necropolis comprising the Valley of the Kings is less grand, nor something to complain about. Karnak and Luxor Temples are so grand, one needs to devote a full day just visiting these 2. We were in luck to have a good guide provided by Aggressor River Cruises for the next 6 days and 5 nights as we cruised along the Nile River. Having done this 24 years ago sailing from Aswan to Luxor, I dare say it’s even better sailing south from Luxor to further Upper Nile (Aswan). Luxor is a highlight — and thus a good start — what with both Karnak and Luxor Temples welcoming every guest to this state’s ancient and grand wonders. These Pharaohs do an “overkill” by super sizing every temple, obelisk, royal tomb, and statue. What’s even more amazing is how they’ve dragged, carved and installed every boulder to make these monuments. Majestic even sounds lame to describe them.

No wonder Egyptologists like our guide Mahmoud comprise some of the more interesting persons on this planet. They regale us with these historical tidbits and scientific trivia with such dramatic flair that make our jaws drop. Dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu, Karnak claims to be the biggest religious complex in the world. Even bigger than Angkor Wat. The Cambodians may disagree. But where Angkor Wat is a sprawling temple complex, Karnak is an open air museum consisting of sanctuaries, pylons, obelisks and kiosks built over a long period of 1,500 years by generations of pharaohs, each wanting to leave their mark. Between Karnak And Luxor Temples is the Avenue of Sphinxes — an incredible line of human headed sphinxes spanning 3 kilometers. There is a project to renovate this entire sphinxes avenue connecting these 2 majestic temples. That will be the day! This is why I feel it is best to start the Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan. The Theban temples of Karnak and Luxor alone can blow one’s mind and inundate you with so much historical trivia. You just can’t take it all in in one go. And if you must take home a souvenir, go ahead and buy that book or CD.

The entire necropolis that makes up the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Nobles reinforces the might of the Pharaohs . The hot air balloon ride allowed us the “big picture” as we hovered that early morning over the necropolis including the Temple of Hatshepsut. Who is Hatshepsut? Depicted often as a male, Hatshepsut is really one of the few but the most famous female pharaohs of Egypt. Born to King Tutmose I, Hatshepsut managed to gain power as a ruling Pharaoh when she married her half brother Tutmose II who inherited her father’s throne in 1492 BC. When Tutmose II died and left the throne to his infant son Tutmose III (with another wife), Hatshepsut acted as Regent and ruled Egypt. In many paintings and statues, Hatshepsut sought to reinvent herself as she was depicted with a beard and muscled arms like a male pharaoh. Her mortuary temple at the foot of the limestone cliffs of Deir El Bahri is the most impressive (and admission ticket most expensive). Truly one of the best monuments of Egypt, it looks majestic viewed inside as well as outside.

Have a go at Luxor and immerse yourselves in its awesome temples for Egyptian gods and man-gods. Try the hot air balloon (it’s cheaper than those flying in Turkey, Tanzania and Myanmar) and spend extra days to take it all in slowly. Get a good guide. An Egyptologist. Go ahead and book that Nile Cruise. There is so much to explore and learn from a single visit to Egypt and one rule to observe is to give it enough time. Never rush it.


Just 5 nights on this chartered boat sailing from Luxor to Aswan. Offshore excursions included. Karnak and Luxor Temples. Valley of the Kings. Temple of Hatshepsut. El Kab. Edfu. Kom Ombo. Temple of Isis in Philae. All these as we glide through the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. And while sailing, unli food and unli drinks. The 8 cabins good for 16 pax are not big but good-sized and kept clean and neat. Then there’s the salon where we can choose to dine when it turns really cold, and the deck where most meals are served. A lounge for cocktail hours, a jacuzzi, beer and soda ref, coffee and tea stations. Good food, and even better service. What a treat! This is most certainly my kind of holiday.

The boat’s engine runs to make life comfortable for all 16 of us. Well-appointed, air-conditioned rooms. Hot coffee & tea. Cold bevs and hot meals. Good music and adequate lighting. A tugboat pulls us across the River Nile and the splash we make as we glide through the Nile is a symphony we’d likely miss once we get off. How nice to wake up to catch sunrise and enjoy wine or beer as we wait for sunset. A few hours in the morn and another after lunch make up our offshore excursions. Just enough activities for each day. Even more time to enjoy each other’s company on the boat. Life seems slow, unhurried, and savoured. The way it should be.

Captain is a kindly 56 year old Egyptian who has a younger brother also working on the boat. We don’t know what the younger Ibrahim does but we all remember him as the young lad with good dance moves when we feel like turning after-dinner sessions into dancing parties. Where we shake left to right, Ibrahim’s extra moves tilts up and down while swaying left to right. The Chefs cook up real good meals and have good dancing feet too! Same goes for Mandouh who is forever charming us with his stories on his 7 year old twins and always beat us with his keen sense of anticipation of what we need. A vodka here, some toast, more desserts, another glass of wine. To feel spoiled and pampered is an understatement. These men made us feel so comfortable and truly took good care of us.

This isn’t my first time cruising the Nile. Back in ‘96, we sailed on a bigger boat M/S Oberoi from Aswan to Luxor . Meals and service excellent but nothing beats having the boat all to yourselves. Besides, it wasn’t an open bar back then. Our Tour Guide sailed with us too and Mahmoud is a gem of a guide. He doesn’t mind us calling him “Superman”, by the way. His spiel had just the right amount of information laced with just enough excitement to keep us interested. Never too much info to douse our interest or give us indigestion over too much historical facts. This guy knows his stuff.

Over the 6 days and 5 nights cruising the Nile, Mahmoud’s itinerary covered the same spots I’ve visited 24 years ago, plus a couple more which I particularly enjoyed. El Kab and the Sandstone Quarry of Gebel Al Silsilah are worthy sites to visit along the Nile. I am including the link to our boat’s website for those who are planning to do a River Nile Cruise. We still have 2 nights to go on this riverboat cruise but this comes with our recommendation. We are that confident it can only get better! (https://www.divenewswire.com/aggressor-announces-new-brand-aggressor-river-cruises-with-the-nile-queen/)