Heron on the Nile
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  Turbulent Times Mawlid Mon 18 Apr 2005  

Mon 18 Apr

Na'faj evening class has no takers in the first 30 minutes so I declare it cancelled and go for a swim instead. For a change I go to El Gamiya further downstream. It has more of a sandy beach and less silky silt. But the current is much stronger here, if you put your feet down you have to lean at quite an angle to stop yourself being pushed off balance. Today there's also a breeze blowing upstream so it's quite choppy. From the river I see a blue sailing boat with red trimming guided by a guy in long, yellow, football shorts. It's looking lovely in the sunset glow one to remember.

After various parties this is truly Helen's last night. Amani and Sahar come over and together we wander around Mawlid the Mohamed's Birthday celebration in the park. It's a kind of mix between Womad (flags, drums, chanting) and Spring Harvest (join in with anything you like so long as it is worship). There are people everywhere, hawkers trying to sell inflatable animals (we already have a leopard thank-you) and stalls with sugary halva in all different colours.

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