Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff– Rosemary Mahoney

As a kid, I was fascinated by Ancient Egypt. The history, the culture, the belief system, everything! (I will not confirm nor deny that I made my own form of hieroglyphics and was obsessed with the Mummy movies.) So, when this book, Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff kept popping up as a must read, I was excited that my literary journey was taking me to Egypt next.


Down the Nile is the journey of one woman who wants to buy a boat and row down the Nile alone. She faces numerous struggles, especially finding someone that her a boat. But, the book is so much more than this. It’s a crossroads of Egyptian history, contemporary culture, and Mahoney’s personal journey. The way she intertwines each of these dimensions into her story makes this read interesting and quick to read.


One of my favorite aspects of this book is the female lead. It gives this story a depth or an angle that wouldn’t be there if it was a male lead. Mahoney combines the challenges solo female travelers face, and how the gender inequality in Egypt amplified these challenges. I’ve personally never done a solo trip, but I could still relate to different experiences she had.


I was pleasantly surprised the book didn’t take place at all in Cairo, but in the smaller village of Aswan. I won’t lie, i was a little hesitant to read a book that didn’t take place in the capital city, the city that I knew most about. But honestly, this setting was so much better. Travelling is so different when you step outside the city! (I’m sure I’ll elaborate more on this idea when I talk more about some of my own travel adventures. Hint hint: Cuba!)


Let me wrap up, like I’ll probably end up doing at the end of each of these posts. Would I recommend this book? ABSOLUTELY. Does this book make me want to go to Egypt? It really does!



♦♦ Culture Bit: Egypt is Everywhere ♦♦

One thing Mahoney mentioned was how Egypt was everywhere, specifically naming some places in France such as the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, aka two places I visited when I was living in Paris. The first photo below is of a Sphinx hosted in the Louvre. I don’t have my own picture of Place de la Concorde, but I do vividly remember getting off the metro stop and popping up near this square when I was on the way to the doctor. (What a story!) I also remember going to an some Egyptian culture exhibit at the Buffalo Science Museum when I was 10?
Living in DC has also presented some symbols of Egypt in my daily life. First, the Washington Monument is an obelisk, which were popular in Egyptian architecture. Secondly, I live in Alexandria, right near the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. (Second picture below is of the memorial.) This building was designed after the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria.





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