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October 12, 2002
How To Make The Most Of Your Felucca Experience
The first thing I suggest is go at night, around 8:00. The sun will have set and the whole city of Cairo will be lit up, and the city looks much more impressive at night. This will also put you on the boat around dinner time and you can enjoy a nice picnic on the boat. I suggest you stop by your local Ta'amiyya (like falafel) or Koshari (a noodle and rice dish made with grilled onions and tomato sauce). You can get a good meal of ta'amiyya and koshari for less than $1, making for a super budgeted, but tasty, picnic. Make sure to bring some for your captain too as they will greatly appreciate it.
A good price will be around 15 LE an hour, but you may find ones pushing 40 LE. You are a agnabi (foreigner) and you will be given a higher price from the start, most likely. Just be firm on your price, 15 LE. Tell him the price is very fair. You should be able to bring the captain down to your level. If the lowest he goes is 20 LE, just take it. It really isn't worth arguing over $1 and it is likely he could use that $1 more than you, but still I would never pay more than 20 LE. Also note that the number of people should not matter at all and is not a reason to get charged more.
Another way to enjoy a felucca is by bringing along your own music. Most of the captains have tape players, CDs very rarely, and so if you bring along some tapes they will gladly play them, or if you have your own CD player with speakers, bring that. Although, if you want to cruise on the Nile and listen to some authentic Arab music, the captain should have plenty and will be more than happy to play it.
In terms of time, an hour and a half is enough. If you are in a rush, you will still have a pleasant trip in an hour, and if you really want to relax, try two hours. Again, the longer you go, the more flexible the captain will be on the price, but an hour and half should suffice.
So whether you want a nice romantic evening with a loved one, or a relaxing night with friends, a felucca ride cannot be beat. The views from the Nile are spectacular, and if you go at night, bring something that will keep you warm - it gets chilly on the water at night, and there usually is a good breeze. Happy sailing!
From journal A Year In Cairo
Ann Arbor, Michigan
January 13, 2002
The driver (would he be a captian?) will turn on some light music, and off you go! The ride will last as long as you like, we choose to be out for an hour.
You get a chance to relax and see a little of the coast.
From journal Cairo Sweet Cairo