Not comprehending my wish to row myself down the river alone, well-meaning Egyptian men, I knew, would try to stop me or, alternatively, would offer a crippling degree of help. And so, as I began my search for an Egyptian rowboat, I resolved to take a slightly Fabian approach, to move slowly, evade questions, and tell no one exactly what it was that I wanted to do.
* According to Herodotus, an Egyptian sandstorm could be bad enough to bury an entire army. The Persian King Cambyses sent fifty thousand men into the desert, "but," Herodotus wrote, "they never returned . . . As they were at their midday meal, a wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops, and caused them wholly to disappear."
Copyright © 2007 by Rosemary Mahoney
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