January 1, 2019 (Tuesday)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Today was a light day sightseeing-wise, which was a good thing. Dale and I were up late watching a movie about the Exodus (not the original movie; a newer version) and today we had time to just relax on our last day onboard the Aida.
In fact, Dale chose not to visit the Daraw Livestock Market, so he stayed behind and relaxed.
To get to the livestock market, we rode in the backs of trucks through the city of Daraw.
Street scenes along the way:
In the middle of town, bustling with people and vehicles of all description, we were stopped at a railroad crossing. In spite of the flashing lights and lowering of a bar in front of the track, no train came – at least not for a long time. Everyone waited patiently, however. While we were sitting and waiting for the train, which finally came and rumbled by slowly (it was a long train), I took the opportunity to people watch.
Then we were on our way again!
We began to see trucks hauling animals as we approached the market.
We finally arrived and got out of the trucks into the dusty sea of humanity and various species of domesticated animals.
The market is often called the Daraw Camel Market, because this is the largest camel market in the Middle East.
Traditionally the camels have come up from Sudan on foot, but now they more often arrive via Toyota pickup trucks, like the animals we saw on our way here.
The camel drivers rent these trucks at Abu Simbel for the last part of their trip. Merchants from Cairo are the most likely customers. Camels are also sold to farmers or for slaughter.
I posed for a photo with the camel handler that we talked to. While we were talking to him, another man with bad teeth and wrinkled skin approached and started speaking to the camel handler in rapid-fire Arabic. The camel handler replied something and they both laughed. Mohamed translated: the man with bad teeth had seen one of the women in our group, Lola, and had taken a fancy to her. He had come to ask her to marry him! Of course, Mohamed told him no and he went away. But for the rest of the trip, we teased Lola, a single, well-dressed New Yorker in her 70s, about her “fiancé!”
Donkey and a bovine calf tied up behind a truck
The market sells other things besides animals. Supposedly they sell produce (but we didn’t see it) as well as ropes, harnesses and other equipment for use with the animals.
The place smelled of dust, animal, and human sweat. But as we moved through the market, another smell became apparent: that of blood and freshly slaughtered animals. I looked beyond the crowd and saw a tent under which slaughtered beef was hanging. I did take a photo but have not included it here. Nor did I get any closer to that area!
Most of the adult cattle were very skinny, even the calves, but not as much.
Storefront across from the entrance to the market. I wish I knew what the signs say!
We were driven back over the bumpy dusty roads and when we arrived at the dock, I resolved to change my clothes the moment I was back on board the Aida!