Watching the watchers

I just got back from a cruise up the Nile in Egypt. These have long been a common tourist fixture in the south, between Luxor and Aswan, but it’s been almost twenty years since cruise ships have been seen in Middle Egypt, between Cairo and Luxor. So when people on the banks caught sight of our ship, the Hamees:


which is a five-storey behemoth in white, 72m long and towering almost 12m high, lined (as it was) with pasty, grey-haired tourists pointing cameras at them, it was a sight to behold. I watched him watching:


And they watched me watching them watching me:


But when it got to all of them watching all of us watching them, I wasn’t sure who was really watching who:


I think we all thought it was the other lot who were really worth watching.


She stopped work to watch:


They’d already stopped:


(A little bit of audio here.)

And I’m not sure this lot had even started:


Sometimes, people just refused to be interested.


Other times, it was the best thing that had happened all day – heck, all WEEK!


These guys in Assyut couldn’t get enough pictures of our boatload of fat, old Europeans taking pictures of them. “Check out this one!”


“No seriously, welcome to Egypt!” (“Oh God, this is so embarrassing…”)


“Oh yeah, forgot, cameras, gotta strike a pose. There.”


Or, er, not.


And after the Assiut boys had their fun, it was the Assiut girls’ turn.


I love this one:


These tiny kids already knew they should do the waving at tourists thing.


But these two definitely weren’t about to do THAT. They’d seen MUCH bigger ships LOADS of times before, anyway.


Oh, hi!


But it’s only a ship. Definitely no need to get too excited.


Unless you’re a camel, that is.


There’s moody…


…and then there’s so over-excited your pants are showing:


Then again, not everyone bothers with pants.


(Trust me, you don’t want to see the hi-res original of that.)

More from Egypt to follow…




  1. Yamaan

    absolutely hilarious!!! when I read the title I was thinking, how could one capture the “watch” phenomenon… but you did it, as usual, in great style 🙂
    you made me laugh, thank you!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks, Yamaan, very kind of you!

  2. Ruth

    Love the photos, Matthew! Thanks!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thank you, Ruth!

  3. Mosleh Farajat

    Very nice pictures and I also noticed that they were taking pics of you as well 🙂

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks, Mosleh – yes, they were. Probably more than we were of them, actually!

  4. cartoline

    love the pics and the funny explanations that come along with them! 🙂

  5. 166lady

    very nice, it is like that

  6. Stephanie Williamson-Brittian

    I love the pictures, it just like I imagined it!

  7. Basem Salah

    Great photos. It had been a while since i went on the nile, and i live in Cairo. We hope the violent turmoil ends soon so we are back to business.

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks so much, Basem. Amen to that.

  8. serendipitysahm

    Oh, I love this! It put into words so much of what I experienced in Libya in 2005. Thank you!

    1. Matthew Teller

      Thanks! I loved putting this together…

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