Sunday, December 16, 2012

Esna locks

I have never passed through a lock before.  It's a strange thing to say.  It's an even stranger thing to think about and consider.

I was still feeling awful after the morning visit to Edfu.  I had gone straight back to my cabin to try to sleep, but I was unable to pass out due to what seemed like the loudest man in the world screaming at the boat trying to sell his wares.  The ship had slowed as it approached the Esna locks, allowing this man to run by the side of the ship screaming in his guttural, yet incredibly loud, tone.  It like a jackhammer in my brain and I couldn't handle it anymore.  He may has well have been standing next to my bed, screaming into my ear.

I rolled out of bed in the most literal sense.

After laying on the floor for a few moments, I dragged myself up and stumbled out of the room.

The roof of the ship seemed to be the appropriate place to go with all the noise.

After climbing the stairs, I could see the locks in the distance.

Most of the passengers were bunched up to the port side, engrossed by the loudest man in the world.  Occasionally, transactions would be sealed and goods would be thrown up to the ship and money thrown back in his direction.  I was able to move to the front of the ship unimpeded and watch as ship after ship entered into the locks.
It's an odd feeling being in the locks.
When standing on a ship, you normally feel secure.  You are made to feel as though the ship is solid in its strength.  Something as large as a cruise ship provides you an sense of protection with its size and heft.  Being inside one of the cabins feels just like being inside the room of any large building with foundations that reach into the ground.
The lock changes these feelings of comfort.  It is an elevator and it turns the ship into its compartments.  The waters fall with an unexpected rapidity.  The entire ship loses its aura of strength and the very ground you stand on becomes less certain.
Yet at the same time you cannot help but be amazed and impressed by the power of human ingenuity.  It is a great feat that the natural world itself has been harnessed to our will, acting as a giant arm to throw these ships up and down.

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