Dusk was falling as we drove across the causeway onto Fatnas island, surrounded by reeds and the shallow water of the salt lake. This was reputed to be one of the best places in Siwa to watch the sun go down, in the middle of this oasis in the Egyptian desert. From the shadows a man emerged to welcome us to the small island. This was a place that his family had owned for generations, now turned into a means of earning some income by offering visitors to Siwa a place to come and sit a while under the date palms to watch the sunset.
We stood around the circular walled spring at the entrance of the island, mesmerised by the blue-green water and the continuous streams of tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Then we took our seats in the rattan chairs to await the main event of the evening. Our host brought us tiny cups of sweet mint tea and came to chat for a while about this and that; the celebrations for his daughter’s wedding, the new house that he was building beside the lake and how Prince Charles and Camilla had stayed in the eco-lodge just across the lake from where we were sitting.
Due to a drainage project by the local government, the water-level in front of us had dropped in recent years and turned into marsh, fringed by reeds and a great place for bird-watching. What a relaxing place to while away an hour or two.
A few glasses of mint tea and one great sunset later, we were so soporific, we could barely prise ourselves out of our chairs to leave. We listened to the silence and the rustling of palm leaves in the warm evening air, with the curling cigarette smoke of our driver chasing away any mosquitos.
As we drove away, our host jumped on his motorbike and passed by us to go home, having served his only customers of the evening. We stopped the car on the causeway and lay on the tarmac gazing at the stars while my friend who is a star-gazing enthusiast pointed out the planetary landmarks, the Plough and the Great Bear and we giggled at our silliness. The sun had set on another relaxing day in Siwa.
This sunset is offered as part of the Photo Friday, hosted at Delicious Baby – head over to check out some other great travel photos and stories.
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