My good friend Kim is on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Oman right now, and her emails have me reminiscing about my trip to Egypt in 2010.
She has been a bit taken aback at the aggressiveness and pressure to buy in all the markets. I had the same culture shock experience when I first got to Egypt. Not only do the men get right in your face with flattery and examples of whatever they are selling you, they also throw things on you and say because you “took” it, you bought it! By the way, it’s all men selling in markets – not many women in sight. But really, it only took me about a day to acclimate and realize that if you smile and say “no thank you” in a respectful way, and compliment then on their wares, it’s a lovely experience.
The craziest thing I saw in Egypt was passing through a canal gate on my nile cruise. The boat slowed right down, allowing men to throw things on board (rugs, shirts, linens, etc), and then throw up a bag for you to drop money in and throw back down. A few people didn’t catch on right away, and didn’t throw the money down in time. So, on our way back, the men ran back to the boat to get their money… and that’s when a scuffle broke out! Seems there was some confusion on who they sold to and who had rights to that bag of money making it’s way down.
One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen… click on the picture below to enjoy the video!