I have never experienced a market atmosphere like the ones I encountered in Egypt. These legendary open-air markets are called “Souqs” and are an amazing experience – as long as you have a sense of humour and patience!
Immediately, as a tourist, you are targeted for heavy selling – all will approach you, most will follow you around and some will even throw a shirt on you and insist that means you have bought it! After the initial shock wore off, I got to enjoy the conversation. I saw others run into trouble because they couldn’t handle the haggling and constant yelling/selling. I always say, if you lose your temper and treat others with disrespect (especially when you are a guest in their country), you deserve what comes back to you.
In my experience, a smile and a polite “no thank you” is always met with a smile and kindness back. Egyptians enjoy humour, so that always works too. It led to a few marriage proposals, which I declined (politely of course!).