Annoyances and Great Things
One thing we quickly learned when walking in downtown Cairo, was everyone thinks you’re a tourist, and thus they want you to come to their shop.
The usual approach is to tell you that you “look like an Egyptian!” no matter what nationality you are, by the way. Then you tell them thanks and laugh a bit.
After which they will go one of two ways. They’ll ask you were you are from, and respond by telling you how much they love that country. No it’s the money they love, especially if you say America. You see the dollar exchanges at a really high rate over here. Right now you can get around 16 pounds to every one dollar. Not a bad rate of exchange, but these people want to free you from some of that money.
They will then tell you they have a shop, or they want to give you their business card. You can say no, but they will continue to push it, by telling you they want no money from you. (Don’t believe this comment, it is a lie)!
We’ve gone back to a few stores, and they will offer you a free sample, but then suddenly that free sample is something that costs you money. If you get roped into going to a store, just keep telling them Shukrun, but La-ah. You’re telling them thank you but no.
One guy had provided us with like three scrolls, even though we kept informing him we had no money to spend. Finally, I told him we had to go meet friends. He said do you have anything to give my sister she’s getting married.
I pulled out like six pounds that was all I had on me. And he was offended, we reminded him that we had told him already that we had nothing on us.
We left the store, with one upset Egyptian, and without having spent a cent.
But you have to figure they are only trying to make a living. We simply avoid them anymore by telling them we are busy and are on our way someplace. They can still be pushy, but you can’t fall for these things, or you will spend way too much money. By all means if you want trinkets, check them out!
ON the other hand each morning we visit a guy who has his business two doors down. We get our breakfast of fool and salita (beans and salad) and spend only 10 pounds. John always gives him a tip, he’s got amazing beans!
Now remember what I said about the exchange rate? That’s less than a dollar for two meals that will fill you up. Of course John gets paid in pounds, not dollars. So it’s not a great deal, but it’s not bad at all. We get full and start out the day with a nice meal. If you are visiting Egypt though and have dollars, you’re getting one hell of a meal for a very inexpensive rate. By the way GMO’s are banned over here, so you are eating healthy!