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People in Egypt

sunny 40 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Are by and large very, very different from those in the rest of the middle east. My guess is that they have been spoiled by having too many tourists, and so rather than being intrigued and welcoming many of them see foreigners as a way to get moeny. For example:
- Even convenience stores charge a "foreigner price", for example quoting 5 LE for a bottle of water when the actual price is 2 (foreigners can negotiate down to 2.5, but shouldn't have to -- it's a convenience store)
-Public transit also charges a foreigner price - we tried to take a minibus in Luxor, which a horse-and-buggy operator said was .25LE, and they tried to charge us 1LE
-Helpful (and unhelpful) people often demand tips, for anything from giving directions to shaking hands and saying hello. So rather than seeking out friendly locals we have little choice but to try to avoid them
-Vendors hassle passersby much more assertively than in other places, sometimes grabbing their arms or standing in front of them so they can't go forward.
-Vendors try to guilt-trip their way into sales ("you took so much of my time, when I could have been selling things to other people, and now you don't buy anything??")
-There are a lot of beggar children, and a lot of them will follow you for several minutes and touch your arm to get your attention. Some have the audacity to ask for money while being 8 years old and smoking cigarettes (the same one also asked for beer).
-The police are conspiring against foreigners. At a (wonderful) street stand I asked how much for fresh sugar cane juice, the police said 5LE then said something in Arabic to the guy working there. The guy ended up charging 1 LE, which we later found out is the same price he charges to locals. Fresh sugar cane juice is excellent, and we spent the next 2 days in Cairo looking for other places that have the equipent (massive machine that presses the juice out of the cane by flattening it between 2 metal spools)

Note that we did meet some very friendly and helpful people (like the vendor in the above example and the person that offered to pay for our drink in the same example, and the people we met on our transit journey to the airport) both in the towns we went to (though less than in other countries) and especially in Cairo when we went to the non-touristy parts. The above is our impression after coming from countries where almost everyone is incredibly friendly.

Posted by chrisvasil 00:13 Archived in Egypt

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