Being a tourist in Egypt
11.18.2012 - 11.30.2012
It is sad that the largest industry in Egypt is tourism, yet, to be a tourist in Egypt is one of the most frustrating experiences. In all of our travels Egypt wins the prize for “The Worst Place to Visit.” Egypt is so backwards from our understanding of tourism that for example you don’t hail a taxi when you want one… every taxi that passes by will hail you! “Salem” is a form of saying hello in Egypt, the literal translation is peace. Sadly, this is the last thing that you will find in Egypt.
Here is a list of a couple of things that might make you chuckle, but when they occur more than 10 times per day, well, let’s just say they have a huge potential to bring out the worst in even the nicest of people.
1. “My friend, take my fast boat, you know the price? – Just 5 pounds.”
TRANSLATION: The ferry is safe, reliable and only 1 pound per person. You should instead pay me 5 times as much to take my poorly maintained boat to one of my island shops on the way.
2. “Looking is free, no hassle!”
TRANSLATION: Come into my shop so I can point out every item in the shop to you and make you feel really uncomfortable when leaving without paying anything.
3. “Hello my friend, where are you from?!”
TRANSLATION: For the next 5 minutes I will walk next to you in an attempt to sell you something that you probably aren’t interested in.
4. “Hey, Cassanova, two wives!!”
TRANSLATION: A man is walking next to two females, thus he must have two wives because it is unheard of to have any other kind of relations with a female.
5. “Hello, Money?!”
TRANSLATION: This is a young child who only knows two words, and practices them on every tourist.
6. “What are you looking for?”
TRANSLATION: I can help direct you away from your point of interest and into my shop for a small fee.
Traveling in Egypt on our own definitely put our patience to the biggest test yet and was quite exhausting. We would imagine that being on an organized tour would be a much different experience than exploring the streets alone, but then you’d miss out on all the free heckling!!