Ahh…I left Dahab (reluctantly, I might add) and made it to Cairo and Luxor. I tried my best, really I did, to like both Cairo and Luxor, but Egypt certainly doesn’t make it easy.
There is always a constant barrage of people trying to get your money. I understand that many people rely on tourists for their livelihood, but really, it was just too much. In Luxor, as soon as I stepped out of the train station, no less than a dozen taxi drivers were trying to steer me towards their car, even as I was speaking on the phone and shaking my head. Finally, I just had to shout, “My friend is coming to get me!”
Cairo was no better. The streets are really, REALLY filthy, full of garbage and other gross things. The people have harrasment down to an art. Luckily, I had a good friend in Cairo to help me out. Once, we were shopping in the bazaar for a dress. After finally finding one that I liked, the guy tried to sell it to me for 280 Egyptian pounds (about $50). My friend told me in Turkish that it was too expensive and we got up to leave. The guy came after us and I ended up buying the dress for 30 EGP ($5.50).
It made making new friends in Egypt quite a difficult task because you never could tell if someone was talking to you on the street because they were genuinely nice or if they were trying to sell you something, or make babies with you. No joke, lots of taxi drivers are happy to offer their assistance if you tell them you have no children when they ask. And they always ask.
I hate to travel with such reservations about the people, but it was really hard not to when everywhere you turn, there’s someone trying to take advantage of you. Thank goodness my Egyptian friends were there to help remind me that not everyone is trying to exploit me.
Egypt, you have much to learn from my friends. Travelers, go to Egypt after you make friends with Egyptians!
© Connie Hum 2009