I need to post the negative of Egypt also, from our experiences of traveling here.
As I have said before, the people of Egypt are overwhelmingly kind, to a fault. And that is that kindness comes with a price. We have traveled many countries where street negotiations can be tough. But here in Egypt, they have the con down to an art form.
As you walk the streets the people are welcoming and helpful. Anytime they offer a service, they don’t like to discuss price. “Don’t worry, I want you to be happy”, is something you will hear over and over. They are pros at making you feel like a friend and feel very comfortable. Sometimes you would like to believe the friendships are real. But it seems they all have a price tag. Now, I want to be fair to everyone I do a business transaction with, but I despise being made to feel taken advantage of through a “friendship”. I know everyone needs to make a living, but I have had enough, to the point that I’m not sure who I should be trusting.
One example, of many, but the one that made me post this. We arrived in Aswan four days ago. Two days ago we were approached by a friendly man wanting to know if we wanted a horse and buggy ride around town, about an hour, for 100le, about US$6.50. We didn’t at the time but he followed us to a place we knew we were going. We were looking for a discount cruise up the Nile, and he said he knew a guy, and would contact him because he liked helping people. The tour operator met with us and gave us a great deal on a 5 day Nile cruise, all inclusive, on a beautiful ship. Great! Then we took the buggy ride, stopped at a spice shop, and went back. He invited us to dinner at his house. We had a great time, then went back to our place. Now the scam gets real.
He has stalked us now for two days. We turn around, and there he is. He even had people watching the boat today to tell them when we would leave the boat. This evening, as we left for a walk, there he was, welcoming and smiling, and wanting to know if we needed anything or wanted a ride anywhere. He also said that he needed me to pay him tonight. On our way back to the boat he stopped us and wanted US$150 for his services. From previous experiences, I felt this was probably going to happen. Of course I asked for what? He said his commissions and his help while we were in town. Help I didn’t want to begin with, but I try to trust people.
I told him I’d give him US$20, and go away. It went back and forth for several minutes until a price was settled on.
Now I have a super sour taste for Egypt. I love meeting new people, traveling and seeing new cultures. But this has left me very sceptical of everyone in Egypt. I think they see “rich American”, and that’s how they make their money.
I just hate friendships that come with a price tag. Would I recommend Egypt to people to travel in. Probably still yes. The history is amazing.
Just hang onto your senses and your money. Sometimes friendliness comes at a cost, and not just trust.
Cheers and sour milk,
2 comments on “Egypt, and the Con Game of “Welcome””
I have been on Caïro and Egypte many times and what you described is culture!! The egyptians are famous all over the arab world fir thuis behaviour. From the little boys that try to het you to tour the pyramides tot the guard in the egyptian museum that Will show you places that are forbidden foto visitors, of course at a price . Once you know the stille IT is a great country buy keep a hand on your purser
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Yes because of this traveling in North Africa can be very stressful. One thing however is that in the year we’ve spent in Arabic countries, we have has zero instance of theft. No one has stolen our wallets, purse, computers or phones! We found theft to be real problem in South America, not so anywhere in North Africa.