Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Bit From Steve Re: Egypt

I would just like to point out that this is not a joke. This really happened as we were leaving the site where the Step Pyramid is. Here's Steve:

Steve: "Egyptian street merchants don't like to take no for an answer.

We were warned about it, but it was much more intense than I expected. They want to sell their wares and they are willing to haggle, small-talk, barter, walk with you for miles, whatever it takes. You can't afford to show any interest or make eye-contact because you will likely invite ten-minutes of conversation consisting mostly of you saying the words "No, thank you."

They've learned to take advantage of Westerners' mostly polite way of dealing with strangers. They know we won't just ignore them, so they stay in our faces until we buy something just to get some peace. And I'm sure it works.

As we were leaving one of the pyramid sites, I got an interesting offer on what someone perceived as my wares. An Egyptian merchant spotted Katie and yelled at her, "Shakira! Shakira, I love you! I want to marry you!"

He then proceeded to follow me asking, "How much for the girl? How much? I give you fifty-thousand chickens! Fifty thousand chickens, sir! Good chickens!"

Fifty thousand chickens? What am I going to do with fifty thousand chickens? How would I get them home?

"Sorry," I said, "She's not for sale." I felt very authoritative.

As we boarded our bus he plaintively yelled, "Sir! Sir, I promise, sir! I will send you twenty camels every year for her! Every year twenty camels!"

Katie and I sat down on the bus. I turned to her and said, "That's crazy. How would I even track this guy down when all of sudden, after a couple of years, the camels stop coming?"

She didn't think it was funny."

It wasn't funny. I got low-balled.
Anyway, we'll talk a lot more about Egypt soon.

50,000 chickens. Sheesh. I'm worth at least 60,000...(Katie keeps muttering to herself, even though this blog entry is over...)

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