Like every other place thriving on tourists, Egypt too, has its fair share (if not more than usual) of touts or agents laying the tourist-trap for the innocent visitor to the country. It has all the trappings of a “typically” tourist place, complete with touts, ‘hasslers,’ self-appointed guides, middlemen, ‘working’ tourists and well, thousands of tourists. Perhaps the local administration is aware of these problems, because, in Luxor, you see shops with boards that claim “No hassling”. Occasionally they push that idea so strongly that it does feel like you are being hassled!
It does put you off, for sure, but given the Egyptian reputation for being “pushy” and insistent when it comes to business, you will appreciate that a shop with such a board is far by the easiest place to shop without being harassed, though sometimes the board can be misleading.
Let ‘s face it. Egyptians are defnitely friendly, sometimes a little more than just. And very personal. I thought it was just me – being a single Indian woman and all that, more often than I liked, I faced the constant “You Indian? I like Indian – Amitabh Bachchan, Special discount for Indian, beautiful women – India, Yes, my Queen etc – but that was till I witnessed other single women or women in groups or hell, even men being addressed to in similar ways. You have to give it to them – Egyptian ingenuity is remarkable.
That aside, Egyptians are friendly, meaning they can get right down to complimenting you on your looks or clothes. Rather personal you would think, but in that they are pretty similar to Bollywood songs, very descriptive about body parts and equally amusing…and you dont have to be “Cleopatra” to get free invitation to tea or dinner either!
It is easy to fall into one really. The negotiations begin on very friendly terms and the earnestness in which they begin their bid will convince you that you are in the right hands. But remember that a ride across the Nile in Luxor on a ferry costs I Egyptian Pound, never mind that the earnest tout assures you that it is 20 EGP. Use your head.