1,000,000 Camels

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Nov 09, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our last full day in Cairo we went to an open air street market. Basically one very long street, lined on both sides by vendors selling everything and anything. Seemed very much to be filled with both locals and tourists alike, walking up and down the narrow pedestrian only street. It was mostly a sightseeing (versus real buying) event for us as we wandered about. During the course of our journey the past two weeks we had learned of the scarab beetle and its good luck charm nature here. That meant that we had to have some. NOT to eat, but rather as souvenir, which meant some buying. Tamara (not me!) was going to have to make eye contact with and deal with one of the hawkers. The little, or big, bug is in fact quite popular and is for sale in many forms (clay, metal, plastic, etc) and designs. At our chosen stop was a table filled with mister scarab in many forms. Tamara made the initial inquiry with the obligatory, “how much for these?”, which started what would be about 20 minutes of bargaining. The guys shop was small on the inside, really just about five feet square of standing space, but with shelves jammed with stuff on all four walls that also stretched out onto the street as bait for us passersby. While Tamara disappeared inside I watched the many entertaining sights pass up and down the steaming hot, clogged street. Bargaining and purchase complete, both Tamara (smiling victoriously with purchases in hand!) AND the salesman came out. I can’t remember all of what this very friendly man said to me, but it was very flattering of “my wife” and would I be willing to trade her for camels. No, not just camels, the store too. “I will give you 1,000,000 camels and my store! You stay here and I take her with me!” Camels are kind of cute and a store full of Egyptian scarab beetles and pyramid statues sounds awfully inviting - but not as inviting as living my life with Tamara. I declined his offer. It was all very fun, some of his friends were watching and smiling at us too and then he insisted we take a picture of him with Tamara, standing proudly in the center of his store. We shook hands and very cheerfully walked down the street.

We said goodbye to Egypt after this, touching the African continent (though it certainly felt only middle eastern where we were) on our journey. It was not the best time of year to visit, for the heat was intense and constant. Coming from the much cleaner and generally quieter streets of Europe beforehand could only jade our impressions of the trash and the very regular haggling - but we’re glad we went! The sights we tourists go there to see are certainly unique and very impressive, and easily recommended to others. The people were always smiling and very friendly and my parting image of them was when I walked down Pyramid Road on one of our last nights in Cairo. Three or four maybe pre-teen young girls were walking in the opposite direction I was and when they saw me I could see them watching me (we do stand out there!). As we got within talking distance of each other one of them smiled brightly and enthusiastically said, “Welcome to Egypt!”. That actually happened a couple of times I can recall and leaves a very pleasant memory in my mind as I look back on our visit there.
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Bobby Plaster on

the fact Tamara is now "Bargaining" is worth the trip...Go Girl!

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