“La means No in Arabic. Learn it. You’ll need it.”

This is the most accurate piece of travel advice you will ever be given in Egypt. The reason is that shopkeepers in Egypt will try and sell you stuff, and they will try and sell you stuff harder than anyone has ever tried to sell you stuff in your life. It’s unbearable, and unavoidable too since every major attraction empties out to a stretch of 100 yards of souvenier stands. Think of it like a football field, with sand. You’re the punt returner and there’s 11 players from the ‘Galabeya Packers’ in between you and your goal, the minibus. The first few are easy to avoid.”Hello my friend…” They come racing at you, but you can see them coming a mile away, easily sidestepping them. The next group tries to seperate you from your blockers…your fellow tourists. Divide and conquer. You slow down, letting your companions take the hits and break away from the pack. The next guy comes at you, “Come look at my Bedouin scarves.” Girl stuff, excellent. He goes for Christine. You cross midfield and there’s only 1 man left to beat. “Welcome to Egypt my friend. Where are you from?” ‘Nothing today thank you.’ “American? Great country. Come look at my shop. I have many things. Buy this Sphinx snow globe. 20 Egyptian pounds. (About 4 dollars). “No? Why not? In Cairo it’s 3x as much.” ‘La La La.’ “Ok my friend. I like you, 10 Egyptian pounds. Hand made in Egypt by Bedouins.” (I can see the ‘Made in China’ sticker). ‘La La La.’ “5 Egyptian pounds. Best price.” ‘La La La’ The bus is right in front of you. “My friend, why? 1 Egyptian pound. Special price.” That’s 20 cents!  Is he serious?  Why even bother?  You’ve reached the endzone but he won’t let go. Surely this is uneccessary roughness. Your fellow travelers start to trickle in . A cacophony of “La La La” and “Best price, my friend” fills the bus as each has their own tout attached to them. Finally, the last one arrives and the door shuts, the whistle blows and the game is over. Unfortunately, most days it’s a double header.

2 Responses to “Toutdown!”

  1. kz says:

    f’ing hilarious–i loved this post.

  2. Dan & Sophie says:

    Amazing metaphore. We could totally imagine being there. It also got us pumped to go to the Eagles-Bills game this Sunday even though it doesn’t mean sh**. We miss you guys. We had dinner with Jen and Peter the other night. Charlee’s personality is starting to show and they all seem really happy, except when they talk about the state of the renovation. We had homemade egg rolls, tempura, and fondue and leave it to Jen to find a bottle Port in our liquor cabinet that we didn’t even know we had.
    Christmas was crazy with the boys. We’re definitely not doing the present thing next year. Only one present per person…yeah right…don’t all parents say that every year…it’s just a nightmare! They’re begging, screaming, pouting, taunting. You try to keep them focused on the x-mas spirit and try to get them to calm down but realize that it’s a lost cause.

Leave a Reply