Entry #31: Egypt's Quirks
Here are some cultural oddities about Egypt.
First: they drive at night without headlights. Somehow, they think
this saves on gas. And it's not just one or two people, everyone does
this. It's not a strong comment on the educational system here in
Second: Egyptians speak to each other in a sort of screaming angry
tone. At first you think they are mad at you, but then you realize
that is just they way they talk to everyone.
Third: They always try to "help" you out even when you don't
want "help." An example: I went to an ATM to take out money
and while I'm standing there a guy comes up, and at first I think
he's going to rob me, but then realize he is the bank security guard.
He starts pointing out that I should hit the buttons that I already
know how to push and then he starts pushing them for me. In the end
it spits out money in an amount I didn't want and then he asks for
a "tip" or "present" as they call it here. I refused
and walked away. They are just silly with this stuff. Another example:
I sat down for my breakfast and a guy walks up and gives me a coffee.
I said, "I didn't want a coffee." He says ok and returns
it, but then comes back and asks for his "tip" for returning
the coffee I didn't want in the first place! If you ask someone directions,
like where the exit to the museum is, they will expect a tip. Its
just plain silly.
Fourth: Negotiating is the norm here, which makes hailing cabs a pain
in the arse. As you always have to do the walk out the door technique
at every turn of the negotiation...which must last at a minimum of
15 minutes before you can settle on a price.
Finally, it seems as though after the Egyptians built the pyramids,
they havent built anything worthwhile since.