Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cairo continued: part 1

Being here just a few days has done wonders and I already feel more comfortable. I now know how to ride the metro, take a taxi, and barter. Man oh man can I barter! Haggling is like a game here, you ask how much something is and then cut that price down at least to half ( we sometimes even go less if they are way up there). You go back and forth trying to get a price that works for both people. I'll go through some examples of things I've bought. When I tried to buy my head scarf the guy offered me 50 Egyptian pounds (about $8 US), I cut that price down to 10 pounds, he starts with lowering the price to 40 pounds, I still keep my firm 10, he goes to 30 pounds. I say "he'll no" and stay with10 pounds. After he doesn't budge I say "fine, goodbye" and leave. He follows me a ways and finally buckles to 15 pounds. I gave in and said fine.... So I got my scarf for about $2 dollars.... Not bad right! This is how it goes... I also got myself a white tunic, a long Egyptian dress (like the ones many of the ladys wear here), and a cool aladdin looking lamp.

One annoying thing about here is that as a Western woman I get a lot of attention here. It's not as bad as if I was in other Muslim countries, but it's still annoying. I made sure to wear leggings and a sweater covering my arms and body but I still stand out. My clothes are tight fitting and that makes me stand out. Many of the younger girls will wear tighter jeans and shirts, but at least they have the head scarfs and full coverage (my neckline is showing). It defiantly sucks wearing all these layers (sweater & pants in hot humid weather= too hot and sweaty).

Even though this is a liberal Muslim country they still don't allow hugging and kissing in public (you can get arrested for it) only if you're engaged or married you can hold hands. I don't remember if I mentioned this earlier but the metro station has designated womens train cabins. When we were getting on David had to pause and step back because he noticed it was an only female cabin.... So we took the next train, me on the female one and the boys on the male ones.

So right now we are hanging out at our hostel, waiting to head to our night train. We ended up ordering the *way more expensive* private train so that we could get sleeping beds and our own space. You see we were going to take the cheap first class egyptian train but then we met some fellow hostel peps who said that their worst travel experience was on that train. I guess they said that the air-conditioning went out and all the 2nd class people were coming into the 1st class to use the bathroom and there was crap all over the floors( and spilling into the 1st class cabins, tons of it!)

Alrighty, I'll have to write more later, bye!

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