This is a tricky one because you need to be able to identify those Egyptians who are being genuinely friendly and those who are hustling. Get it wrong and you could offend an Egyptian who was just offering their hospitality.

Who’s being genuine and who’s not?

Well if you’re staying at an all inclusive resort or hotel then the staff are just being hospitable and helpful. If you’re at a very touristy spot or near to hotels in Egypt, the Pyramids or a souk for instance, then there’s a big chance that your ‘new friend’ will see you as fair tourist game. Whatever their intentions always be polite, especially if you are declining their invitation or an offer of merchandise.

So how do you avoid an awkward situation?

Well let’s get some perspective on this. Just because you are in a foreign land it doesn’t mean that the situation is completely alien. We’re basically talking sales here and we’ve all faced the hard sell before. The only thing that is different is the language; the tactics and strategy will be all too familiar. So how do you deal with unwanted attention and pushy salespeople back home? Hopefully politely but firmly. The same applies here.

Sunglasses are your best friend

So with that in mind, apply the same tactics as you would elsewhere. We all know that eye contact is key to engaging with people, so don’t make it. Hopefully you will be wearing sunglasses against the strong Egyptian sun, so use them to your advantage. Don’t hang around for the sales pitch, move on.

Idle hands

These hustlers are savvy people and see an open hand as a great receptacle for their goods. Once you have hold of their wares this is a perfect opportunity to hassle you into a sale. If you’ve got pockets, use them.

One lump or two?

The offer of a refreshing cup of Egyptian tea may sound like a fab idea, but it’s probably a ploy to take you somewhere else. In most cases to a shop where your will be heavily encouraged to buy something. Yep not many things in life are free and generally tea in a tourist hot spot isn’t.

Egyptian BazarSpot the tourist

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