People are generally very friendly. Most don’t have the language skills to carry on a conversation with us, but you can tell that they want to.
Everyone says “welcome”. The trick is to figure out which ones are using it to try and sell you something.
Their follow-up to our response of “Canada” after their question “Where are you from?” is invariably “Canada Dry” and a big smile. A soda pop seems to be our most recognizable cultural contribution to Egypt.
Most retail shops are open 6 days a week, from 8 AM to midnight. Even businesses that aren’t open late at home like barbers, toy stores, etc.
Everyone seems to stay up late, even the children.
There don’t appear to be any noise bylaws.
Headlights at night are a signaling device, and not for lighting the roadway.
Traffic regulations are irrelevant, and the car horn is an essential part of the drive train.
Crossing the street is like russian roulette. The cars have the right of way, and will not stop even if you’re directly in their path. It’s like the game frogger, but with your life. The 3 techniques seem to be: 1) Cross at an angle, facing the traffic. 2) Walk behind some Egyptians, and use them like a human shield. 3) Close your eyes, and put your faith in Allah.
Children go to school from Saturday to Wednesday.
Friday is a work holiday if you’re Muslim, and Sunday is if you’re Christian.
There are lots of police in all tourist areas to protect the tourists, and therefore the tourist trade, which is over one-fifth of Egypt’s economy. It would be foolhardy to hurt or steal from a tourist here, but it is good business practice to separate them from their money in any way possible.
Baksheesh (or tips) grease the wheels of Egyptian society, for locals and tourists alike.
No building is ever finished. The upper floors are always in a continual state of expansion.
Egypt is a Muslim country. There are mosques everywhere, with prayers called from the loudspeakers 5 times a day.
Some tourists are either totally clueless or totally disrespectful, like the girl who wore the micro-skirt, see-through tank top, and black bra to the pyramids.