Travel to Egypt | The Upside of Relentless Catcalls

I like to believe a country’s best asset is its people, but since I was touring Egypt with On the Go, our jam-packed itinerary didn’t allow much time to mingle. My interactions in Egypt were mostly limited to tour guides, touts and shop owners, and guess what I found out?

I may be one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Some might assert that the men I encountered were just trying to sell me plastic pyramid souvenirs and papyrus made in China, or attempting to woo me to bed with their compliments, but I choose to believe that the majority were truly, madly and deeply in love with me. After all, 6 million camels in return for my hand in marriage is a solid offer, I don’t care who you are. (And it’s the best offer I’ve received to date…)

 I could have all this…

All the marriage offers and compliments had me laughing during my two weeks in Egypt, though as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t have thought it was so funny had I been by myself. If not for my group of fun new friends, I might have looked into flights to America and an early exit from Pharaoh land…

Instead, my two weeks in Egypt may have been the best in a whole year of travel.

Maybe my self esteem just needed a boost? Whatever the reason, check out some of the favorite pickup lines I jotted down as we toured Cairo, Giza, Aswan, Luxor and Dahab.

The only Egyptian I smooched during my trip

Celebrity Sightings 

  • Hey, it’s Shakira! (Particularly funny because that’s what my friends called me in college. My hips don’t lie.)
  • Hey, Cinderella. You are a princess to me! Would you like papyrus?
  • Oh my god. It’s J. Lo! J. Lo, come to my shop – I have everything!

Bartering for Marriage

  • I don’t know what you’re looking for, but I have it!
  • How many camels for Shakira? I have 600 camels. 6,000 camels! I will give you 6 million camels.

        Do you really have 6 million camels? 

Yes.

        Then why are you selling postcards?

 Sexy Time

  • I will take you to the candy shop. 
  • You cannot imagine how sad I am that you are walking away from me right now.
  • Oh my god. I like your size.
  • You have magic eyes. I love your magic leg! And your magic a**! (Stef & I were in hysterics after this one.)
  • Wooo! That is a sexy, nice a**. (Interesting because the kid who said it was about 14.)

In Luxor, we were pressed for time and had to run several blocks to pick up lunch before boarding the bus. As we hurried back to the hotel with our purchases a little fella sidled up to us.

Lady, may I have your chicken.

No.

Lady, may I have your chicken.

No.

Lady, may I have your chicken.

No.

Lady, may I have your chicken.

No.

It went on for blocks.

In fact, every time we left the confines of a hotel or resort, we were barraged with comments, catcalls and salesmen, despite dressing appropriately for Egypt. I certainly can appreciate why the shopkeepers were extra-aggressive. Since the Egyptian revolution, tourism has been cut by up to 50% at times. In a country where tourist sites are a huge part of the GDP, that’s obviously caused some folks to get desperate.

As for the catcalls, most of the remarks I heard were harmless and funny (I never really tire of being called Shakira and feeling like a rockstar), though others were a bit too sexual to be entertaining. And given my run-in with the handsy bathroom attendant on the Sinai Peninsula, I believe some of them were probably willing to follow through with their lewd offers. (I’ve excluded the worst ones out of respect for my AngieAway.com’s search traffic… don’t want Google sending any folks looking for freaky stuff my way!)

Bottom line: if you go to Egypt, be prepared for the onslaught and don’t take it too seriously. Bring a couple of friends and a notepad to write down the funniest phrases.

And enjoy your time as Shakira.

Extra credit: “Egyptian men explain their relentless catcalls.” The Christian Science Monitor, June 2011

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About Angie Away

Angie Orth is Angie Away, a globe-trekking communications specialist and entrepreneur. In 2010, she left a successful career as a travel publicist in NYC for the unpredictable life of a freelancing digital nomad. She’s passionate about travel, the Florida Gators, Shark Week, trying everything at least once and storytelling here at http://www.angieaway.com.