Hawkers and hassle, Cairo
When going to most touristic sites you will be followed and surrounded by lots of men offering you to buy their original papyrus papers. It is not an original papyrus they are liers.
Unique Suggestions: If he is offering you a papyrus as an original one tell him No this is not Original and that you are the brother of picaso or leonardo Da vinchi and that you cant be decieved by this.
Fun Alternatives: If you are stuck by his hassle then give him a 3-5 egyptian pounds (less than 1 dollar). and ask him to give you the papyrus.
Dont buy papyrus from the streets cause they are not for real but a sketchy.
There are special places to buy them from. ask you tour operator.
Often guided tours include a visit to a perfume or papyrus shop, whether you want to go or not!, and a regular trick is to ask your name in the papyrus shop - which they promptly apply to a papyrus - so that you feel obligated to purchase. The atmosphere in these shops can get a little frosty if you refuse. We went with the flow mostly - getting ripped off when you first arrive is part of the "Cairo" experience. You learn quickly.
Be very careful when someone offers you help in Egypt (unfortunately) - they ALWAYS want money om you. This includes the tourist police and guards at the pyramids, valley of kings.
When in Egypt always be suspicious of people's intentions (unfortunately).
Also, my lonely planet stated that the price (per gram) for perfumes was actuall 1/10th the price I was being asked to pay. Egypt is a supplier of essential oils to the big perfume houses so I did want to buy some but decided against it ...
A fellow traveller was sold a genuine papyrus but later on we found out that it was machine made. Another traveller bought a basalt statue (really heavy) but it was fake - basalt does not chip/break when thrown onto the ground
Unique Suggestions: I dunno know - tell them u want fake stuff and if they say they don't have fake stuff ??
The Egyptians both make and break Cairo for the visitor. On the one hand, the majority of Cairenes are a wonderful and fascinating group of people, cheerful, helpful in everyway and make great conversation…but that is when they’re not angling for baksheesh or trying to sell you something!!!
I swear the concept of sales and marketing had to originate in Cairo, because the locals can get even the shrewdest and most well traveled foreigner’s attention long enough to get the opening lines of their sales pitch out. Naturally the most annoying scam artists work the tourist sites….Gizeh, Saqqara, the Egyptian Museum all the places you want to go and simply gaze in bewilderment, the silence (and your attention) broken by “Where you from, my fren…England, España, français, United States???” “How ‘bout a camel ride…my fren…Egyptian price today for my fren…only twenty-five LE… I take you to see tomb of Akhethotep…my fren…nice camel ride.” Be wary, the camel ride “into” the desert will probably cost you less than the camel ride “back” to civilization…
Unique Suggestions: So, how do you discern the difference between the good Cairenes and those that are annoy….perhaps the best way is to listen carefully to their opening salutation…If they say “Salaam” with a smile, then your probably alright, but if their opening line is “Hello, my fren” followed with an even bigger smile, then you’d better quicken your pace before you are ushered into a store for tea….because that’s where the heavy sales pitches are made and the next thing you know you’ve bought fake papyrus or one of those stupid toy camels stuffed with sawdust…
Oh, one last thing, don’t even try to throw the hawkers off your trail by speaking a “foreign” language…it’s futile….these dudes know their opening sales lines in a variety of languages and will only come back with a response in the same “foreign” language. I tried to habla the espanol out of a situation in the Khan one day only to find that my Egyptian counterpart spoke better Spanish, much better Spanish…
They are all around the Giza plateau, outside and inside the pyramids area. A simple "no thank-you" doesn't seem to cut it now a days. If you must get a camel ride, agree on a price BEFORE you begin. Don't let the camel "jocky" get on the camel with you as he may ask for more money for you to get down.
Unique Suggestions: If you really want to do this which is not a bad idea, just make sure you are going and seeing what YOU want to see. There are a few individuals who will claim a camel ride but won't take you but around in circles. There are a few that will take you to a spot away from the pyramids so you can turn around and see the entire goup of them. It is great and well worth the price. If you don't get tired of the haggling before you get out there.
Fun Alternatives: The alternative is to go to one of the cafe's just outside the park or the cafe that is connected to it for some refreshments and watch the sunset from there. You can see all three pyramids and the sphynx, so it is still a good option.
Egyptians can be extremely friendly and appear to be very helpful. However, my experience is that everybody had an uncle or a brother around the corner who could hook me up with whatever I was after. But time and time again it simply turned out to be a friend's perfume store and they simply want your business. Also, riding a camel up to the Giza pyramids was cool (I even fell off mine!) but again, we were ripped off and rushed along and didn't have the opportunity to fully enjoy what we were doing. The apparent guide was just rambling off false and incoherent information about the pyramids. Be careful, choose wisely or best yet, do it yourself!! YOU dictate what you want and when you want it. Don't let them control your vacation. Besides this warning, Egypt was an amazing adventure!
'Shopping' is always a 'Tourist Trap' for me.
Take enough money with you but don't forget to bargaining ! :-))
And for everything they ask for 'baksjish'. That's something like a 'tip'.
Second tourist trap
Inside the pyramids : NOTHING to see !
Everyone in Eygpt is 'your friend' or 'your brother.' They will take anything from you. People asked for everything from soap to my shoes. And when you say that you don't want to give them your shoes, they are surprised.
The Pyramids although beautiful and should come under must see, you will be harrassed all the time from people who want to sell you real antiques, be aware thay are all fake, and even if they arn't you will be in severe trouble if you try to take ancient artifact's out of the country. If you have a tour guide refer to their expert knowledge.
There are innumerable tourist traps in Egypt, some of which are more annoying than others. You WILL be taken in at some point, so just be ready for it. All you can do is try not to get taken for too much money (you usually won't). My particular trap was getting taken by horse cart to circumnavigate the wall around the Pyramids complex, which was closed when I happened to be there. I paid about US$15 for this dubious privilege, which I could have done equally well on foot and without my useless guide.
All beggars, be careful of those, and there are lots of thiefs, once there was a coupple just newly wed, so they went to Egypt on their honymoon, as they arrived to the pyramids, there was a few people come with a camel, and offered them to take a picture of the girl sitting on the camel, so they would have a good memory of the trip...and they got the memory, the man with the camel took the girl and ride straight out in the dessert, and they forced the man to pay ransom to get her back...so be careful...