Saturday, May 3, 2008

Shopping in Cairo

On Wednesday morning, we decided to go to Khan El-Khalili, Islamic Cairo, for shopping at the souk. We thought we were in for a treat, since we enjoy shopping at the souks here in Doha. First, there was a little mix-up with the cab driver. After driving for a few minutes, he pulled over and said, "Welcome to the Egyptian museum." Oops. We said Khan El-Khalili. We decided to walk around first to get a feel for where things were and what was available. At one point we walked up an alleyway that didn't have any tourists (there weren't many tourists around anyway) and it started to get very, what's the word?, dirty? We saw a man serving coffee who had the pot and cups strapped to his body. When a customer finished a cup, he just rinsed it with water and put it back. Needless to say, we didn't sample his offerings. I saw a store with stacks of cages filled with chickens and rabbits. I was trying to get Nicky to look at them, but he was too interested in the mangy dog digging through the trash. It was at that moment that I told Bradley that we needed to turn around and head back to the tourist section. Along the way, I had seen a set of belly dancer zils (finger cymbals) that I wanted to get as a joke for Brad's boss. I figured they would cost about $5 (25 Egyptian Pounds). I was shocked, then, when the shopkeeper started our bargaining at 150 Pounds! I was ready to give up and walk away, but Brad didn't want to give up so easily. It took about 20 minutes to finally get the guy to sell us a set for 50 pounds. As we were walking away, he ran up to us and offered to sell us 4 more sets for 100 pounds total. So you mean that we could have gotten one set for 25 pounds like we wanted? Ugh. It just left us with a bad taste in our mouths. I don't mind bargaining so much, but I hate that the shopkeepers feel like we owe it to them to pay the "American" price because we can obviously afford it and we would be doing so much for them. The guilt trips get so frustrating. Not wanting to deal with it anymore, we hailed a cab and headed back to the hotel for a nap. When the babies woke up, we went to lunch at Omar's and then we did some shopping at the shops in the hotel. Since they had fixed prices, even though it might not have been the best prices possible, we probably got the best prices that we could get there. We were very happy with our purchases.

That night, we arranged for a babysitter with the hotel, and we went out to the sound and light show at the pyramids. It was very cheesy, but worth it for a chance to sit and look at the pyramids and sphinx without someone hassling us.

Here was the pre-show entertainment. How weird are the pharonic bagpipers?
The pyramids and Sphinx at sunset.
The end of the show.

Afterwards, we ate at JW's Steakhouse at the hotel. It was very, very nice and delicious.

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