There is something in the air in Egypt that is wonderful. It makes many, many people lose their heads! It never ceases to amaze me how many tourists do things here they would never, ever do at home like being persuaded by a perfect stranger who is a taxi driver, calesh driver, fellucca man, guide, shop assistant or just some “really nice guy I met in the street” to forget about going where they were just on their way to…and follow him! (Maybe some distant genetic relationship to the famous man who said “Follow Me and I will make you……..!” Millions have followed Him!)
Anyway, it happens on a daily basis in Egypt. Foreigners come and end up being led around by the nose by their new “friends”. They are guided by them as to where to sleep, eat, shop. Some are even guided into buying or sending presents, helping them financially with their businesses or giving money to start businesses, paying for their children’s education, their family’s healthcare, buying land, paying for building projects, long term apartment rentals and even marriage. I’m not saying some of these are not genuine friendships and relationships. I am saying that the majority are con jobs.
All this with people they did not even know a week ago!? Definitely something in the air. If someone could figure out how to package it he would make a fortune.
You don’t believe me? You think it would never happen to you? Have a read of this story – Jim writes it better than me and …it happened to him That First Night in Cairo. Jim chooses to remember the night positively but I am sure it left a bad taste all the same. The thing is…he got away lightly, many don’t. If his Egyptian “friend” had turned up to take him home for dinner not only could it have cost him more on the night, it could still be costing him.
KEEP YOUR HEAD and enjoy this wonderful, beautiful country. Take it all with a smile and a pinch of salt but whatever you do, don’t follow a stranger just because he or indeed she, simply says “Follow Me”!