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to deal with Hassling

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to deal with Hassling

We just returned from a trip to Egypt and I figured out a fairly effective way of dealing with hassles :-)

At the beginng of our trip. I was doing what most people on this forum recommended: a firm "La Shukran". Guess what, that never stopped the hassling. The street vendors literally hassle you to death :-)

At luxor, we asked for directions to the local souk from this British woman who is now living there, while a guy hassled us from the side. I gave the British lady full credit because she turned around and stood in front of the guy with her face literally three inches :-) away from his and said "La Shukran". The guy retreated. Since I couldn't muster the courage to position my face that close to a local's :-), this is the strategy I developed over the days: pretend you don't understand them.

It may sound dumb, but it worked fairly well. Dont' bother with the "La Shukran" because the hasslers never stop at that. Just completely ignore them and keep walking. Let them do all the talking because there is nothing in the world that could stop them other than some kind of open confrontation.

I chucked internally as I noticed the street vendor's reaction to my complete ignoring of them. As we are ethnically Asian, they tried to accost us first in Japanese, followed by Chinese, then Korean, then English. :-) It first startled me, and then greatly amused me when we walked past this store in which two men were literally bowing to us at 90 degree angle. They must have thought us Japanese! If they meant to get attention, they surely got ours :-)

It may sound rude to ignore the hasslers, but really what could you possibly do ? I found a "La Shukran" was always followed by more persuasions, or questions like "where are you from ", "what is your name"... It is the same with every street vendor and if you want to be polite after a long day's tour and all that heat, prepare for a sore throat and lost voice.

The only place I kind of lost my cool was Khan el Khalili. There the people not only hassle you, they sometimes get a little physical. For more than one time, a vendor would approach me and upon my ignoring him, placed his hand on my arm and tried to "guide" me to his store. It was at these moments that I would turn around and look the man in the eyes and tell him word by word "Don't touch me!". And it worked every time.

We loved all the sights we saw in Egypt, but I really doubt if we would ever return to that country. It's anything but relaxing.

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: to deal with Hassling

La shukran for the first time to be polite but the second times he hassle you, you should said 'yalla emshi' meaning get lost or go away and make sure you have that serious face on you!

It works all the time with me!

Liverpool, United...
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2. Re: to deal with Hassling

Good that you wrote about your experience with this, I have also mentioned on the forum before that my best tactic is not making eye contact at all, and in general behaving as though you have not seen the person, the best way, I do it all the time and it means that I can have a good day and decide who to deal with and always have the upper hand.

Sorry that is seems you did not enjoy your trip, that is sad, perhaps you were unlucky, each persons holiday is different - and it must be understood that Egypt is not an "easy" tourist destination and good planning and being ready for things to be different go a long way in making it work.

Best Regards


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3. Re: to deal with Hassling


Despite the unfortunate incident with Gamal and the hasseling which I believe is experienced by every tourist to Egypt, we very much loved, enjoyed and awed by all the cultural and historical sights!

I did not choose to share the not so good part of our trip with users on this forum to complain, but to serve as some kind of pointer for future tourists.

It is very true that Egypt is not an easy destination for tourists. And believe me, I did a lot of research before we went, but nothing prepared me for the reality.

It probably would have been better to go with a travel agency at the cost of independence and flexible itinerary.

Alexandria, Egypt
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4. Re: to deal with Hassling

CairoWendy really does give the best advice! Politeness really just doesn't cut it here - and whilst you may think that you are being exceptionally rude by ignoring people - you in fact are not by Egyptian standards. Saying 'no thankyou' will inevitably lead to further questions.

For a peaceful time just walk round in one of two fashions:

1) the 'mean business walk' - eyes front and plow on through it

2) the 'dreamland walk' - comments just bounce off you as you gaze round but ignore everything

Answering questions about anything is usually a cunning ploy, as once you have replied you are setting yourself up for more questions!

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5. Re: to deal with Hassling

Egyptian goddess, If i may add another "walk" The don't disturbed me I'm on my mobile walk, works a treat, unless of course it rings while you pretend to talk to someone.

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6. Re: to deal with Hassling

lol denise;-)....you will have to put it on silent!

Destination Expert
for Cairo, Egypt, Nile River Valley, Luxor
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7. Re: to deal with Hassling

lol Denise, will have to try that one next trip. I just say no thank you once or twice and then its the silent treatment...works every time.

8. Re: to deal with Hassling

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