I'm getting really excited about my trip to Egypt later this month and I've got some shopping questions...
1. I'd love to buy a gold cartouche with my name on it. I assume Khan el khalili is the best place for this, rather than 'normal' gold/jewelry places? I have read some posts on here that said to make sure the gold is real. How do you check for this? Also given that gold is a relatively fixed price, is it appropriate to still haggle?
2. Papyrus. Again reading about Papyrus here I'm getting confused. Some posts say to be aware of 'fake' papyrus and that you can tell it is fake because it will crumble when rolled, while others say there is no such thing as fake papyrus??? I assume the price depends on the quality of the papyrus and artwork? What would a guestimate price be for something maybe A4 - A3 size with more modern artwork, rather than an Ancient Egyptian scene?
3. How to haggle - I've been to Istanbul and experienced the Grand Bazzar, but what i found hardest is that I had no idea on what the item should cost - or even a rough amount so it's really hard to know if you get a good price or how outrageous the prices offered are! I found a great post from 2006(!) by Darsh who suggests the following approach...
Show some little interest in it and the ask for the price. Lets say you get 600. Say for example, no, too much, what about 400? If you get a direct yes, say ok, I will think about it and will come and take it on my way back.
So, you will go to another shop a block or two away. You will see the same box or you can ask for jewelry boxes. They will show you a few. You will find something that is the same or almost the same as the other one. He will quote it at 650. You say, no too much, I wouldn’t pay more than 200. He will say no way. You will walk away. If he doesn’t follow you, this means that 200 is too little. So, now you know the market price is somewhere between 200 and 400.
This sounds like a great strategy to me, however my understanding is that it isn't socially acceptable to offer a price and then not accept. So wouldn't the first part of the strategy be considered rude?
I'll be in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Dakhla & Siwa oasises and Alexandria. Is cario the best/cheapest place for shopping?
Thanks so much,