Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hard Core

We pulled into Esna last night. This is a lock much like the Panama canal. This allows us to pass what is called the first cataract. As we waited for another ship to be lowered to our level a small flotilla of row boats arrived. These guys were selling shawls and gallabeeyahs. The sales process consisted of a pitch, the salesman showing the item and declaring a rediculously high price. A counter offer is made. More shouting ensues. When the salesman has you interrested he expertly throws the item up to the sun deck of our ship some thirty feet up, never missing. The item is inspected and if found desireable another counter offer is made "two for fifteen dollars" you shout. He of course i appalled. You offer this price five or six times, possibly going up a dollar or so. He will refuse untill you indicate that the item is coming back down. He relectantly agrees. You then place your money in the plastic bag you shawl came in or in a bag of an item you aren't buying and this is!
thrown down to the boatmen. All this is done in semi darkness next to a working lock. Capitalism, like love' always finds a way. I might have been able to get my three items cheaper in Edfu but I have to give these guys props. They are truly hard core.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. If nothing else, you are warm and there is no snow in your immediate future. Can't wait to see photos!

Allan Perry

Anonymous said...

As we sit here reading your wonderful documentations and reviews of your damn vacation, it keeps reminding me of "Man with a screaming brain"...not only because you look kind of like Bruce Campbell in a way, but the whole ugly american thing as well, and this post specifically reminded me of this...

"a pharmaceutical CEO who's a bit of an Ugly American, traveling to Bulgaria for business purposes. He's not above shelling out money to get what he wants. "Capitalism works every time," says Cole, when paying off one cab driver, who is slated to be his, in order to get the services of another."

-The Pope