Figure/Ground

Egypt

CAIRO

Life [ 46 photos ]
Markets & Bazaars [ 42 photos ]
Mosques [ 29 photos ]
Coptic Cairo [ 9 photos ]
Signage [ 21 photos ]

THE PYRAMIDS

Giza [ 19 photos ]
Saqqara [ 10 photos ]
Dahshur [ 18 photos ]

WESTERN DESERT

Western Desert [ 28 photos ]

LUXOR

Luxor [ 39 photos ]
Luxor Temple [ 17 photos ]

ANTIQUITIES

Karnak Temple [ 15 photos ]
Theban Necropolis [ 11 photos ]

"Welcome to Egypt!" we heard over and over everywhere we went. It's hard to go one block without someone greeting you.

"Welcome to Egypt!"

"Where're you from?" And invariably, whichever country you reply, they'll give you a big thumbs up and tell you they love it with a big, warm smile.

"Ah! Taiwan! Taiwan very good! Number one!"

Next person who asked, I switched to Canada.

"Ah! Canada! Canada very good! Number one!"

I've never been to a place like this. Everyone from school children to old folks lounging around smoking shisa knows enough English to welcome you to their country. I find that really impressive. Sure, sometimes the friendly stranger is in fact a tout trying to separate you from your money, but that's only around the tourist sites. Away from the pyramids and monuments, they're all just friendly Egyptians wanting to make you feel welcomed. It's like the entire country works for the tourism bureau. In fact, after the trip, when I got home, it felt alienating that strangers on the street no longer smiled at me and said hello.

* * *

Second morning in Cairo, I went to see the Citadel. By the entrance, there was a bunch of kids on a school field trip. They kept coming up to me to say hello and ask me where I'm from and what's my name. Later, inside the Citadel I ran into those kids again.

"Yusheng!"

"Hi! Yusheng!" they screamed as they vigorously waved to me.

Somehow they were able to pronounce my name almost perfectly which no Westerner seems capable of doing. Perhaps the "yu" sound and the "sheng" sound are in Arabic.

Anyway, so cute.

By the way, this same thing happened with a different group of school children I ran into a day later as well.

* * *

There is also a photoset on Flickr with some photos of me being a tourist, plus other miscellaneous photos from the trip.

All images and text copyright © Liao Yusheng. He can be reached at liao@yusheng.ca.