04 Jun Egypt: Conversation
Personal space is generally very close compared to Western sensibilities. Don’t back away if you feel your personal space being invaded – this will be interpreted as being cold or distant or blatent rejection. Expect touching of your arm or shoulder or back during conversation.
You need to know the Arabic phrase for “No, thank you.” – “Laa Shokran”. Use this often when approached on the street by vendors or children asking for money or inviting you to take their photograph (for money).
Egyptians have a self-critical sense of humor and use it often. Don’t make the mistake of joining in and criticizing others or their culture.
Bad topics – family and wives; religion; money (how much things cost unless you are at the bazaar). You will be asked many very personal questions about your faith, family life, and politics (expecially by taxi drivers). You have a choice whether you wish you to answer or not.