Images of Egypt - Luxor

by Michel
(Goring-on-Thames)

I had got up very early. I wanted to visit the town, take a stroll through the market, and see how the Egyptians lived away from the noise and the frenetic pace of Cairo, where I had been a few days before. Walking through the dusty streets, admiring the fruit and vegetables displayed on blankets on the ground, I began to understand how vital the Nile is for these people: a mode of communication, of course, but also an indispensable source of water to nourish the crops.

A few women, wrapped up in their black robes, walked about, chatting all the while. Some farmers, with toothless smiles, unloaded their donkeys. I turned off the main square towards a quiet residential neighbourhood. I wanted to take some pictures of Egyptian people. I had photographed many buildings so far churches, monuments, the Pyramids but no people, apart from two jovial gentlemen in Cairo, who had been more than happy to let me record them smoking their hookah.

A boy was playing at the end of the street. When he saw me, and particularly my camera, he ran towards me shouting “Baksheesh, baksheesh. It is a game in this part of the world. Used to Americans laden with banknotes, the children compete to have their picture taken.

I smiled, which gave the children hope. As if by magic, twenty clamouring children suddenly appeared, each one pleading for his and her rightful baksheesh. To make sure that I wasn't going to change my mind, they immediately formed a highly picture-worthy human pyramid. I had no option; the picture was now mandatory! I handed out a few banknotes to the group of young stars, shook a few hands, then turned back towards the market, mission accomplished. The children, work done, disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

Only one, braver than the rest of his playmates and perhaps more mischievous followed me, still pleading: Baksheesh, Meester, Baksheesh.

He deserved all the money in the world!

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