Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surviving the Cairo Marketplace

Kids are on holiday beak for three full weeks.  I loooove my kids, but I can't say that I'm fully looking forward to all that time with them.  Sure, we're planning on baking cookies, and decorating a bit more for Christmas, and we'll be hitting the pool pretty heavy.  But, it's really a lot of time.  Especially considering the excitement surrounding Santa and all his impending goodies...
Nice view of some shops.

So the fab hubby and I got a sitter for the afternoon and snuck out for a date.  He took me to Khan al Khalili and we did some shopping.  We've been there once before and we were bombarded, and I do mean BOMBARDED with sales pitches.  It was horribly overwhelming, being asked by every single shop owner to come in! It's free to look! Hallo! Are you American?! Canadian!? French?! German?! Welcome! Only 5 pounds! Lots to see! Statutes, boxes, silver, gold, scarves, purses! Come see! Come in! Come in! COME IN!!!

The Khan is HUGE, crowded, busy. But it's also a treasure trove of, well, stuff.  All stuff.  Any of the cool Egyptian trinkets you could ever want.  Pashminas galore.  Galabyas beyond your wildest dreams.  Silver and gold jewelry and it's beautiful.  Of course, there's the bargaining (someone once told me to go 1/2 of what they initially ask for, but I'm never comfortable doing that).  And then there's the polite attempt on our part to say "dang, I just don't need another mini gold camel."  It's way harder than you'd think.  Way.

Today I wanted a new silver necklace and a new pashmina.  The fab hubby and I both wanted a nice little lunch.  And we thought the kids might dig some galabyas (traditional Egyptian garb).  

We knew where to get lunch and it was awesome.  Falafel, beef shawarma, hummus.  Hibiscus juice, which I can't get enough of.  And some tasty baladi bread and pita chips.  Then we shopped.

And this trip - success!  Maybe it's because we were more comfortable than the first time we shopped.  Maybe it's because the market was busy and we were able to "blend in" a bit more (haha, sure...), or maybe it's because all the requests to look!shop!buy! don't faze us nearly as much as they used to.

I'm not gonna say we got super cheap bottom-price deals on everything - but we paid what we thought was fair and that's important to us in bargaining here.  I don't like bargaining down the merchants too far - they have families to feed and this is their livelihood.  We especially love the handmade items and are always willing to pay more for quality.


Found that pashmina to add to my growing collection.

Found a gorgeous silver necklace and handmade pendant with delicate color inlay.  I've wanted a sort of statement silver piece from Egypt and I'm so happy to have found it.

Found throw pillows for our very plain-yet-serviceable State Department couch.  

Found galabyas for all the kids.  Which they're now wearing as PJs.  Well, except for the baby.  His turned out to be a wee bit big.  Of course, he'll grow into it soon enough!  I was looking for something more traditional for Abby, but a two-piece set with embroidered camels really stood out, and that's what we ended up buying her.  She, of course, loves it!

Normal traffic.  It's nonstop here.

That's how we roll in Egypt.

Sometimes, you just see random stuff like this.  Dude on the roof.

In case you didn't believe your eyes when you saw the first pic.

New jammies.  I couldn't resist the camels.

Reading on her own!

Little dude loves his new galabya.

Cuz the kids need to realize I'm watching them.  All the time.

1 comment:

  1. I am a shopkeepers dream. They give me a highly inflated price and I say SOLD! I absolutely hate to haggle.