Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Language un-barrier

It goes without saying that Egypt attracts tourists from around the world, who drive the country’s economy. We were expecting tons of tour groups and lots of people living up to their appropriate ridiculous stereotypes. (Ever seen a tour guide frantically waving a Hello Kitty stuffed cat to get the attention of his wards?) But we weren’t expecting the facility of the Egyptian tour guides - at least outside of what we have started to think of as the European “tourist” languages of French, Italian, and German.

Egyptians in the museum cracking jokes in Japanese. Talking about the sacerdotes and amores about hieroglyphics in Spanish. Rounding up dozens of Chinese, shouting to other tour guides and chatting over shared cigarettes in Mandarin.

And, of course, English, English, English everywhere. My voice is my passport. Verify me.

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