Khan El Khalili-Bazaar
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Stop and Smell the Spices
This gentleman caught my eye from his stool in the back of the store as I wandered through the narrow alleys of the Khan el-Khalili souk in Cairo, and he beckoned me to come in. Thinking of my already overstuffed suitcase and still a bit skittish from the hard sales tactics of the other shopkeepers, I shook my head and remained on the street, but when I raised my camera to signal my desire to take his picture, he readily consented and even posed a little. Now I wish I had stopped and ventured inside his shop. It was an oasis of calm in the chaos of the rest of the souk, and it smelled wonderful. Next time I'll definitely stop in, and I'll remember that when properly motivated, I can always make a little more room in my luggage, especially for something small like spices, the smell of which can quickly bring me back to just such a moment.
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Wandering the Bazaar in Cairo
Cairo's Khan El Khalili bazaar brings to life for me the stories from the Arabian Nights that I used to read as a kid. The bazaar is a narrow chaotic maze of large and tiny shops selling anything and everything from wall hangings, to spices, to hookahs, to articles so covered in dust you feel like you are purchasing something that is really antique! Emerging from the bazaar made me feel like I was coming out of another world. Tip: bargaining is a must, when you are about to walk away they will follow you and continue to bargain.
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