10 Funny Facts About Egyptians That You Must Know

Courtesy of Why Kei via Unsplash

I am one of those poor Egyptian souls who greatly suffer from waiting for people to show up on time, I always initiate the “let’s go out kind of spirit” to end up facing the biggest disappointments of last-minute canceling.

As I was fortunate enough to travel here & there, and meet with travelers from all over the world, I have noticed that there are things about us Egyptians that overwhelm foreigners without we even notice it.

When invited to an 8 PM wedding don’t go on time

Unless it’s the religious ceremony, it’s RARE, even SCARCE that it’s gonna start on time, believe me, it won’t start before 10-11 PM -only if you know for sure that the bride & groom are punctual people which is rare too.

Wedding photo courtesy of Wu Jianxiong via UnsplashWedding photo courtesy of Wu Jianxiong via Unsplash

The biggest lie we tell “easy” is “I will be there in 5 minutes”

It’s NEVER 5 minutes, it’s at least half an hour. Sometimes we can blame it on traffic, but most of the times we are the ones to be blamed, as we lose track of time, for God’s sake some people don’t even check what time it is.

The second lie: when we say I am on my way it doesn’t mean we are

Because we hate to admit to the counterpart -poor me- that we are so freaking late, and are not ready to hear all the blame.

When an Egyptian tells you I'm on my way expectations vs reality

We are the masters of recycling

Though we don’t have a versatile recycling system as other parts of the world, and barely separate between garbage categories, yet we master recycling; we re-use empty jam jars, juice bottles, cartons, you name it! Nothing can get out of home to waste.

Whether hungry or full you must eat when food is served

It’s considered a severe offense if you are offered -with persistence- or served food without eating it, it’s not really our concern whether you’re hungry or full, what matters is eating what you are served and enjoying it, hehe.

Whether hungry or full you must eat when food is served

Our plans are tentative until the last minute

Real scenarios

With Foreigners

  • Them -on Monday: Let’s go out on Friday after work, grab a bite then go to the movies
  • Me: Sounds great.
  • Me -on Wednesday- thinking to myself; are we still on?
  • Me -on Thursday: hey guys, are we still on?
  • Them: yes, why do you think else?
  • Me: because nobody confirmed.
  • Them: well since nobody canceled, so our plans are on.

And on Friday without even calling, texting or confirming we met in our meeting point ON TIME.


Egyptian friends

  • Me -on Sunday: Let’s do something over the weekend.
  • Them -after too many messages on WhatsApp trying to agree on the place & time: Ok, Friday sounds good.
  • Some of them on Thursday late at night: X I won’t be able to make it, Y I forgot that we are going out tomorrow and already have other plans, why do you plan so early?, Z I don’t even like this place

1. The outing will happen with everybody running late, or 2. a last minute call to cancel, or 3. you randomly find out that your friends will be at least one hour late :'(

When you ask for directions it’s a miracle if somebody tells you “sorry I don’t know”

I have no idea why we hate to admit that sometimes “we don’t know” where the place is, there are 2 scenarios; whether give you wrong directions unintentionally so we don’t tell you “I don’t know” or ask you “howa alak fen?” meaning the person who gave you the address told you where is it?

When you ask an Egyptian for directions expectations vs reality


When we invite you in “etfadal” we don’t always mean it

It’s  just part of our culture to always invite, whether we really mean it, or not, which confuses the hell out of foreigners. So to stay on the safe side you’d better decline the invitation politely, & wait for your host’s reaction, if he doesn’t insist hard enough it means s/he was just being nice, but if s/he does for several times then s/he is happy to welcome you.

When asking for the bill and told “khaliha 3alena el mara-di” meaning it’s on the house or “wala 7aga” meaning nothing

It’s a joke, you must pay unless they insist, & you must insist harder.

When we offer to pay you for something even when we mean it we expect some resistance

The weirdest thing for us would be, to offer someone to pay the bill without any resistance from his/her side.

That's how Egyptians fight over the bill

What other things should foreigners know about us? Let us know in the comments below ;)…

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Egyptian. Ex-Lawyer. Former Corporate Slave. Travel Blogger & Photographer. Proud Kilimanjaro Summiteer. Budget Traveler. Thrill Seeker. Foodie.
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    • menna
    • January 14, 2018

    So accurate!

    1. Reply

      hehehe 😀

  1. Pingback: Arabic 101 for First Time Visitors to Egypt | Why Not Egypt?

    • John
    • January 20, 2018

    Slowly learning myself what Egyptian time is …

    A little patience and love.

    This article very cute and true.
    Thank you

    1. Reply

      A little patience, you sure? hahaha
      Thanks John 😀

  2. Pingback: 52 Fun Things to Do in Cairo & Where to Find Them | Why Not Egypt?

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