Monday, February 9, 2009

Roadside Bizarre

Outside of markets and regular shops, some Egyptians sell their goods by walking up to cars on busy roads. Women in full hijab yell "Madam, madam!" (I am often "ma'amed" in the States, and apparently even here people take me for a middle-aged, married woman) and try to sell me their vegetables. Young children press their faces against the windows of taxicabs, clutching wilted herbs. Old men in wheelchairs roll up to the driver's side and offer up tissues for sale. Though slightly irritating at times, these attempts at making a living seem remotely feasible.

I witness a much stranger enterprise on my way to school every morning: A pair of men standing in the middle of a busy highway, waving inflatable penguins at passing motorists. The articles in question come in a variety of sizes for all your household needs, and a small flock of them bobbles merrily to and fro on the cement median between opposing traffic lanes. 
Now, I ask myself, why, why would these grown men set out every day to try and sell inflatable penguins to other grown men and women? Did they win a lifetime supply through a sweepstakes, for which they simply have no room or use? Do they really think they have found a viable niche market in the Egyptian economy? Of course, perhaps they have, and I will be proven horribly wrong when they emerge as Egypt's next multimillionaires, but I doubt it.
And on that note, more on Egyptian wealth to come.


  1. What I did not hear you say was "I bought an inflatable penguin." Why did I not hear you say this?

  2. To add to that, why did I not hear you say, "I bought Kacey an inflatable penguin."

    Something is wrong here, Anna.