Cotton candy street vendor, photo by Mika Elgendi,

5 Egyptian street vendors you would hardly find in Western countries

This one is from my favorite series of “unusual job roles” I have seen only in Egypt. Last time I spoke about "men, who come to your door" kind of services. This time, I want to talk about street vendors. Some of them I meet daily and sometimes, all of them in one day. If I get lucky.

Chodari guy

Chodari is a man selling fresh produce photo by Mika Elgendi www.cairoconfident.comI love when this guy comes. It’s a man in galabeya, with a horse or a donkey pulling a carriage loaded with veggies and fruits. He has two helpers with him as well. Just like Santa :) This is how it works. He is shouting ” bataaataaas, gazaaaar, batiiich, basaaaal…” (potatoes, carrot, melon, onion…) and slowly passing though the neighborhood. If you want to buy something, you call him from the window and tell him what you want. If you live too high to be heard, you can tell him your order via building intercom by the door, or call your bawab to go get you what you need.

I see some ladies have a basket tied to a rope on their balconies. They throw them down with money in it and chodari fills it with goodies. Call it whatever, I think it’s the oldest and coolest system haha. My son loves chodari man. He loves to watch when they feed the horse or donkey with carrots or some faulty veggies. My mother also loves him. She came to visit us from Slovakia zillion times, and yet every time she sees him from the balcony, she runs inside to get her camera, screaming: “donkeeey donkeeey” (me: facepalm).

Cotton Candy Guy

Cotton candy guy in streets of Cairo photo by Mika Elgendi www.cairoconfident.comNow we are entering my less favorite job role zone. First one is a cotton candy guy. I was not bothered by this boy, until the day my child was born, and I was desperately trying to put him to sleep for 2 hours straight. The minute I did, there he comes. Together with his annoying and super loud whistle, that all kids can hear even through the 7 walls, on the 12th floor, in the running shower! What I have always been wondering  about, is why most of the cotton candy men sell prefferably pink cotton candy. Message me please, if you know.

Bekia Bekia Guy

There is a man, who drives through our street 2-3 times a day. He has this motorcycle/ pickup vehicle with 5 wheels, motorcycle front and pickup truck back. He is calling “Bekia Bekiaaaa” with a high pitched voice, which means something like an "old stuff". He basically buys old stuff, repairs it and resells afterwards. I have seen them with things so beyond repair, that my guess is, they also sell it per kilo in some kind of raw materials collection point.

Laymoon Nea Nea Guy

There are these “farmer looking men” wearing light colored galabeyas (a long shirt dress that reaches down to the ground) with a big cotton bags on their shoulders. They shout: ” laymooon nea nea ” which means lemons and peppermint. They can be very persistent and might follow you for a while, untill you finally give in and get a bunch of peppermint, you were actually not planning to bring home in the first place. Egyptians like peppermint a lot and they put it into their black tea, fresh or dry. Btw, on the side note, if you order a peppermint tea in the restaurant, you will get black tea with peppermint in it. So one has to order peppermint tea with no tea, get it ?

Ambuba Guy

Fifth one on the list, is a man, or better said 2 men, who also don’t speak, but make a horrendous noise. They drive around the area on a pickup truck with those small blue gas tanks. They sell full ones and collect the empty ones to refill them. One is driving and the other one has some sort of a metal stick or a wrench and keeps hitting that gas tank with it so hard, that you can hear them coming, while they are still at the border with Sudan.

And that’s my five for today. Let me know, whom I forgot to mention on this precious list. TTYL

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Chodari is a man selling fresh produce photo by Mika Elgendi
Cotton candy guy in streets of Cairo photo by Mika Elgendi

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