Hey there globe trotter! Staying here at “My Hostel”, I just got to thinking… As a person who showed up to Egypt with only 0 words in Arabic, I wish someone shared with me these few 10 words that would’ve highly improved my interactions and experience in the country.
So let me share them with you!
1- First things first; Shokran: Thank you.
This is a phrase you’re going to want to know right away before even clearing customs. Because as soon as you do, taxi men will approach, and you will need it.
Shokran literally means “thank you” but it’s used as both a “polite thank you” and “no thank!”
Egyptian marketers can be quite pushy sometimes, so say to vendors, street peddlers, taxis and anyone trying to sell you something “Shokran”, and they know you’re not interested.
2- La-a: No.
La- a can be used kindly in front if shokran as “no thank you” or more firm with vendors in case they don’t go away with a simple shokran.
3- Salam Alaykum: Hello.
Literally it means (peace be upon you) but it’s used for hello or maybe to quickly get the attention of anyone offering customer service.
4- Izayak/ik, Ma-salaam: izayak(m) izayik(f): Hello(how are you), Ma-Salaama: Goodbye
In case you get invited for an Egyptian dinner and want to impress your host, try these 2!
5-(Bikem)Bee-kem: How much?
Super useful for negotiating in markets!
6- Hammam: RESTROOM/toilet!
In case you have a weak bladder like me and always need to ask this when out and about.
7- Mayya(My-ya): Water.
I think I don’t need to explain why and how useful this is in the dessert “wink”.
8- Fin: Where?
Even without knowing any other Arabic, you can always point to what you’re trying to find on your phone and say “fin” and locals can help you on your way.
9- Yimean: Right, Shemal: left, Alatool: Straight.
Now when you ask where something is, you can understand the response haha.
10- Last but not least… Hisab: Check/Bill.
Special tip if you want to be cool, you can form your hand like you’re holding an imaginary pen and write a check mark in the air and say “hisab”. The check will come right away!
I hope these little tips are resourceful to you!
Check out my IG to see how photogenic Egypt is and obviously make sure to let the brothers host you at “My Hostel” when you’re in Dahab.
-Ma salaama, Hawwa M Instagram