"Is there no supermarket, you know, like a big mall?" a Japanese woman asked me - and indeed - there is none. Instead there is the suq, a big market about three kilometres long, where you can get everything, ripe and tasty fruits and vegetable, live poultry, meat cut with a sabre from the half of a cattle hanging between street and shop, at one stall fresh fish is brazed in tins for conservation, the soldering iron heated on coal.
Soft foulards, clothes, tea, herbs and frankincense bis as cobbles are offered in the narrow alleys of the suq. Children ask to polish shoes to earn money for their families, Juiceshops provide refreshments. For example "Assir Assab", juice from sugarcane pressed out of rods, two meters long, made in front of your eyes, and which is as refreshing, that most people drink it without setting the glass down inbetween.
All photos on this website:
thank you Claude Le Roux
Of course, there are also a lot of souvenir shops on the Aswan Suq. Especially near the train station. Ignore the many "do you remember me?", "where do you come from?", "I know you!"
If someone walks after you, tell him "Ma'a salam" (bye bye) or "La shoukran" (no, thank you) and ignore every more attempt to get your attention. Just keep on walking and enjoy the many colors, scents, scenery.
Often we are asked to accompany our guests on the suq - but we refuse, as there is no reason to have a guard or help.
If you want to buy something, think what you would be prepared to pay and be happy - even if you will learn someone else paid less. Ask and negotiate here and there but dont buy! Dont let yourself invite for tea - it will be harder to leave - especially if you dont buy anything.
At this point we want to give a warning: if anyone should offer to come with you, the shopkeeper will have to give commission to this person. So forget about "better" prices and dont trust the person who offers to "help" you!!