I was in Cairo in November 2008 to make a short film for an exhibition curated by Nav Haq and Tirdad Zolghadr entitled Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie at the Townhouse Gallery.
Althought I had visited some twenty five years ago, Cairo is still an amazing experience.
In some downtime I went to visit two mosques side-by-side, the majestic Sultan Hassan and Ar Rifa’r which contains the tomb of the Shah of Iran. As a tourist you need tickets to enter. There was a wooden kiosk with a lady inside. I ask for a ticket.
“Sultan Hassan and Sha’s tomb. Two tickets, 25 Egyptian pounds each. 50 pounds”
“Student card? Special price. Discount.”
“No, I'm not a student; I don't have one.”
“No student card? Um, teacher, special guest, visitor………..? Two tickets, 30 pounds.”
“Oh, ok great, I’m a professor.”
I get my university identity card out my wallet
“What’s this? Not international. No good.”
“Oh, ok well……. Ok then, well………… I’ll pay the full amount.”
“No card. Tuh. No card. Ok, for you I make special price. Special price 30 pounds.”
“Oh, Thank you, thank you very much.”
I hand over a 100 pound note.
“How much change I give you?"
“Um, 70 pounds"
Lady looks at me pitifully, and explains very slowly
“Two tickets 25 pounds each, 50 pounds. I give you special discount, two tickets 30 pounds. How much change I give you?"
“Um, oh, ok I see. How about, um, 60 pounds?"
The attendant slowly counts the change and hands me back 60 pounds.
It's a win-win situation.
Sultan Hassan mosque