Men in the United States do not, as a rule, ask for directions. My father refuses to even follow someone to get where we’re going. He claims the leader is going too slowly and wants to get there faster. Of course, like the proverbial tortoise and hare, Dad would have to stop and wait for the leader to catch up and tell us which turn to next.
In Egypt men have absolutely no problem asking for directions. In fact, cars will stop in the middle of the freeway to give directions to a nearby car. I’ve even witnessed cars back up on the freeway to direct other motorists. Incredibly, this fazes none of the other drivers in the least.
The other day I was in a taxi trundling along at 50 miles an hour, when suddenly we start slowing down. I look up from the back seat to see the driver hanging out the window shouting across to a driver in a neighboring car:
“Is this the road to Alexandria?” shouts the other driver, across his wife in the front seat.
“No, not yet. Keep driving for another two kilometers then take the road marked with a sign that says ‘Alexandria.'” screams out my driver.
“Thanks!” the other guy shouts as he pulls back into traffic.
“Anytime” my driver calls out as we too pull back into the flow of cars, cutting off a dump truck in the process.
Meanwhile the rest of the world’s traffic has simply gone around the two stopped cars in the middle of the highway, kind of like rocks in a stream.
It happened even today. My driver was stopped at a red light (a true rarity) and the driver in the taxi next to us called out for directions. I didn’t hear exactly where he wanted to go, but I did notice that the other cab had two foreigners in it. Seems to me that the other driver saw that my driver had a foreigner in the back seat, and figured he’d know where a couple of other foreigners might want to go. Seems legit, right?
This is a total myth here in Egypt: