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Hieroglyphics, Camels, and Cats: The Hilarious Misconceptions Westerners Have About Egypt

July 2, 2024
Photo Source: Reddit

Ah, the wonders of the Western world and their fascinating perceptions of Egypt. As a journalist, I’ve had the privilege of hearing some truly remarkable tales from Egyptian students who’ve ventured abroad, only to be met with a delightful array of misconceptions about their homeland. 

Prepare to be thoroughly entertained, dear readers, as we dive into the most absurd and downright comical things Westerners have said about the land of the Nile.

Let’s start with the classic: reading hieroglyphics. Some Americans believe that all Egyptians possess this skill as casually as brushing their teeth. I was bewildered by this notion, as one guy thought we Egyptians could just read hieroglyphics every day. It was as if he expected me to whip out a chisel and start carving on the nearest wall. 

And the misconceptions don’t stop there. Camels and horses seem to be the preferred mode of transportation for Westerners when it comes to Egypt. Hussein El Rayes, 28, a banker, recounts, “An American asked me if the song ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ was our national anthem. I couldn’t believe it —he also thought we were all still dressed like ancient Egyptians and rode camels to work.”

Photo Source: IMDb

But wait, there’s more! Seif Ghadir, 30, a construction engineer, was approached by an Australian student who was convinced that Egyptians still worship cats, just like in the good old days of ancient Egypt. “He couldn’t believe that we have stray cats and actually adopt them, without any form of reverence. It was as if he thought we were all just a bunch of feline-worshiping pharaohs.”

Photo Source: Daily Art Magazine

And the crown jewel of these hilarious misconceptions comes from Mustafa Khaled, 25, an upcoming music producer. During his time as an architecture student in Coventry, England, Khaled was asked on his very first day if he lived inside one of the pyramids of Giza. “I was stunned —the guy was completely serious and expected me to give him the name of one of the three pyramids as my address.”

Photo Source: Discovery. Photo: Mustafa Khaled’s address in the eyes of the West.

These are just a few examples of the mind-boggling perceptions that Westerners have about Egypt. From hieroglyphics to cat worship, it seems that the land of the pharaohs is still shrouded in a veil of ancient mysticism and stereotypes in the eyes of many. At least it provides us Egyptians with a never-ending source of amusement and a chance to educate our well-meaning, yet hilariously misinformed, friends from abroad.

It’s not just the students who have been subjected to these comical misconceptions, though. Egyptians living and working in the West have also had their fair share of bewildering encounters. 

Take, for instance, the case of Abdelrahman Shamel, 27, a cybersecurity analyst based in Québec, Canada “One time, a colleague asked me if we had electricity and running water in Egypt. I had to resist the urge to burst out laughing —it was as if they thought we were still living in ancient times.”

So, the next time you encounter a Westerner who thinks we all live in pyramids and ride camels to work, remember to smile, nod, and politely correct them. After all, the only thing we Egyptians casually do every day is enjoy a good laugh at these classic misconceptions. And who knows —maybe one day, the rest of the world will catch up to the 21st-century reality of our vibrant, diverse, and ever-changing country.

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