Get Knotted

WP_20131128_035I have organised a tour of the local sights and will be shown around by my driver Mahmood and my guide Ashraf. They clearly get paid for dragging tourists to establishments during their tours, but are an entertaining couple to spend the day with.

I enjoyed listening to them argue the merits of both sides of the current political situation. Mahmood is in favour of removed President Mohammed Morsi, whereas Ashraf (and the majority of the rest of Egyptians from what I can gather) is happy about the actions of armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi earlier this year in response to mass demonstrations.

Carpet weavingI didn’t offer much on the topic because I didn’t want to get dragged into a day long argument and was bound to say the wrong thing to one of them. As a result I was glad when we reached the carpet “school” in Saqqara, south west of the city, which you see above.

It is the first opportunity for one of their contacts to try and sell me some stuff I hadn’t realised I needed, but I also get a tour of the factory where speciality carpets are hand made using cotton, wool, camel hair and most expensively silk.

WP_20131128_038The use of children to make the products is inevitable because quality is measured by the number of knotted threads per square centimetre, and their nimble little fingers are far better at tying small silk knots than somebody with bear paws such as my own would be.

I am treated to tea to keep me in the shop longer while a variety of them are thrown at my feet. Thankfully having sold my flat to come on this trip I am homeless and it is an argument they cannot around no matter how hard they try.

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