At dusk I was heading to my hotel in Luxor when I was approached by a skinny boy of about 15 wearing tattered jeans. Long, stringy hair hung over his pimpled forehead and he quickly fell into step with me.
'You want taxi?'
'You look for hotel?'
'No, got one.'
'Nope, done that.'
'You like tour for Karnak?'
'How about the drug?'
'Sex? You like sex?'
I stopped and looked him up and down.
'You're a little young for me.'
I had to give this fella ten points for trying and that's the way it was in Luxor. The touts in that city were the most persistent sons-of-bitches I'd ever experienced anywhere in the world and that includes the armless, legless and eyeless children I saw in India. I felt sorry for these Egyptian touts because I knew they were desperately poor, the average wage per month being $50.
I discovered the only way to deal with them was to keep walking with my eyes locked into the future - no stopping, no turning around, no eye contact, no giving thanks to God. Nada. To communicate anything is tantamount to saying yes and you'll never shake off a tout once he's glommed on to you.