7 Nov 2010
MEMELESS SUNDAY - EAST MEETS WEST
My 2 weeks holidays in Hurghada/Egypt, were not only good for my health but also very interesting because we were a very international mixture of people in our Hotel.
For the first time in my rather long life I heard languages from countries I only knew from the map, but never had the opportunity to go to these countries and meet these people who all came from the Eastern bloc. Since the cold war is over they are now free to travel and East and West suddenly find themselves nose to nose in the same hotel.
I had never met Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Estonians and of course never had heard these languages either. To me they all sounded Russian because these were the first Eastern people I had met in Egypt. I shouldn't say Russians because all people in the ex Soviet Union speak Russian, but Russia is now a rather small country. The Soviet Union has split into so many little countries that I am lost with the names ! I really should update my geography.
In my hotel were mostly Russians (from Russia and not from the Ukraine, which is a big difference in education and behaving) and also from Poland and the above mentioned countries.
Very very few people spoke another language than their own, of course nobody spoke English except the younger generation. English was banned from schools because of the cold war. Americans spoke English and they were the worst ennemies.
So it was quiet funny to see how people tried (or not) to communicate. Especially in the elevator. Mostly we had a silent agreement and said "Good Morning", or "Hello" but some of them said these words in their language (I suppose, unless they said a bad word, anyway nobody from the Western people understood) and some others just said nothing and admired their feet.
Probably due to this communication difficulties there were two camps : East and West. The Germans, Dutchs and English spoke all English of course with the personel, the others tried to communicate in Russian. Egyptians are really very talented for languages, they have learned in a very short time to speak Russian !
The funniest thing was that all Western countries payed in Euros, but the Eastern countries all in Dollars ! Big wads of Dollar notes were especially used by the Russian speaking people ! (no roubles !) They carried all the cash proudly in their pockets and were surprised when it was stolen ! (Which of course happened in the streets, pick pockets are clever !) In a way I can understand them. They were locked in for generations and now suddenly are free to travel and spend money ! They will learn too.
The Egyptians are happy, money doesn't stink, and they don't care if the tourists are from East or West money is badly needed ! On top of that the Eastern people pay all prices, while the Western once had learned to haggle !
But in the evening when the shows were going on, we didn't need languages to laugh and have fun all together !
East and West all together for the Show !