Monday, June 11, 2012

Donkey Carts in Egypt


The stores come to you in Egypt. At least twice a day, a loudspeaker blares from the road by my apartment building with a merchant selling his wares, ranging from vegetables to milk to rugs to toys. Sometimes they're in trucks, sometimes donkey carts.


Egyptian women will lower baskets, attached to ropes, off their balconies and yell out their order. The wares are put in, pulled back up, and then payment goes back down. Of course, there are plenty of stores, too, but this way is traditional and handier for some.


Like the milkmen of old, the merchants have set routes, and their donkeys could do them blindfolded. I've seen guys sleeping on their wagons while their donkey pulls them down busy streets and in and out of traffic. (Never underestimate the intelligence of donkeys.)

In farmland, donkeys are used to take produce from the fields. This one is carrying sugar cane. Sometimes, I wish my novels could include pictures for those who wonder if I'm getting the facts right or think donkeys pulling big carts are a figment of my imagination. Nope, it's just an average day in Egypt!

21 comments:

Kelly Hashway said...

It's so interesting to see how things are done (on a regular basis) in different places. I love the part about lowering baskets to get orders. Now that is service. :)

Jessie Harrell said...

how cool! I love these posts. And I sort of wish the food would come to me -- that would be nice.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What neat pictures. Special delivery to your door. I could like that.

My brother was stationed in Egypt during WWII and I have some lovely Christmas cards, with camels, from him. He also met his wife there. A lovely romance story.

Kate Larkindale said...

Do the women ever fail to send the money down after the food comes up? I can see that as being a flaw in this system....

tfwalsh said...

That is so cool... I love the idea of lowering a bucket for your goods. People still use donkeys in Romania too, more so in the country than the city, but still, it's normal everyday activity for them. Great photos.

Cathy said...

Well that's fun. Nobody ever comes to our door but political activists and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Catherine Stine said...

The lowering of the basket reminds me of what my upstairs neighbors do to lower their keys when they throw parties, so people can get in without them having to run downstairs! Seriously, great photos, all.

nutschell said...

those donkey carts look heavy. I hope the donkeys don't break their backs. :P
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

kmckendry said...

That's cool, some days I would love having the store come to me.

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks for sharing these photos. I've never seen a donkey cart before, but now I at least have an idea what one would look like.

I've had sugar cane, it's a childhood memory. Sweet and chewy. Hard to find in Canada.

Thanks for the follow and the comment, nice to meet you!

Lynda R Young said...

Ha, I love the basket technique of getting wares.

Honey said...

That is adorable! Maybe we should go back to donkeys here in the States. That would eliminate the problem of texting while driving, DUI's, road rage, etc.
While I lived in the rainforest in South America, the garbage truck was a donkey pulled cart.

Southpaw said...

Donkey's are so adorable. I love that they still use baskets. I can see that coming in handy.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Whoa, I never knew donkey's were so versatile LOL! Maybe we could use them here in Chicago -- it would make the congestion and air quality better!

Robyn Campbell said...

I want a donkey on our farm. *sigh* Hubby says, "No way!"

Egypt must be beautiful. I think I'll learn about it over here, so when we are studying it in our homeschool unit on geography I'll have lots to say. Love a store that comes to me. :-)

*waves peace sign*

Precy Larkins said...

Very cool. I like how they lower the basket to purchase items--I want one here, so I don't have to drive to the store. Hehehe!

It's nice to meet you, Lexa! Thanks for following my blog. I'm following you now. :)

Fairday Morrow said...

How fascinating! I had no idea that shopping was done in such a way in Egypt. I love the idea of lowering a basket and shouting out an order. Thanks so much for providing pictures to go with the facts and details.

~Jess

alexia said...

I wish I could lower down a basket and get groceries without leaving the house! And donkies are so darn cute. I want a mini donkey to go along with the two horses I have.

Nice to meet you, by the way!

sallybosco said...

Hi Lexa! I love your blog. You have such interesting articles. To us in the states who are so used to getting in our cars to go out and buy the necessities of life, to think that they come to you is pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing your photos and story

Medeia Sharif said...

How fascinating, especially with the baskets dropping down and sleeping merchants.

Have a great week.

sallybosco said...

These are great photos, Lexa! I have a small donkey-cart planter which I've had since I was little, and seeing some real ones is a special treat.

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