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Thermia Palace, Piestany, Slovakia

Thermia Palace, Piestany, Slovakia

For my sister’s wedding almost four years ago, I began my battle of the bulge with ‘Operation Megan Fox’. I was determined to look good for her special day and I didn’t want to appear like a shlumpadinka in my dress. I stuck to it and dropped the weight using the Slim Fast Shakes and watching what I ate.I looked better and healthier too. I had intended on following through, but life always throws us some curve balls. In all honesty, I fell off and got back on the wagon many times since then. I couldn’t figure out what the invisible force was that kept preventing me from accomplishing my goal of releasing my trapped thin self, until I did a detox earlier this year and discovered that  unbeknownst to me, I was the invisible force, who kept poisoning my body with foods that I thought were healthy and good for me. While I had a silent allergy to them.

With this new-found knowledge of what foods weren’t good for me, I gave away and threw out a lot of products to make room for foods that were nutritious for me. During the clean out, I also got rid of clothes I hadn’t been able to fit into for a while, which served as a constant reminder of what I used to be and the intention of keeping them was to encourage me to get back into them, when all they did was depress the hell out of me, so I gave them to the needy. Throughout this process, I began to do a lot of reflecting. I looked within myself to see what baggage I had been holding on to and I found that I had quite a bit of unresolved issues, resentment and pain that had been weighing me down. It wasn’t easy to let go of somethings because, it made me feel vulnerable and emotionally naked. I didn’t like the feeling at first, because that’s all I seemed to focus on and once I realized how much lighter I felt, I knew I had done the right thing.

Last Summer, I did a lot of growing up on my adventure to Central America as a chaperon for students and then visiting friends on the East Coast of the U.S. This summer, I decided it was time to face the problem head on and grab it by the horns. So, I booked my trip to a wellness spa retreat for 3 weeks in Slovakia, to reinvest in myself.

As the day of my departure grew nearer, I was excited but mostly nervous. I questioned myself and doubted my decision to do this. I could have gone to England and Ireland to see my family and friends for the money I was spending! How would I communicate with the people, they speak Slovakian and Russian mostly! The best I can do is count up to 4, say ‘Yes’ (Da) and Good bye (Dasvidanya)!

Thursday 24th July

I am up before the alarm clock and dashing around the house like the Tazmanian Devil from Loony Tunes, putting a few more items in my carry on and in my case. As well as making sure that I was leaving my flat in a decent condition for when I returned. At 7;45, I made my way downstairs and got into the waiting taxi to take me to Cairo International Airport. I sailed through the ticket counter and passport control. I met two acquaintances who we there traveling to enjoy their summers holidays. At 10am, I made my way to the gate and waited to board. The time came and the flight hadn’t been announced. Travelers started to get nervous and began asking questions. ‘The Flight has been delayed for maybe 40 minutes, they are preparing the aircraft’ was the response from the men at the counter. A bad omen to the start of my trip, I wondered or am I being tested? The flight ended up being delayed for 2 hours and many passengers including myself were not at all pleased! It meant I would be arriving much later than expected and would lose out on my consultation with the doctors! The flight may have only been three and half hours to Vienna, but it felt like it took an eternity! When we finally landed, I whizzed through passport control, found my bag on the carousel and dashed out to find my chauffeur, who would drive the two hours or so hours to Piestany, in Slovakia. The ride was quite and long. The driver spoke very little English and it would have been difficult to make hand signals and explain myself that way, whilst he drove. So, I ended up just admiring the landscape and the green foliage until we arrived.

Thermia Palace is a large French like ch√Ęteau on an island in the city/town of Piestany. The surrounding area around it was just so perfect and immaculate, I began to think I was on a movie set. It was so picturesque it could be on a postcard (I’m sure it is). I cringed at the thought of having to try to communicate with the hotel staff, but to my relief they spoke fairly good English. I checked in, was told my doctor’s appointment would be at 10am the following morning and then I would receive my schedule of treatments and meet with the nutritionist. I got to my room and the first thing I did was take pictures of it before I unpacked and contacted my  parents  to let them know I had arrived safely. My phone for some bizarre reason hadn’t automatically joined a network, so I had to depend on the hotel wi-fi to send messages.

After I had unpacked, I went for a leisurely stroll on the island to get my bearings. It was so nice to walk under the glow of street lamps and to the rhythm of rustling leaves in the summer breeze and not be harassed or gawked at by anyone. On my way back to the hotel, I held open the door for 3 women staying at the hotel and guess what…? 2 were from Egypt and 1 was from Lebanon!

Friday 25th July

I was up early after a much-needed rest. i dressed and went down for breakfast. I helped myself to the buffet, but chose my items wisely. After all, that’s the whole purpose of the trip. Once I had finished, I went for a walk to see the island in the light. It was a warm day and everything was so fresh looking, like a crisp salad.

At 10am I went for my doctor’s appointment, where I had my  blood pressure measured, along with my waist, thighs and my height. My weight too! (how could I forget). After asking if I suffered from any pain, the doctor asked me to strip down to my undies to get a better look at me, (Talk about exposure, or so I thought). She checked my bone agility, my problem areas (tummy, waist, thighs) and feet. Once that examination was completed she had a brain storm while muttering in Slovakian an she finger pecked the keyboard all the treatments she wants me to do. The whole process took 20-30 minutes.

Once I got my schedule, I then visited the nutritionist, who gave me apple cider tablets to take with breakfast every morning and asked what I would usually eat, eating habits and if there where certain foods I didn’t eat. When the meeting was done, I dashed back to my room, to grab my bathrobe and all the other items I would need for my afternoon of treatments.

First on the list was mud packs; sounds squidgy!

I get to the waiting area of where I need to be and a woman dressed all in white comes out and looks at my schedule and in a Slovakian accent asks me to wait one moment. Not long afterwards, I’m shown to a room, where, I am instructed to strip down to my skin and then I’m called into an adjoining room where, another woman also all in white, slabs down a cow pat of warm mud onto a bed covered in 3 different kind of sheets and instructs me to sit in it, while smearing mud on my tush. As I sit in the warm mud, I can feel it ooze into places, I wish I could prevent it from going to, I am then asked to lie down, where more mud is being generously applied on my problem areas; hip, knees and feet. As I’m being wrapped up like a new-born baby a cold metal ringed disk is placed on my chest and I am left for 20 minutes in dim lighting. Being cocoon with warm mud smeared on you, makes you drowsy. If it wasn’t for the cold metal thingy-m’bob I think I would have turned into a soft-boiled egg. Every 5 minutes a person comes to check on you to make sure you’re o.k and to wipes your face from sweat.

When the alarm goes off, after twenty minutes, you are unwrapped by two of the attendees and the mud is lightly scrapped off of you, so that you can get up. You are then led to a shower close by and left to wash off the mud. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Just when you think you have gotten it off, you find more! (You’ll find that when you take a shower later… more mud runs down the drain and for the life of you, you can’t figure out where it had been.)

Once your cleaned off, you go back into your cubical where you are given a cup of sparkling water (Perrier) and then told to lie down and rest. Where you are wrapped up again and left to… rest. After a short length of time, the attendee comes in to unwrap you and declare the session over. You get dressed and she returns your schedule with a signature on it and with that, you’re free to leave and make your way to your next treatment.

It’s important you get there 5-10 min before your appointment and you have to take your schedule with you everywhere, they are very punctual when it comes to timing and won’t allow you into a session if you don’t have your ‘card’, schedule.

Massage

I have never really enjoyed the thought of someone’s hands kneading my body like dough, until I had my first Thai massage in Gouna, so, I was looking forward to this. I know understand why people from Thermia Palace walk around in bathrobes. It saves them dressing and undressing several times. So, off come the clothes again and I lie on a bed in all my nakedness as a tall tanned short heard blond Slovakian woman massages my back for twenty minutes as I flinch when she works on the areas that are troubling me and then melt like butter when she massages the rest of my back with her oiled strong hands.

Magnet

After the massage I am whisked into another room nearby, where I am asked to hop on to another bed and there’s no need to take anything off. I lay on the bed and this plastic arch connected to a machine is slid and positioned above my mid-drift to allow magnetic waves to travel through my body. Again, I am left to drift off into the depths of my mind as the waves are left to do their work.

Elektro

Behind door three, I am then asked to sit on a bed and put my foot on a stool. I am handed a funky pair of glasses to put on. The glasses remind me of the ones Doc and Marty wore in ‘Back To The Future’, except they were cooler and everything had a green tint to it. A gel was applied to a device that was then put to my Achilles heel as a woman with pale turquoise talon like nails rubbed it against my weak tendons on both feet for less that 5 minutes. When the machine sounded, my session was over. Now, I had some free time… before my last session  of the day. What would I do?

I tried very hard to find the travel agency my mother ha d told me about when she had been here last summer because I wanted to rent a bicycle and see what day trips they offered to nearby cities and countries.  I followed her directions to the ‘T’ but couldn’t find the place. So, I decided to just walk. A past time I enjoy,  but rarely do since the revolution, because Sexual Harassment was rampant on every street no matter how conservatively I dressed. While I’m here, I will be walking my little socks off until my butt cheeks wince in pain, begging me to stop! (I did, just that!)

Gymnastic Slim 

I sat outside the room where the session was to be held on a hard wooden like bench. It was very reminiscent of films where students were sat outside the Headmaster or the Principles office when in trouble. Randa, the Lebanese woman whom I met  my first night here was taking part in the class too. At precisely   the time scheduled on the schedule, a small framed young girl came energetically up the stairs and opened the door. We waited a few moments for stragglers, but non came. We had our own private class.  We each got an inflatable ball and sat on it as instructed. For a full 20 minutes, were bouncing on the ball waving our arms and hands and occasionally  lifting our feet off the ground too. I had visions of one of us ending up like Humpty Dumpty, and going splat on the floor, just like the old children’s nursery rhyme says, but we all made it to the end!

Wooohooo!! All sessions completed for the day!

After the session I had quite a bit of time to kill before dinner, so Randa and I got to chatting and we ended up walking across the Danube River and into town, as we talked about our lives and occupation. It was very pleasant to talk to someone who had been to Piestany many times before and someone from the region. After our walk I went up to my room to shower, change and read a bit before dinner.

As I entered the restaurant for the third time that day, the Manager of the restaurant informed me that it was assigned seating. Everyone had their own table for the entire duration of their stay. Which was new to me, but I just went with the flow. I was also told the nutritionist had sent down my meal program for the 20 days  that I would be staying there. Having studied it while having dinner, I was impressed. They all sounded really tasty on paper, and I looked forward to trying each one!

Saturday 26th July 

I awoke early and went down to breakfast early.My  breakfast was quite a hearty and healthy one. A slice of toast, cottage cheese, slice of cold cut, one slice of Emmental Cheese, 2 boiled eggs, yogurt and on helping of raw oats, with a glass of fresh juice. Along with the two apple cider tablets, that I was instructed to take with breakfast. I was a stuffed dumpling after I was done. Seeing my first appointment wasn’t until 9 am, I decided to help my digestive system  and take a walk until it was time for my treatment. The calmness of the spa island is very relaxing. The stress I may have come with was no longer with me. The quietness, was deafening to my ears, they were not used to such quiet surroundings. I could actually hear my thoughts without the interruption of loud shouts coming from the street or the endless blazing of car horns and tire screeching from Cairo’s bustling traffic.

In my robe, I sat in the waiting area of the pristine IRMA spa building,  and waited to be called in for my appointment. I was asked to bare my back, lie face down and what looked like our rubber suction cups were placed on my back and as the attendee switched on the machine, the electric impulses began… I felt like Frankenstein! The current was strong and a bit uncomfortable to begin with, but I quickly got used to it and the sound of the machine lulled me into a light nap.

With an hour to spare I had enough time discover where the next session would be held. Once I had found the place I sat outside on a bench watching birds go about their life and the people passing by. When the time came for Water Gymnastics, the receptionist handed me a key and I followed the scent of wetness, until I found the changing room. They key was for a private vestier to leave my belongings in I quickly put on my swimsuit and made my way to the pool. As I rounded the corner and found the hook to hang my key and robe on, I couldn’t help but gasp. The pool areas was of stunning architecture, it resembled an old fashioned conservatory or solarium, with a sky light. It would be something you’d expect to see in the hit TV series Downton Abbey.  Being the photo junky that I am, all I wanted to do was run back and get my phone to take a picture and capture it.  I resisted the urge and ascended into the warm water of the pool. I found a place to stand and followed the instructors motions and enjoyed the session. After changing out of my swimwear and was about to leave for the next session, I snuck back to the pool area, unseen and took a picture. ( I couldn’t help myself!)

Parafango

I was very excited about this session because it sounded like a form of dance.  I thought it might be a combination of Tango and Flamenco, at the back of my mind I was fretting about whether my sneakers were appropriate shoes for the class. I was somewhat disappointed when I found out that it was not a dance class but another treatment session with mud. Only this time it wasn’t messy! For this treatment I was only required to be half naked from the neck to the waist and to lie on my stomach as warm solid blocks of mud were placed on my back from the nape of my neck to the bottom of my spine for 15 -20 minutes. I must admit that the warm mud blocks were very soothing and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I didn’t fight it and I enjoyed my little cat nap.

It may not have been a dance class but it certainly was enjoyable. I’m looking forward to my future sessions!

(I have no idea how this is meant to benefit me, but it was lovely)

At lunch time, I met the Lebanese woman in the restaurant where she informed me that it was her last day and she would be leaving tomorrow to spend some time in Paris. Before I headed back to my table, she said ‘wait’ and handed me a bag of Zaatar ‘hadi ilik’, which translates to ‘this is for you’ in the Lebanese dialect, she said as she handed it over to me. I was deeply touched. It was on our walk the previous day she learned how much I loved the herb mixture, when I told her that I had been in Zaatar heaven, when I visited Lebanon 2 years ago. I didn’t want to insult her, by refusing the gesture, so I gladly accepted it. I was so touched by her generosity that I couldn’t help but post about it on my Facebook page.

Mirror Pool

Unlike it’s name there are no mirrors (Thank Goodness!), this experience might not be for everyone. The pool is filled with sulfuric water, that is naturally warm and full of minerals. It is said to be very good for your body. You may bathe in the pool with a swim suite on, almost everyone bathes nude. My mother who had come to Piestany last summer had told me, you didn’t have a choice but to go in starkers, so I had enough time to mentally prepare myself to fully exposing my body and seeing other naked women as well. (The pools are segregated, so don’t panic too much! I don’t know if I could have summoned up the courage to have to see both genders in their birthday suites!) Coming from and living in a fairly conservative country, where kissing scenes are censored in films and T.V shows this was going to take some getting used to.

Lucky for me, I arrived early for my appointment, which was great because I had the pool to myself. I de-robed, took the necessary shower before entering the pool and ascended slowly into the water, to allow my body to get used to the temperature and not to slip on the stairs that are barely visible through the murky sulfur water. I checked the time on the large wall clock, so that I could time the  20 minutes that I was meant to stay in. The pool reminded me of the hot spring in Siwa Oasis, except it wasn’t in the open air in the desert and I wasn’t wearing a swimsuit. As I waded around and the nice warm water encompassed me,  it felt like I was having a bath, but in an enormous tub. I began to wonder if this was how Cleopatra felt when she bathed in the hot springs? Before my time was up more women arrived to bathe in the pool. ” Oh!Great!!” I thought to myself, “so much for getting in and out without anyone seeing me. I suppose, I’m just going to have to walk out gracefully and pray I don’t slip, so that I don’t draw attention to myself”. That’s precisely what I did and no one even batted an eye lid in my direction. After all we were all in the same boat and I suppose it was the respectful thing to do.

Once you leave the mirror pool, you shower off again and then go down to a resting area. I supposed it’s so that your body can return to it’s normal temperature gradually. The resting room reminds me of how dormitories were depicted in old movies. The Beds are separated by wooden partitions and have a small over head light and a side table. You’re asked to hop on the bed and then you’re wrapped up again.

By the time I got back to my room after all my sessions and treatments I was refreshed and relaxed but drowsy. I forced myself out for a walk around the town. I enjoyed admiring the little cafes, glancing at the display windows of little shops, the unique architecture, which I couldn’t help but take pictures with my phone, so that I could upload them later on to instagram. I found my way to the little mall and got a few necessity items that I had put on my mental check list and then continued walking for a little bit longer.

At dinner time, I ate slowly in the hopes that I would see Randa again. She hadn’t come by the time I had finished so, I placed a little thank you note on the table that she and her father sat at, if it wasn’t for the bowl of Zaatar there, I may have placed the note with a small box of chocolate on the wrong table. I left the restaurant, full, tired and ready to turn in for the night.

There’s More To Come!  Keep a look out for part II ūüôā

 

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From standing on the balcony of my parents apartment building and watching from the window of my flat in Cairo, I have come to the conclusion¬†that there is an ‘ART’ on how to cross the roads in Egypt and on top of that it is also of entertainment value if you are a voyeur

This summer I have had the pleasure of being in the United Kingdom for almost three weeks for my summer holiday and during my time there I have noticed many things that are very different to how things are done in Egypt.
One of the many things that caught my attention, (it wasn’t that hard to notice if I’m going to be completely honest) is how people are able to cross the roads safely!
I still can’t believe that the drivers in England would break for pedestrians and not speed up when they see someone crossing the road or when the traffic light turns red. They actually stop before the marked yellow line and at a zebra crossing and politely wait for you to cross the road safely to the other side. How Bizarre!
I have grown so accustomed to the chaos and reckless driving of Egyptians that I can’t help but be filled with anxiety when I come to cross any road any where. Even, when I come to a country where I know and I’m comforted in knowing that there are STRICT traffic laws, I can’t help but look at the drivers with distrust because I can’t get used to the fact that they really won’t attempt to run me over.

When I cross the streets here I use a technique I like to call ‚Äėthe owl‚Äô. As I‚Äôm sure you already know an owl‚Äôs neck can rotate almost a full 360 degrees. When you come to cross the road here, you have to be prepared for anything coming or going in any direction. Owl vision helps you see the traffic from all possible directions and be prepared for the unexpected. On many occasions you will find that a car may come in the opposite direction of where it shouldn‚Äôt be coming from or an anxious driver has forgotten where his breaks are and has pushed down on the gas pedal¬†as you happen to be crossing. Some drivers will drive will even speed up while your foot is in mid-air between the curb and the road and you will swear blind that he or she was aiming for you.

You are probably wondering how to use this technique of mine. Let me tell you. Your head can only turn as far as your neck will allow. So, you have to rely on other senses not just sight. Your hearing is very valuable, because like a driver you have a blind spot, your ears make up for that by picking up the sound of the wheels on the tarmac roads and the revving of the car engines. Your eyes and ears give you a 3D CineMax experience. So, if you have your i-pod in your ears when you walk the streets to avoid hearing the buzz of the city or the harassing comments, pause the tunes when you come to cross the road. If you don’t you will put yourself in jeopardy and ruin the CineMax experience. (Honestly, I some times wish I could strap a camera to my head just to show people what it is I am trying to describe)

The Rules of crossing the road in Egypt are quite different. For people who have never been to Egypt this will probably be one of the biggest shocks you get when you first arrive. The best way to describe it is ‚Äėtaking your life in to your own hands‚Äô. If you are a risk taker or a dare-devil, you may get some enjoyment out of this but it won‚Äôt compare to sky diving.

Most people are familiar with the rules of crossing a road at a designated area better known as the zebra crossing, standing on the side-walk¬†and looking both ways before crossing the road and wait for the light to turn red so that you can make it to the other side safely. Those you ‚Äėmay‚Äô use here but that doesn‚Äôt mean it will always work and that the drivers and other pedestrians will abide by them. People in Egypt cross the road at any given time, even when the traffic is at its busiest and cars are rushing by at top speed. They will step off the side-walk and walk across the road without a side ways glance at the incoming traffic.¬† They will even stand in the middle of the road as the cars whizz by them as they rapidly and mentaly calculate the speed, distance of the vehicles approaching and the time they need to make it safely to the other side. They have it down to a fine art. Watching them makes my blood turn cold, but I have to admit that they do have balls of steel. Personally, I would much rather wait for a BIG gap in the traffic before trying to cross the road. So, please don‚Äôt attempt it!

I have also noticed that when the pedestrians walk across the road, they have no fear in their stride or in their eyes. They walk across the street like they own it and that the cars are the ones who are intruding on their domain.  That is a look that you do need to have down pat because the drivers here smell fear and if they think you are afraid they will not slow down, they will intimidate you by speeding up.
You need to make eye contact with the driver and stare them down so that they know that YOU ARE GOING TO CROSS THE ROAD AND THEY ARE GOING TO SLOW DOWN. Think of it as a kind of Wild West show down.

Another tactic is to stand near a local who is about to cross the road and move with them as they cross. It will guide you and teach you how to make it across to the other walk path safely.  Like everything you do in life, it takes practice!

I could spend all night trying to describe the scenes along with various methods of how to cross the road but the only way you will understand or believe me is to see it for yourself.

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Every country and culture has its rules of etiquette¬†when going to visit people at home. I’m going to give you a crash course on how things are done here in Egypt to avoid some of the confusion. Even I have made some fatal errors when visiting. I would go by the British rules of etiquette that my mother had drumed in to me as a child. You will find that some of the rules are similar to the ones you already know, while others are very different to those in Europe.

Egyptians are very hospitable people and they always say ”Itfadal or Itfadaly” which means help yourself. They don’t mean it literally. So, if some one says you’re welcome to pass by any time, they are being polite. Call them ahead of time to take an appointment to see them.¬†¬†¬†¬† They will also use the phrase ”Itfadal or Itfadaly” if you compliment them on something they have. They don’t really mean that you are welcome to take it.

When you go you should be dressed nicely. If the occasion¬†is a luncheon then semi formal is probably the best way to dress.¬† Women, should wear either a nice dress, skirt or top¬†(not too short or ¬†revealing) or ¬†a pant suite (bright colours) and don’t forget the bling¬†(jewelry), don’t go over the top,¬† (you don’t want to look like a Christmas tree) keep it simple!¬†Go with the saying,¬† less is more.¬†(Don’t be shocked if you see other women wearing the crown jewels and knuckle dusters for rings)

Gents should wear shirt, trousers and  shoes should be polished!

When you arrive at the door of the house that you have been invited to, don’t stand directly in front¬†of the door when you ring the bell, Stand to the opposite side of where the door opens, so that you can not see directly in to the house, but don’t be too far away so that they can’t see you in the spy-glass. (this is a caution just incase someone is unveiled and needs to cover up and to make sure that everything is set before you enter the house)

Before entering the house look to see if there are shoes or a place for shoes to be taken off by the door. Some households prefer that shoes not be worn in the house. If you’re not sure ask.

You should never be on time. It isn’t¬†rude if you do arrive on time, but you will be the first and the only person there for a while. So it is best to come half an hour later¬† from the time that they tell you.¬† For example if the invitation is for 8 pm, arrive at 8:30 pm.

**** If¬†you are a¬†groom going to propose, (to ask the family for their daughter’s hand in marriage)¬†then you¬†should be on time or 15 minutes late at most. It’s considered an insult otherwise. It means you are not ‘THAT’ interested in their daughter.

If you receive¬†a wedding invitation, (card in hand, (now a days facebook¬†invite or phone call)) don’t go to the wedding at the time that is stated on the invitation, you will be the only guest there for a LONG time! It is best to go at least an hour or an hour and half late.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†(Bride is never ready on time anyway)

When you have been invited in to the house and are sitting down you will be asked what beverage you would like to drink (tea, coffee or soft drink…very rarely will a house hold offer beverages with ‘spirit’) , you have¬†to drink¬† anything that is offered. It’s insulting otherwise, it’s as if your saying what they have to offer isn’t good enough for you.

The above rule applies if you are offered chocolate or a sweet, you HAVE to take at least one.

If it’s someone you don’t know well and you are thirsty, ¬†you can’t ask for a refreshment like tea, coffee or a soft drink , that would be too forward of you. It’s ok to ask for a glass of water.

If the hosts are traditional (old school), then it is best not to cross your legs in front of them, they might consider it rude. 

Invited for Tea or going to congratulate  (new house, marriage)

 If you are invited for tea then flowers, gift for the house or the lady of the house.

If your visit is to congratulate then the gift to take with you is usually silver or crystal.

There is an ongoing¬†debate about Sharbat (celebration drinks). ¬†Some people think it is rude to drink all of the¬†drink and that you should ¬†leave some of the liquid in the glass. While others say it’s fine to finish it. I suggest you do as the Romans do in this case, if you see people leaving some of the liquid in the glass then do the same.

Lunch or Dinner

If you are invited to someone’s house for dinner then it is customary to take a kind of¬† desert. It is always best to buy¬†a whole cake. Don’t take anything savory because the message you may be sending is that you have brought the food that ‘you’ like and prefer to it with you.

If you don’t know the hosts that well and it’s a buffet¬†lunch or dinner¬†you wait for them to tell you twice that the buffet is open before you make your way to it.¬†Don’t start right away, wait for the host to have at least served one person before you help yourself.

You don’t have to wait for the host to start eating especially if it’s a¬†buffet dinner.

You don’t need to be shy, Egyptians are very generous at their dinner parties, if you would like more of something have more. At a buffet dinner you just go back and help yourself.¬†At a sit down dinner, you ask for another helping¬†and they will be thrilled that you like the food and will generously add more to your plate.

At a sit down dinner it is best to wait for the host to begin.¬† Some people don’t mind their guests starting, while others do. It’s best to play it safe. (again, apply the ‘When In Rome’ rule)

If you leave food on your plate its an insult that you didn’t like the food.¬†¬†Try as best as you can to finish what has been served on to your plate.¬†When you are done place your knife and fork next to each other.

Expect to be served more than you can eat, they don’t want their guest to go hungry. Take your time eating, that way you won’t have the host add more helpings on to your plate. They will try, but just politely decline and say that when you are done with what you have, you will have some more or say you’re not shy, if you want more you will ask for more.¬†There will be occasions¬†when the host just insists and plops it on to your plate anyway. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t finish it, just try to¬†make your plate look as empty as possible.¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† (most people don’t have pets, so you won’t be able to feed the dog or cat under the table)

¬†If your plate is empty before most of the people they will add more food to it, so eat slowly. The host will be embarrassed if they see your plate empty. They will feel that they haven’t given you enough food.

Compliment the host on the food during the meal (T’islam¬†Edayki = bless your hands).

After dinner is served there is usually a half an hour of digestion before desert, tea and coffee are served. You may turn¬†these down if you are too full, but don’t be surprised if a plate of desert is¬†thrust¬†¬†in to your hand anyway.

When you are being offered food (main course or desert) by the host and you ask for a small helping, You will NEVER get it. They will always be generous with what they offer. The excuse of being on a diet will not work. The only thing that you can get away with without having desert is if you are a diabetic.

It is¬†VERY disrespectful if you leave right after a meal,¬†“Deef¬†el magnoon¬†eli¬†yakul¬†wey¬†oum”¬†¬†¬†(translation = A crazy guest, who eats and leaves). The only culture that I know of that does that are the Saudis.

If¬†you have been invited for a dish party and you leave you dish there, don’t be surprised if your dish is returned with something in it. It is a golden rule that you can not return¬†a person’s plate back¬†empty.

If you’re a smoker do not light a cigarette¬†unless and older person offers you one. You shouldn’t smoke in front of elders because it’s considered disrespectful.

When you leave you have to say good-bye to your hosts and then a general good-bye to everyone.

Don’t be surprised¬†if you receive¬†a call or a text message from the hosts the next day thanking you for coming and for the present or cake your brought.

I hope this helps you. If you can think of others that I may have missed please add it on by adding a comment.