Merchants darted into the aisle of the outdoor Egyptian market in Aswan inviting me and my travel companion to come into their booths. The smell of fresh spices hung in the air. A few chickens ran down a side street. Fabric hung from large poles above the cobblestone pathway for as far as I could see marking the long corridor of shopping options.

A tall merchant in a long robe stepped in front of me and pointed to the dresses he sold. I asked if he had any pure white. He nodded beckoning me to come into his booth. We followed him.

I began this shopping excursion knowing that I only wanted a white cotton Egyptian dress that I could wear to Vipassanna meditations and ceremonies and maybe some genie pants and perhaps some gifts. I had limited space in my luggage and so was intentional to think about it prior to stepping off the bus.

The shopkeeper pulled out four dresses in various colors. “These are in your size and will look beautiful on you.”

I shook my head. “I want white only.”

He dug through several stacks of folded dresses and pulled out two mostly white ones. One had blue trim and the other had a bright orange embroidered design on the collar. “Here you go. These are white.”

I smiled at him. “I need them to be all white. No other colors. Do you have any all white in my size?” He turned and went back to digging in the stacks on the floor under the hanging dresses.

He rose again to offer me more mostly white dresses with some colored designs on them. “My Mom hand sewed these,” he said as if that might entice me to change my mind about what I wanted.

At this point, I realized he was working hard to make a sale but did not have what I wanted. I told him I was going to keep shopping for a pure white dress, thanked him, and left his booth.

The man at the store next to him stepped in front of me and said, “I have many dresses. Come see.” All the ones he had draped across his arms were in several colors. I shook my head, reiterated that I only wanted all white, and kept walking.

The merchant followed me, shoving the dresses under my nose. “This would look beautiful on you. I will give you a great price.” I kept walking and saying no.

He kept trying to sell me the designs he carried. I kept politely, yet firmly stating no and that I only wanted a pure white dress. Finally, he gave up and returned to his booth.

I went several blocks further down the market and bought some incense for a gift, found some cute Egyptian cotton pants and bought those. I also asked a few other dress merchants if they had an all-white dress which they did not.

I was moving at a pretty quick pace through the market knowing I had to meet the tour bus on the other end at the appointed time which was fast approaching.

Suddenly, the spice booth stopped me in my tracks as it was aromatic and filled with amazing baskets overflowing with every kind of spice imaginable. I took a photo (see below) and as I was putting my phone back in my bag a man approached me, “You are the woman who wants an all white dress?”

I had not encountered this man before. “Yes,” I said cautiously.

He held a key on a large wooden keychain. “Come, my brother sells Nubian dresses, and he says he has one, but he is closed today. I ran to his apartment and got the key so I could get one for you.”

I was a little hesitant to follow a strange guy somewhere in the middle of Egypt, but my intuition told me it’d be fine, so I allowed him to lead me into an alley and he used the key to open a rusty roll down garage door. I stood outside while he disappeared inside. He was gone only a few minutes and emerged with an all-white cotton and embroidered dress.

It was exactly what I wanted! I slipped in on over my t-shirt and shorts just to make sure it would fit and then I negotiated a fair price for it.

After I paid him, he closed the garage door and disappeared into the market crowds as quickly as he had appeared.

This experience is a perfect example of being super clear about what I wanted; fearlessly communicated it to everyone in my path; AND did not accept, or get distracted by, anything less than what I desired. In doing so, what I wanted eventually found me.

What do you want that could benefit from:
– getting super clear?
– fearlessly communicating it?
– accepting nothing but exactly what you want?

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap