Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “Y” is for Yallah!

Yallah! The A to Z Challenge is coming to a close. Just two more letters left to go! I can do this. I can do this…

Whenever I travel, especially if I’m going overseas, I like to learn a few words and phrases in that country’s language to be able to communicate with the people there in case I ever get lost.

I studied Spanish in school. So when I traveled to Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, I had no problems getting around. And in the Maldives, though I was unfamiliar with the language, many of the locals we met spoke Hindi, and I’m learning Urdu, which is Hubby’s native language and sounds a lot like Hindi, so we could still hold a conversation. However, as we were staying at a resort, the staff all spoke English, so we actually didn’t need to exercise our Hindi until we were back on the main island.

That being said, when visiting another country, you really shouldn’t assume that everyone understands and can speak English. Besides, people tend to be more welcoming when they see that you had the common courtesy to try to learn their language before coming.

Three words/phrases that I’m most likely to say no matter where I travel (either foreign or domestic) are:

  • Hello
  • Thank you
  • Where’s the bathroom?

Greetings, gratitude, and hygiene. Those three will get you far in any country.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really study much on my Arabic before leaving for Egypt, which is uncharacteristic of me. But then I realized that I actually know more Arabic words than I thought. When you watch as many foreign-language television series as I do, you eventually start to pick up on certain words and phrases.

  • As-salaam-alaikum/wa-alaikum-as-salaam – Peace be upon you/and unto you peace (a common greeting among Muslims)
  • Shukran – Thank you
  • InshaAllah – If God wills it
  • Habibi – My love/my dear
  • Mubarak – Congratulations/celebratory expression paired with holidays (eg, “Eid Mubarak!”)

Of course, social anxieties prevented me from practicing my language skills while in Egypt for fear that my Southern American accent would mispronounce a word. Plus, call it ego or pride, but Brother can get a bit testy whenever you present yourself as knowing more than he does, and he was growing quite the big head by impressing our tour guides with all his Egyptian knowledge not originating from a movie (unlike mine).

But I don’t care. I’ll continue to watch The Prince of Egypt, The Mummy, and even Gods of Egypt and point out all the imagery I recognize from actually being there.

Speaking of The Mummy, I finally know what Ardeth Bay is saying in this scene, as our tour guides would shout it as they herded us along at each stop on our sightseeing tour.

Yallah! Let’s go!


“A” is for Arrival
“B” is for Buyer’s Remorse
“C” is for Cruisin’ the River Nile
“D” is for Delays, Delays, Delays
“E” is for Empty Tombs
“F” is for Fragrance
“G” is for Great Pyramid of Giza
“H” is for Hatshepsut
“I” is for Island Temple of Philae
“J” is for Just Engaged!
“K” is for Kom Ombo
“L” is for Luxor
“M” is for Museums and Mummies
“N” is for Nefertari
“O” is for Osiris, Set, and Horus: Gods of Egypt
“P” is for Pizza Hut Fail
“Q” is for Queen Cleopadrat
“R” is for Ramesses
“S” is for Seti I
“T” is for Traffic
“U” is for Unfinished Tombs
“V” is for Valley of the Kings/Queens
“W” is for Wigs
“X” is for SphinX

This April for the A to Z Challenge, I’m sharing my experience of traveling to Egypt last month. These posts likely won’t be in chronological order, depending on what memory each letter strikes up, but if you’d like to follow me on this journey, subscribe below.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox


One thought on “Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “Y” is for Yallah!

Let me know I'm not talking to myself.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.