The happiest market in the world!

It's really sad that the Middle East gets a bad rap. The people there are among the friendliest in the world. They will go out of their way to help you and most of the time they will invite you over for coffee and maybe dinner - even after knowing you for just 2 minutes. This kind of hospitality is rare in western culture.

Unlike many other countries to which I've travelled, there is hardly a need to ask someone, "Can I please take your picture?" In the Middle East all you have to do is walk down the street with your camera visible in your hands and about a hundred people will ask you to take their picture. "Picture, Picture," they will yell out enthusiastically, whilst pointing at themselves. Then all you have to do is wait for them to pose.

Of course, this mostly applies more to the men. From my experience the woman are not too fond of being photographed, so I would suggest that you respect their modesty... and if you must take a picture, please ask first.

I took these photos in a back-streets market in Alexandria, Egypt. It was possibly the happiest market I have been to.

I had so much fun in this market. The one thing every vendor had in stock was a big, happy smile. :)