I was kidnapped this evening, not by extremists but by a tiny old man. I'd waded back into Khan Khalili to try to find a few specific mosques and historic sites and ended up wandering the tight back streets south of al-Azhar, where I'd walked around a few days ago. Didn't have a destination in mind, but all of a sudden a wiry little man appeared at my side and sputtered quickly in broken in English that he would show me the way out, his name is Fatih, the fact that his photo was published in a guidebook, that he has friends all over the world, that I would come with him because he was going my way to mosque and would I like tea or coffee. That he managed to cram all this information into about five seconds time was impressive. He insisted, insisted, I let him show me the way "out". "I not guide," he said, "no money. No money!" I knew this meant a sales pitch for something was inevitable. We were nowhere near the souq and on a rather dirty little back alley, so I figured he couldn't be selling anything, or at least not much. I kept insisting that I knew where I was going and was just out for a walk, but he would have none of it, ever so sweetly insisting I have a rest and some tea with him. He walked at a rapid shuffle of a pace and quickly arrived at a worn wooden door, which he unlocked with great flourish to reveal a downmarket Ali Baba's cave the size of a bathroom stall stuffed with old brassware, old found items and some inlaid boxes. He insisted I sit and ran off to fetch tea for us. I figured I'd sit for a minute and move on. I was wrong. As soon as he returned with a glass of dark tea, he launched into a sales pitch for the inlay work he, his father and grandfather had all produced (the few remains of which he indicated were all he had left to sell). He also seemed to be recruiting me, asking me at various moments to bring him a new version of the guidebook to Egypt, a camera phone for his daughter and more customers when I return to Egypt. All of this was delivered in his breathless, rapid-fire manner of speech while I just sat and listened and tried to figure out how to leave. He pulled out a few of the tiny boxes and just as quickly explained their merits while I tried to explain I hadn't intended to shop and didn't bring much money, that I'm just a student and I really was not in the market for anything. Of course that was just another form of engagement and he somehow interpreted this to mean the duel was on. With every protest from me, he lowered his price until he was willing to give me the little box and "you pay next time you come back." No matter what I tried he just smiled and continued his one way haggling mixed with questions about my family, studies and work. He kept gesturing to the collection of photos of himself with foreigners over the decades and business cards from around the world to emphasize his claims of fairness. It made for an interesting conversation but for the fact he didn't listen to a thing I said. It was getting late and I realized I wasn't going to win this one. I even tried explaining in Arabic that taking something without paying or paying such a low price made me feel shameful. No dice. With great flourish he finally stated that he would only take what I felt fair. In the interest of ever leaving the place, I paid him about 1$, more for the tea and conversation then for the little box. I am no expert in inlay, so for I know it'll be like the tourist items I saw in Istanbul and the stickers will fall off in a week. With that he jumped up and grabbed an old copper bowl, green with age and full of junk - buttons, scrap bits of inlay work, beads, coins... He declared he must give me some gifts to go in the box and quickly picked out a few choice items, put them in the box and wrapped it tightly in newspaper. And just as quickly we were off down the alleys, which actually made for an interesting tour. He showed me a few graves of principal early figures in Islam along the way and introduced me to the butcher, backer and lattice work maker along the way, again all at lightening-shuffle speed. He left me with an energetic handshake and many thanks at the old gates and I was left to drift back towards downtown through the souq and ponder what had just happened. Sure, I felt taken advantage of, but somehow Fatih managed to do it so I didn't much mind.