What's the difference between kindness and politeness? People will tell you, all the time, that Egyptian people are some of the kindest people you'll ever meet. It's true. Most people I know here are really sweet and will help you if you need anything. There's no question about that.
There's a sort of over nice-ness that I can't really pull off. I can't compliment someone on her ring without her taking it off and wanting to give it to me. It's called "3azoomet morakba". Like when someone stops by and you're in the middle of dinner, you have to say "come join us" even when there's not enough food. I'm sure some people are sincere but mostly people are just trying to be nice. People insist that you must have something to drink if you visit and will swear by Allah that you simply MUST. I think this is one of the cute quirks about Egypt and it shows how kind they can be, even to their own detriment.
Politeness however, is another matter. Sometimes I think it's a bit of an American phenomenon. We were taught to say please, thank you, and excuse me as toddlers. In KG we pushed in our chairs after getting up and learned to form a single file. Lining up or forming a cue here is a problem. People can't seem to get the idea of one person in front of the other, first come, first serve in a setting simple as a busy supermarket. I'm the only fool who holds doors open for people and children rarely say thank you when I give them something.
Why is this?