‘Imshi’ means pretty much ‘leave me alone. Not interested. No Thanks. Very kind but I don’t want anything from you. Anything. Be gone.’ Sanch told me this would be very useful.
The useful extra nugget of wisdom that would’ve been extra useful was that you only really say this to children. You know, the ones that surround your bus and acost you, throwing jewellery on you and then charging you through the arse for it.
I made the foolish mistake of ‘imshi-ing’ an old wise man with a bushy, white beard who approached me very slowly and thoughtfully then kindly asked if I needed a guide to the tomb of Ramses II. He looked at me like i’d just shat on his carpet and began cursing me in Arabic all the way back to the bus waving his arms in the air and I’m sure – summoning the lord to come down and smite me and my immediate family.
Sure enough I looked it up when I got back to the hotel (just to check whether he wasn’t just a mental or wasn’t the guy from the day before that didn’t appreciate my impression of the fella that does the morning prayer call) and it reads:
Imshi – Go away (said to children who are bothering you)