S M F G · A Counter-Clockwise Trip Around The World

The Israeli stamp stigma, part 1

Nov 18th 2008

The Egyptian border, early morning

The Egyptian border, early morning

Unsurprisingly enough, it was Sinai! I’m writing this while sitting in a bedouin-like restaurant, after having what without any doubt I can define the worst cappuccino ever — see picture for a visual hint.

Getting here was not without effort, though, because having the plan that I have — more about this later — I necessarily had to avoid the infamous Israeli stamp. So here is my attempt.

My first camel, just out of the police station

My first camel, just out of the border police station

First, I checked carefully the Italian Foreign Affairs website and all the web that I could for the possibility for Italians to enter Egypt with the sole Identity Card and a couple of passport-sized pictures.

After a night trip on bus from Tel Aviv — how, oh how I miss the Turkish buses! This one didn’t have a reclining seat, let alone waiters bringing tea or snacks — without sleeping at all I arrived around 5AM at Eilat, just to discover that the first bus to the border is at 8AM! There were no other tourists going to Egypt, so I had to take a taxi by myself: me no happy. And at the border, surprise! You are asked by the Israeli government to pay a tax of over 80NIS (the bus ticket was 67NIS)! Me less than happy.

Eventually, the blue

Eventually, the blue

The good news is that the Israelis, kindly requested by me, didn’t stamp my passport. So far so good.

At the Egyptian border, all a different story: first of all, the first policeman I met didn’t accept my ID card, and I had to use the passport, but he didn’t stamp it. Then, at the metal detector control, the second policeman found my new brush-pen very attractive, and he said “this for me? Present?” and I had to give it to him. Damn baksheesh!

I managed to reach the big boss at the stamping point, and when I asked him to not have the passport stamped he put on a not-happy-face, for so to speak, and I started to sweat. Then I told him “I’m Italian, I have an ID card” and he accepted it. I gave him my picture (I left Italy with 20 passport-sized photos, ten with beard and ten without) and after filling quite a few forms I had my 14 days visa on a beautiful separated paper, with my passport still untouched. Me happy.

Relaxing on the sea shore restaurant

Relaxing on the sea shore restaurant

Of course, something spoiled a bit my happiness: after discovering that the first bus is at 9AM, I fought to get rid of the taxi drivers (like sharks) trying to get me everywhere for impossible prices. I said “too much, I can stay at the hotel two more days for that price” and started waiting for the bus. After an hour or so, a guy came out of the bus station saying that the 9AM bus was broken. True or not, I surrendered and shared the taxi with other people for 40 pounds.

The worst <em>cappuccino</em> ever. Notice the foam, probably made with fish-glue

The worst cappuccino ever. Notice the foam, probably made with fish-glue

Anyway, a good surprise always know when to show up, and mine was another tax, Egyptian this time, for entering Sinai. 63 goddam pounds. Pay and shut up, we say in Italy.

But eventually I settled in a crap camping-like hotel, and enjoyed the beach and sun!

More about Egyptian habits on next post. Be patient :-)

This post is filed under Africa, Asia, Egypt, Israel and tagged , , , , , .

21 Responses

  1. buck! says:

    Great post!
    Seems like you can contribute to a Salvatores’ movie screenplay.
    Hope you’re relaxing now under the sun.
    Here the climate is changing heavily.

  2. cam says:

    the trip is getting more and more dangerous and adveturous. i’mlooking forward seeing the photo.

  3. Ally says:

    there you are facing burocracy… you should be trained by now: you’ve been living all your life in Burocracyland (i.e. Italy).
    Cold wind up here

  4. marco says:

    e baassstttaaa… tutto in inglese… capisco le velleità internazionalistiche, ma insomma pure chi non capisce l’italiano può ricorre alla traduzione, no? Comunque il tuo diario è proprio interessante e si vede che stai migliorando con il passare del tempo.
    Notizia trevigiana: oggi è l’ultimo giorno della gestione di Franco del TOCAI. al tuo rientro, la città non saràpiùla stessa. ce la farai?
    Domanda: ma per natale fai una capatina a casa?

  5. pt says:

    Oh, finalmente! :-)

    Nessuna velleità o esterofilía: tu l’italiano lo capisci, ma i miei vari host (ospite che ospita) mica tanto. È anche vero che finora sono solo tre o quattro gli stranieri che hanno commentato, ma sono molti di piú quelli che leggono senza commentare — come te fino a ieri.

    Ma non lamentarti: sono certo che il tuo inglese è migliore di quello di mia mamma!

    E in quanto al Natale, magari potete fare una capatina voi nel sud-est asiatico, che c’è un clima migliore, no?

  6. mamma says:

    Ha ragione Marco: se scrivessi in italiano molti di più ti leggerebbero. E in quanto al mio inglese, chiunque ne sa più
    di me.

  7. cam says:

    marco nn ha mai letto senza commentare…dice che aveva perso l’indirizzo che prontamente gli ho dato…il problema è un’altro:
    è tutto il giorno su facebook……!

  8. cugina Barbara says:

    Hola cousin!Lieta di vedere che te la passi piuttosto bene.
    Se posso darti un suggerimento,non mancare di berti un thè spaparanzato in uno dei tipici bar (se così si possono definire) in riva al mare di Dahab!Very nice…
    Qui la solita solfa! :-(((
    Buon proseguimento.Baciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! :-)

  9. pt says:

    Ciao Barbara!

    Dahab fatto: guarda questa foto!

    Felice di trovarti qui.

  10. cugina Barbara says:

    Ah,ecco,avevo riscontrato una certa somiglianza…cuscini colorati,tettoia in legno…bene.
    Sto programmando my first CS trip! :-) …to Holland!Ti farò sapere.

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