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

The Israeli Stamp Stigma, part 2

Nov 20th 2008

On the way to Nuweiba

On the way to Nuweiba

After two days of Sinai, it was time to go. I went to the minibus, early in the morning, and after the bus collected all its passengers from various cities, we finally arrived to Nuweiba, the port to Aqaba.

At this point you have to know more about the plan: I went all the way down to Egypt only for having an entry stamp in Jordan. Of course I would love to visit Egypt properly, but not this time. This time I was thinking about reaching India by land, through Iran and Pakistan!

And it is not a piece of cake — basically because obtaining an Iranian visa can take as long as 45 days, and because they just don’t like the fact that you are applying out of your country — so I switched to plan B: Syria and Lebanon, then fly Beirut–Delhi. Thus I had to have a clean passport and a decent story to tell to the Syrians at the border. Mine was: I flew from Italy to Sharm El Sheik with a group from Italy, all of us with the ID, because it was cheaper this way, then I left them and I entered Jordan from Aqaba on my passport. Well, so far so good: I was now in Egypt and after one and a half months in Israel my passport was still untouched.

I didn’t take into account the relations between Egypt and Jordan, though.

The line for the boat

The line for the boat

With the couple I met on the bus, from Madrid she and from Milan he, I was staring at the discomforting line for the immigration booths, when some Egyptian officer brought us directly to the beginning of the line, letting his fellows citizens waiting under the sun. We were — too fast, baby — very happy and my friends went right through the stamping point. But I showed up with my ID and the guy was having a bad time telling me «Bassbort, bassbort!» louder and louder — they do the same in Turkey: if someone doesn’t understand the language, they repeat the same sentence, louder!

I was brought to another officer, who supposedly spoke English, then another one, higher on grade (but Arabic-only), then the three we went back to the first one. No solution. Bare in mind that I was franticly waving the Egyptian visa that they gave me at the Taba border, unable to understand what was the problem. Then the young soldier Mustafa was asked to bring that weird Italian to the big boss. We walked out of the port to another office, and I repeated my story from the beginning — again.

I thought to have made it, eventually. The big boss said «no problem, no problem. But the Jordanians will not let you enter without an exit stamp from Egypt on your passport. No problem: we will give you an exit stamp and an entry stamp. No problem». So I thought «no problem». With my new friend Mustafa I returned to the port police booth, the officer spoke briefly with Mustafa then stamped my passport with the Nuweiba exit stamp, adding something in handwriting.

The Egyptian exit stamp with the handwriting

The Egyptian exit stamp with the handwriting

The bus to the boat. You can appreciate the details only in the full-size image

The bus to the boat. You can appreciate the details only in the full-size image

I joined my Italo-Spanish friends and waited with them few hours more, until a bus took all us foreigners to the boat. For some reason the Egyptian authority enforces some apartheid separating locals from foreigners on the port and all along the boat trip.

Then it was Jordan.

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

8 Responses

  1. cam says:

    i want a bus like that!

  2. Ally says:

    More stories please :-)
    and write a book!

  3. pt says:

    *Cam: Wait until you see Indian buses . . .

    *Ally: Come sarebbe more stories? I’m writing a post per week, and it takes me a lot!

    And you probably don’t know how many books there are out there about a trip around the world. Try to google it just to have an idea :-)

  4. Ally says:


    you have to understand our position and feelings!

    We are all here checking the blog at least once a day living your adventures WITH you.
    Or put it this way: you know when you read a book and you find it is so good that you can’t stop? that is the state where you have put all of us with your blog. Plus, the stories we read are not neutral fiction but the true life of Pi!

  5. cam says:

    well said Ally. i agree to you without any doubt.

  6. Matta says:

    In particular now that the countries you are going are not so “quiet”

  7. Ally says:

    How is India?

  8. pt says:

    I’ll tell you how is the bureaucracy in India. Reminds me of a classical Italian post office.

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