This blog I wrote over a week ago and I thought it went out – but it didn’t or did it? I’m sending it again – on November 12th and will send another later today. Kate
Needing to be checked out by Egyptian “Intelligence” has sort of an exotic ring to it – and there may have been a time when I would have cultivated the image but now – honestly, major pain in the butt.
There are a series of young guys at this hotel (May Fair Hotel- good location, very reasonable, absolutely no frills) who are helpful, each in his own way. After some false starts, I found the man who was “good friends with Mr Google” and in 10 minutes he had pinned down where I needed to go and who I needed to see to apply for the document that would get me across the Egyptian border and into Gaza.
Armed with this information, none of which I could pronounce, I walked down to the huge Government tower beside the Nile and discussed the matter in my flawless Arabic with the men in the guard house interviewing everybody who thought they might want to go into their Government’s building. This is Egypt remember.
I was explaining I wanted to go and see Mr xxxxxx. He kept shaking his head no, I kept nodding my head yes and pointing to my watch and showing him the name of the Deputy Minister. He called another officer who spoke English, I explained my situation (alone in Cairo, running out of money, my Consulate not supporting my trip to Gaza etc) and he kindly phoned up to the Ministry of Palestine Affairs and I was allowed to go up … with an escort.
I met with a woman and a man – never did get clear who they were – and again went over the story. They promised to try to get the security approval I needed through in a week – although it could be as long as two weeks if the department is backed up.
So I’m here for another few days at least, and no one wants to hear me complaining about being in Cairo so I’ll spare you.