Mergi la conţinut
  • postări
    137
  • comentarii
    2
  • vizualizări
    36.776

Cele o mie si unul de pacate egiptene/ The Thousand And One Egyptian Sins

Autentifica-te  
Su Shi

188 vizualizări

Faptul ca Siria e o baie de sange ne-a anulat planurile de a traversa Orientul Mijlociu catre Asia. Singura iesire din Africa - un continent la care ne gandim foarte serios ca la p potentiala destinatie de viitor - este fie prin vest (Libia, Tunisia, apoi feribot Grimaldi pana in Sicilia), sau prin nord-est, pe vas de cargo pana in Turcia. In Nairobi am luat in considerare varianta de a vinde Yamaha (intuing ca traversarea Egiptului ar putea fi aberant de costisitoare), si pe cea de a face ca multi altii - traversat continentul inapoi in Africa de Sud, apoi expediat de acolo motocicleta catre alt continent. Siguri pe noi ca vom gasi ac de cojocul mafiei egiptene, am ajuns pana aici ca sa ne convingem ca asta nu e posibil. Pe 4 iulie vizele pentru Libia au fost din nou suspendate, pe termen nedeterminat. Petrecem o zi la cozi la ambasada libiana incercand sa aflam ce sanse avem sa obtinem totusi viza. Aflam ca nici una. Tot timpul asta am stiut unde si cand trebuie sa mergem pentru a lua singura nava care leaga in acest moment Europa de Africa de Est. Nava asta asta pleaca marti seara. Nu are rost sa ne amagim, trebuie sa o luam. Urmeaza partea a doua a dramei din Aswan.

Cortina se ridica pe o scena in care toate lucrurile noatre sunt imprastiate pe trotuarul din centrul orasului Cairo. Este marti, nici 6 dimineata, si politia scotoceste in coburile noastre dupa ceva necuser. Suntem pe picior de plecare catre Port Said, unde avem intalnire cu agentul companiei de transport, AK Naggar Shipping. Fondat numai datorita constructiei Canalului Suez, orasul Port Said nu prea pare a fi cel mai prosper din Egipt, dupa cum spune Indicele de Dezvoltare Umana. 

Syria becoming a bloodbath has rendered our plans to continue across the Middle East towards Asia obsolete. The only way out of Africa - a continent we are seriously thinking to adopt as home one day - is either west (Libya, Tunisia, then cheap Grimaldi ferry to Sicily) or north-east by ro-ro ship to Turkey. In Nairobi we pondered selling the bike (knowing it could become a financial disaster to overland Egypt), or doing like many do - drive back to South Africa and ship from there to another continent. Confident that we can crack the egyptian mafia, we had to come all the way up to concede that we can’t. On the 4th of july the libyan authorities have again suspended all visa services. We spent a day at the embassy in Cairo discussing our chance to obtain this visa before our carnet for Egypt would expire. Turns out there isn’t any. The info for the only boat taking travelers and their vehicles across the Mediterranean has been all this time in our weathered Moleskine. This boat leaves on Tuesday evening. So we decide to take it. Follows part two of what we had endured in Aswan. 

The curtain rises to a scene of our bare minimum spread on the sidewalk in downtown Cairo. It’s Tuesday, not even 6 a.m., and police is frantically searching our panniers for something unruly. We are about to leave for Port Said, where we have an appointment in the office of AK Naggar Shipping. Established only due to the Suez Canal, Port Said doesn’t look like the most prosperous egyptian city, as the Human Development Index suggests

EgyV6_06_04r.jpg

sursa/source

Este Ramadan, deci multe companii lucreaza doar cateva ore pe zi. Il asteptam in fata blocului pe Nabil, care este seful biroului. Intarzie o ora si jumatate, dar nu se sfieste sa ne admonesteze ca punem intrebari (oare altii platesc fara sa comenteze?). A, si barca soseste abia la noapte, apoi va astepta in port pana maine cand va fi descarcata de marfa.

Ni se cere sa platim:

$200 pentru motocicleta ($500/masina)

$300 per pasager

$125 comision de rezervare + ‘foaie de transport’ pentru Canal Shipping, comisionarul vamal 

$205 vama (1250 EGP)

Adica $1130 pentru noi doi si Yamaha. Tine cont de faptul ca pentru 1 moto + 1 persoana care ia aceeasi barca in sens invers, din Turcia in Egipt, costurile sunt $278, fata de $830. Preturile pentru vapor au crescut cu 50% din aprilie, iar comisioanele vamale aproape s-au dublat. Nabil ne spune cu tupeu ca avem ‘ghinion’ ca e Ramadan, pentru ca acum totul e mai scump. O vreme incearca sa ne abureasca sa platim 1500 EGP pentru vama care deja e peste cei 750 EGP de care stiam de la altii. Intrebam de ce, cand mai intai ni s-au cerut 1250 EGP? Ni se spune sa platim biletele si sa mergem sa intrebam ce avem de intrebat in biroul comisionarului vamal, care e o strada mai jos. Ai crede ca pentru o mie de parai esti invitat sa astepti pe canapea cu o revista in mana. Dar pentru ca suntem curiosi, vom suferi.

In biroul lui Sayed numarul lui Nabil e pe tasta 2 a telefonului. Aici ziua de lucru e si misto: barfe cu tovarasii, mai o stire sportiva de pe net, dar in principal doar joaca cu un banut in scrumiera in timp  ce te holbezi la ce se intampla pe strada. Dupa ce am muncit ani de zile ca sa ajungem in Africa, scena asta nu ne poate lasa indiferenti. Assam e iute la manie si vorbeste o engleza de clasa a sasea, Mohammed nu vorbeste deloc. Acesti doi angajati ai lui Sayed trebuie sa faca vamuirea efectiva. Intrebam cat avem de plata. Egiptenii sunt consternati. Suntem trimisi cu cei doi natafleti sa ‘intrebam in port’. Facem drumul de pomana: in port nu suntem lasati nici macar sa asteptam in fata portii, in vreme ce cersetori de toate spetele intra si ies fara probleme. Cei doi se duc sa ‘intrebe’ in numele nostru. Bineinteles ca se intorc cu vestea ca avem de platit 1300 EGP. Raspundem ca nu suntem dispusi sa platim peste ceo 505 EGP pe care i-am dat in Aswan. In fond e aceeasi ‘marfa’, aceeasi tara. Assam izbucneste in urlete si pleaca. Inapoi in biroul lui Sayed, ne dam seama ca me pierdem timpul. Orele trec, intrebarile raman fara raspuns, gluma se ingroasa. Cica cei din Aswan au calculat gresit. Cica, se indura ei sa ne informeze, vama e tot 750 EGP, 50 EGP e taxa de depozit (care depozit?), iar restul ‘comision’. Ne uitam unul la altul. Nu ne incumetam sa traversam Siria, si nu avem bani sa fim noi aia care sa faca haos si sa dea in gat mafia din acest port. Expedierea pe mare sau avion iese din calcul. Trebuie sa cadem de acord, vom plati. Vom lua barca asta nenorocita. Urmeaza inca un drum de pomana pana la politia rutiera, unde trebuie sa fiu ‘inspectat’ personal de ofiterul care va emite un atestat ca nu am fost implicat intr-un accident prin Egipt. Desigur ca nu sunt lasat sa intru, si astept afara, in timp ce sunt ‘inspectat’ direct prin ziduri iar cei doi prostanaci xeroxeaza carnetele de conducere egiptean si romanesc. Nu vine nimeni sa se uite la mine sau la motocicleta, si nimeni nu cere actul care chiar contine datele vehiculului. Uite ce parametri sunt trecuti in Carnetul emis in Egipt:

It’s Ramadan, most offices work only a few hours a day. We set to wait for Nabil, who heads the booking agency handling the infamous boat. He shows up an hour and a half late, but doesn’t shy away from scolding us for asking questions (do other people just pay?). Oh, the boat is yet to arrive tonight, then it’ll wait in the port until tomorrow to be unloaded. 

We are asked to pay:

$200 per motorbike ($500/car)

$300 per passenger

$125 booking fee + ‘shipping order’ for Canal Shipping where the customs clearance is done 

$205 customs clearance (1250 EGP)

That makes $1130 for us and the bike. Mind you, the cost for 1 bike + 1 person coming from Turkey (on the very same boat), all included, is $278, as opposed to $830. Prices for the boat are up 50% since April, customs clearance has almost doubled. Nabil has the audacity to say that we are ‘unlucky’ for showing up during Ramadan, when everything is more expensive. For a while he tries to intimidate us into paying 1500 EGP for customs clearance. We ask why, when he initially said 1250, already more than the 750 EGP recently paid by others? We are told to pay our tickets and go clear customs in the office of Canal Shipping, which is a block away. You might think that for over a grand we would be politely invited to wait on a couch. Well, because we ask questions, we shall suffer. 

In Sayed Saleh’s office, Nabil is on the speed dial. Here a working day is even more fun: chatting with friends, checking sports news online, and mostly playing with a coin in your empty ashtray while staring spaced-out at the streetscape. After working for years to come to Africa, this doesn’t leave us unimpressed. Assam has a short temper and poor english, Mohammed doesn’t speak any. These employees of Sayed are supposed to do the actual customs clearing work. We ask how much we need to pay. Everybody is appalled. We are sent with the two stooges to ‘ask in the port’. A useless trip: in the port we aren’t even allowed to wait by the gate as random bums walk freely in and out. The two stooges go someplace to ‘ask for us’. Of course they return with the news that we should pay 1300 EGP. We reply that we are prepared to pay not more than what we did in Aswan for the same bogus customs clearance, so 505 EGP. The same ‘merchandise’, the same country, right? Assam, the rudest and most aggressive of the lot, starts shouting that they made a mistake in Aswan and this is the CORRECT amount, and walks away. Back in Canal Shipping office, back to square one. Hours pass, we realize we cannot break the chain of middle men. Finally we figure that customs clearance is still 750 EGP (whatever that means and whoever gets bribed), 50 is for storing the vehicle in the port (why should we do that when the boat is not even accessible until tomorrow?), the rest is ‘commission’. We look at each other. We admit we don’t have the balls to attempt Syria. And we don’t’ have enough money to make a point and ship ourselves out of here. For us it’s too late, we cannot go back. So we agree to bloody pay. We take another useless trip to traffic police, where supposedly the officers must ‘see’ me to issue a certificate that I haven’t been involved in no accidents. Of course, I am told to wait outside while the two stupid dogs go xerox my egyptian and romanian driving licenses. Nobody comes to see, bothers to inspect the bike, or ask for a document containing any actual data about the vehicle being ‘cleared’. Check out what is written on the egyptian carnet, which goes in my file, along the above mentioned photocopies and a form. 

IMG_5382.jpg

Toata gluma asta se desfasoara ca si cum Assam si Mohammed ar face totul pentru prima data in viata. Dupa cateva ore ce ‘lucru’, Mohammed intreaba candid ce fel de vehicul am, si care este destinatia vaporului pe care vrem sa ne suim. Inapoi in primul birou, ne golim buzunarele in mainile lui Nabil care tremura de lacomie. Vocea i se subtiaza, ochii ii sclipesc, spatele i se incovoaie sub apasarea celor o mie si unul de pacate inscrise in codul lui genetic. S-a sfarsit, si asta e singura ‘dovada’: 

This mess plays out as if Assam and Mohammed are doing it for the first time. A few hours into the process, Mohammed asks candidly if we have a car or a motorbike and where is our boat supposed to go. Back at the booking agency, we empty our wallet into Nabil’s hands that start to shake with gluttony. His voice changes, his eyes glisten, his back arches under the weight of a thousand and one egyptian sins written in his DNA. It’s over, and this is the only evidence we will ever have:

IMG_5385.jpg

Port Said e un oras de agenti, intermediari, companii de transport si comisionari vamali. De ce oare venim toti la acelasi agent ca oile? Acesti oameni vor sarbatori deseara pe banii nostri. Nu mai avem suficienta energie ca sa ne bucuram de ultimul iftar in Africa. Cumparam rosii, branza, paine si smochine. Piata e faina, oamenii placuti, si la noapte tarabele or sa geama de creveti si calamar. Dar suntem terminati. In camera noastra din Hotel de la Poste, ne facem covrig si cadem prada somnului. 

A doua zi dimineata mergem la Sayed, unde asteptam interminabile ore, pana cand Assam isi aminteste ca trebuie sa ducem Yamaha in port si sa alergam dupa stampile la dosar. Tevatura se incheie cu depozitarea motorului intr-un hangar pana mai incolo. Barca ne asteapta, e gata, si cica pleaca deseara la 6. Ana trage o fuga pana in piata si revine tot cu rosii, branza, paine. Si smochine. Si curmale uscate. Mai pastram de control o bancnota de 50 EGP, sa fie. Ne intoarcem la Nabil, si stam pana pierdem sirul orelor. Toata lumea discuta aprins, impartim canapeaua cu un sofer turc care se intoarce spre noi si ingana ‘problem’. ‘Ce problema?’ il intreb eu. Aflam ca nu are CpD. Ii explicam cum am obtinut noi unul. Toata lumea din birou e perplexa, ca si cum au auzit pentru prima oara de asa ceva. Ii dam angajatului lui Nabil contactele necesare, dar nu mai apucam sa aflam deznodamantul povestii, pentru ca un alt angajat ne zoreste catre biroul unde ne vor fi stampilate pasapoartele. Acolo lumea e ocupata cu impartitul pachetelor de Ramadan. In fine, primim stampila, apoi sprintam la masina tipului care ne duce in fata hangarului unde am lasat mai devreme motocicleta. Mi se cer 150 EGP taxa de magazinaj. Ma ia rasul: le arat ca nu mai am decat 50, nici nu stiu de ce sunt asa sincer. Pun gentile la loc pe motor si mergem in fata navei ancorate in port, dar nu putem inca urca, desi e trecut de 6. Asteptam sa vina nustiucine care o sa verifice ca totul e in regula si ca dubiosul vehicul va parasi tara. Intre timp Sayed, Assam si Mohammed se dau in stamba in fata intregului port, nu avem idee care e motivul galcevii. Sa intram si sa iesim cu motocicleta din Egipt ne-a costat 1750 de dolari SUA, adica de trei ori mai mult decat 22 e tari in Africa la un loc, incluzand si feribotul din Europa in Maroc. Nu vom mai face asta niciodata.

Port Said is a city of booking agents, shipping companies and custom people. Why have we all come to the same booking agent, blatantly in cohorts with the customs? These shady characters will party hard with our money. We don’t have energy left to enjoy our last after in Africa. We buy tomatoes, cheese, bread and figs. The market is great, the people seem nice, and in the night everybody will feast on shrimp and squid. But we are spent. We curl into our Hotel de la Poste lair, and sleep. 

The next morning we drive to Sayed, where we wait for a couple of hours until Assam remembers we must take the bike to the port and start collecting stamps in my file. More mambo jumbo ends in me having to leave the bike in storage for a few hours. The boat has been loaded and awaits us, departure is scheduled for 6 p.m. At 4 p.m. we are still in Nabil’s, numb of waiting, each with our own departure though to digest. Ana walks to the market to spend our last pounds on more tomatoes, cheese and bread. And figs. And dried dates. We save a bill of 50, what if they will ask for a storage fee for the bike? we say. A turkish driver shares our waiting couch and people are discussing furiously something. The driver turns to us: ‘problem’, he says. ‘What problem?’ I ask. It turns out he doesn’t have a CpD. We tell him how we got one from the Saudi club in Aswan. Nabil and his employees seem bewildered by this information. We give them the contacts of the club and the fixers, they discuss, but we don’t know the outcome, because suddenly a guy from the office informs us we must literally run to immigration to get our passports stamped. There everybody is busy distributing Ramadan packages. We get the stamps, then we run some more to the guy’s car who drives us back to where our bike is stored. They ask 150 EGP for storage. I laugh and I tell them I have only 50 left. I mount back the luggage and I drive it to the boat where a couple of hours later, after Sayed, Assam and Mohammed had fought a few fights, a man arrives to inspect our bike and the file. They want to make sure we are taking our dubious vehicle out of their bureaucratic life, and we cannot wait to do so. In the end, crossing Egypt with this vehicle costed an astonishing 1750 US dollars, 3 times more than 22 other African countries combined, including the ferry from Europe to Morocco! Egypt overland, never again. 

IMG_4793.jpg

Barca poarta insemnele Scanlines, are pavilion moldovenesc si echipaj jumatate rus, jumatate urcrainean. Bucatarrul este turc, ca si cei cativa soferi de TIR care calatoresc impreuna cu noi catre Mersin. La 9 seara ne miscam, Cina a fost tipic turceasca, deloc rea.

On the boat bearing the logo of Scanlines under Moldavian pavilion, it’s just us, three turkish drivers with their trucks, the russian and ukrainian crew and a turkish chef. After 9 p.m. we budge. The dinner is typically turkish, but not bad.

IMG_4806.jpg

Cabina e luna, dar e cald ca intr-o sauna. 

The cabin is spotless, but scalding hot.

IMG_4807.jpg

IMG_4808.jpg

Ne perpelim toata noaptea, iar dimineata descoperim ca nava e ancorata in port, in acelasi loc in care ne aflam in seara precedenta. Trec orele, trece amiaza, si se zvoneste ca asteptam un pasager intarziat. Spre seara docul se umple de TIR-uri, si sala de mese de soferi rusi si turci. Masinile porta placuta de tranzit, pentru care noi ne-am zbatut in zadar,

We struggle all night to catch some sleep, and in the morning we discover that the boat is back in the port, in the same place we were the night before. Lunch passes, hours pass, and we hear there is a passenger we are waiting for. Late afternoon trucks start arriving: the boat fills up with russian and turkish truck drivers and their vehicles bearing the ‘transit’ plate we fought in vain for. 

IMG_4826.jpg

Este joi, si soarele apune peste Africa, in timp ce nava paraseste, in sfarsit, gura canalului Suez. Pentru noi Africa s-a terminat acum doua tari, dar tot avem inima grea. Ne vom intoarce!

It’s Thursday and sun is setting over Africa as the boat finally exits the Suez Channel. For us, Africa ended two countries ago, but we are still heartbroken. We’ll come back!

pano_egypt_suez.jpg

Au urmat zile de transpiratie abundenta si dus dupa dus, in asteptarea urmatoarei mese, in timp ce Ana descoperea ca nu a uitat de tot sa vorbeasca turca. 

The next days were a blur of sweating, showering and waiting for the next meal to happen, while Ana discovered that she could still speak rudimentary Turkish. 

IMG_4823.jpg

Povestea Carolei pe nava e la fix. Din pacate arata si ca biletele nu pot fi cumparate in Alexandria. Care ar fi solutia? Daca ai mai mult timp, poti sa astepti sa se dea drumul la vizele pentru Libia. Poti sa incerci sa intri in Siria. Sau, daca te tine bugetul, poti sa-ti trimiti vehicului cu barca si sa iei avionul. Tu alegi. Ne pare rau pentru egiptenii de treaba pe care i-am cunoscut prin satele de pe valea Nilului, dar tara lor nu e cel mai fericit final la capatul unui tur de-a lungul si de-a latul exceptionalului lor continent. 

Carola’s account of her own trip is spot on. Unfortunately it also says that there is no other agent for this boat. What can you do to avoid this scam? If you have more time, wait for Libya to resume visa services, drive the coastal route (check Temehu.com for news updates), ferry from Tunis to Italy (roughly 150 euro for 2 people + 1 motorbike). Or cross Syria. Or, if you have more money, ship from Port Sudan or Alexandria and fly out. Your choice. We are sorry for the wonderful village people we met in Egypt, but their country is not the best ending to a tour of their great continent.



Sursa
Autentifica-te  


0 comentarii


Recommended Comments

Nu există comentarii.

Creează un cont sau autentifică-te pentru a comenta

Trebuie să fii membru pentru a putea lăsa comentarii

Creează un cont

Înregistrează-te în comunitate. Este uşor!

Înregistrare

Autentifică-te

Ești deja membru? Autentifică-te aici.

Autentificare
×