Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letters from Egypt: Simply Funny

Taken in Abu Dhabi where apparently MJ lives on
At a closer look, you realize it's Wang Jackson - MJ's long lost brother from another mother
So I go to the Chinese embassy to apply for a visa. I walk in and the Egyptians at the door tell me to have a seat. Sure there are people ahead of me, but if you think there’s a list or a pick-a-number, well, you simply have not lived in Egypt as they’re memory is so good – who needs numbers, waiting list, etc? In walks in a man of Asian descent that says, “I need a visa.” The two Egyptian men usher him through.

And thus I walk over to the “keepers” and ask why this man went in ahead of the rest of us? Egyptian 1 tells me, “This is his embassy.” I said, “No, it’s not.” Egyptian 2 said, “Yes, his embassy he goes first.” At which time I say, “Just because he’s of Asian descent does NOT mean he’s Chinese. He’s NOT Chinese. If he was Chinese he wouldn’t need a visa now would he? Do you go to the Mogamma (place to get Egyptian visa) to get a visa? No, why? Because you’re Egyptian and you don’t need a visa for your own country.”

The funny part in all of that is the guy actually had to stop to think if he in fact went to the Mogamma for a visa to stay in Egypt.

They pulled the guy out and made him wait. He was British.

Maybe that’s really only funny to me, but if you live here, I’m sure you can picture the confused look on the Egyptians’ faces as they thought about the Mogamma.

FYI on Daylight Savings Time

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why should I be forced to ‘spring forward, fall back’?” While there are many countries that do not observe Daylight Savings Time (DST), welcome to one of the newest additions: Egypt.

Who cares about those other countries? We live in Egypt and apparently anything goes. Anything, that is, that will make the ruling party – whether it be remnants of Mubarak’s regime or a supposed military council – carry on with more ease.

Here’s a country that prior to the rest of the world “falling back,” it must hurriedly switch its clocks back an hour because God forbid anyone go without food for an extra hour (the month of fasting during sunlight hours for Muslims).

While Turkey is predominantly Muslim, they do not adjust the time accordingly to make Ramadan fasting easier. Isn’t the point of a fast to experience the hardships so that you appreciate what God has given you? Muslims in other areas like the US are forced to go until after 8 pm until Iftar (first meal breaking fast).  Christians around the world, particularly Egyptian Coptics can’t say that they’d like to shorten Lent because they get tired of eating beans and koshery (Coptics are unable to eat anything living during the 40 days of Lent including dairy products).

Imagine my surprise (sarcasm) to have received a notice that the Military Council has decided NOT to implement the usual DST. So for all of you living here, thinking of visiting during this time (are you crazy?), or just simply want to know – Egypt will not be switching back the clocks.

The good news about this is that now no one can use the excuse that they forgot about the time change and show up late for work, not like time is really of importance to anyone anyway.

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