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Security in Egypt

writing on NP052 from SSH to CAI

The security measures at the Egyptian airport Sharm el Sheikh are high even for domestic flights. Without passport and vehicle control we do not even get to the parking lot in front of the terminal building. Thereby, an official with mirror goes around the car and looks so under it for bombs, the trunk must also be opened – of course with the utmost accuracy.

In the terminal itself, despite the domestic flight, we are already screened the first time before we even get to the counter to get our boarding pass. At the counter of Nile Air it is explained to us that we need a complete visa for Egypt, which we could buy in the hall for international arrivals. Stupid that you can’t get there so easily.

So Daniel goes off, our two backpacks with me, so that it goes faster for him right away. I look around and finally stop on the spot, because I don’t see any place to sit except for the group of tables with chairs, because the officials populate it. A few minutes later, a female officer waves me over and offers me the seat next to her. Very nice. In the next breath, she also shares her cookies with me. So I sit cookie-munching with my new friend behind the security checkpoint and certainly make a highly official impression, when Egyptians also spread out their things in front of me to be searched.

After about 20 minutes, however, I slowly get nervous, because I still have no sign of life from Daniel. Meanwhile, the departure is only half an hour away, he finally comes.

So while Julia was having a good time, I hurried through the terminal looking for an entrance to the arrivals hall. After some back and forth and the hurdle of the language barrier, I finally stood in front of the personnel entrance. But unfortunately, no access for tourists is allowed here, so after a few discussions with the staff, one of the security officers agreed to get the visa for us. In the meantime, I was no longer alone and had company from a Russian family man who was facing the same problem. So we handed over our passports and the necessary 50 USD or in our case 50 Euro to the security officer and hoped that everything would go well. He disappeared immediately and was not seen again for the next 15 minutes. As time passed, we became more and more nervous as the departure was getting closer and closer. Finally he came back together with a colleague from the visa office. As it turned out, no Euros are accepted after all. The Russian family man was able to help me out with US dollars, so that I could exchange 50 EUR for 50 USD and we finally got our visa. We went back through the security check, behind which Julia was already waiting nervously.

When we leave the country one day later, there is still the highlight in terms of passport control. I am checked eight (!) times, either with or without boarding pass, and also x-rayed twice. I can’t walk five steps without being asked for my passport again. Each time the official of the day takes it very exactly and writes both my name and the passport number or also flight number in a gigantic, encyclopedic-looking book. I wonder if these books full of awkward Latin letters next to Arabic notes will ever be checked by any official body anymore….

In addition, during the first “screening” during departure, I am told that the liquids, properly packed for European standards in a transparent 1-liter plastic bag, are only properly stored in the check-in baggage. However, no one is interested in the fact that I have an almost full 1.5 liter water bottle in my backpack. – On a return flight that lasts five hours, however, it is convenient to rediscover the then in the bag. 🙂

One response to “Security in Egypt”

  1. Dicky Avatar

    Hallo Julia,
    du schreibst so unterhaltsam, da brauche ich nicht mehr in den Urlaub zu fahren.
    Mach weiter so.

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