(Day 49) Cairo – 18 May 2011
Distance for the day – 0 km
Odometer – 13 998 km
Hours on the Bike – 00:00
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 234 296
This was our last day in Cairo and we were booked on a flight late the evening back home. There were still a few things on the to-do list in Cairo, the largest city in Africa with its 20 million inhabitants, like visit the Market and possibly the Famous Egyptian Museum as well, but first things first, which was to sign a final document for releasing our motorbikes.
We were picked up by Mostafa Kamel of the shipping company Pure, which is an integrated Logistic Services Company. He was a pleasant lad with a good sense of humour and asked us if we were ready to experience some frustrating bureaucracy in a way that only the Egyptians could present it. The goal was to sign an affidavit to the shipping company to give them the authority to sign on our behalf, with the process of shipping our motorbikes back to South Africa. To do this we had to go into town and luckily we did not have to take the motorbikes along. Upon arriving at the institution where the magic document had to be completed, we were faced with our first problem. Our passports did not have the necessary residence stamp in it? We could either go back to our Hotel, which was going to take the biggest part of an hour or we could get it done at the passport office near the famous Midan Tahrir square in downtown. This sounded exiting and we decided to do this. Mostafa was giving us all the news of what happened there recently with all the violence in Cairo and also was a saving grace at the Passport Offices. We were shunted back and fourth from one official to the next, one floor to the other and after an hour and a half we left the offices with the required stamp in our passports.
We went back to our first stop for the day and then learned that we had to appoint an official interpreter to help us with our documentation. This cost us R150 pp after negotiations that started at R500 pp. The irony was that Mostafa was a hundred times more fluent in English than our R150 pp interpreter, but he did not have the magic authorization stamp on his ID. This stamp nearly cost us to postpone our trip back to SA because it did not comply with what one of the officials was requesting. It ended up in a big argument between our “Interpreter” and the head of the office. The three of us ended on the pavement outside, waiting, waiting and waiting. Money was the only way to solve the problem and we left late the afternoon, leaving all the corrupt fat cats with their share and Mostafo jokingly asking if we enjoying the bureaucracy yet? This ordeal wasted our whole day and we were just too glad to be back at the Hotel with only a few hours left before leaving for Johannesburg. We were just happy that finally everything was now in place realizing that it would never have happened without the help of Amid and Mostafo.
We had our last beer next to the pool at the hotel and said our goodbyes to Anton v Zyl and Paul Schenck. We then left for the Airport.