Life In Cairo

Here it goes again… Another great post about the Norwegian embassy in Cairo. A place that should be a sanctuary for Norwegians in the crazy city of Cairo, where they can seek advice and get help when needed! Well, not this one… If im going to be honest, I don’t even know why they claim to have an embassy in Cairo, until now they have just been useless. It’s just a heavily guarded building with Egyptians working there that don’t know anything…

Anyways enough complaining… I’ll tell you the story.

A few big things are happening in my life right now but ill let you in on this when we are closer to the date… But for this event to happen I needed a paper stamped by the norwegian embassy to be able to use it in the Egyptian government.

So a few weeks ago I called the embassy to check with them when I could come to get the piece of paper stamped. Let me just add that this document was originally in Norwegian and we paid thousands of pounds to get it translated professionally with a certificate of authenticity for government use.

The same woman who I spoke to when I was going to get married and when I was registering my husband as the father of my child. If you’ve been reading my blog, you might remember that because of this woman I ended up staying 2 months extra in Norway with my newborn son because I was not able to get a passport unless my son had a dad on the birth certificate. This woman didn’t send the document that my husband signed in Cairo for several weeks so in the end my husband had to fly to Norway for 2 days to sign a paper, in order to be registered as a dad. Trying to make a long story short, not my thing, so sorry if that was messy! But all you need to know is that I don’t usually say I hate someone, as it’s a strong word, but I think im pretty sure I hate her!

So anyways I explain to her that I need a document stamped by the embassy as the government requires this for the document to be legal. My husband has 3 other friends that have done the same stamping of document in their embassies.

She asks me what type of document this is and claims she only has 3 stamps and none of them can be used on this document! So I ask her what are the 3 stamps you have? No no I only have 3 stamps. Okey, what are they? I just have 3 stamps. Sorry we cannot do this. Okey thank you so much for your help… Or rather NO help!

So my husband decides to call one of our Egyptian supermen that have access to everything in this country for a little cash! So he said he would take the document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and get it stamped by them for use by my husbands employer. He calls a few days later and says there is no way they will stamp it without a stamp from the Norwegian embassy, you have to try them again, all other embassies have this stamp.

Egypt and your FREAKING stamps! I’ve never had to deal with this many stamps as the last 3 years here compared to my whole life!!! My dad collects stamps and i think ive had to obtain more stamps getting married here than what he has in his collection! I know most of you are thinking they are not the same stamps, but they have two types of stamps here. The ones that you post things with and another one you dip in ink. Here you use both, a few postage stamps and then seal it with an ink stamp! Then sign it and lick the paper so your DNA is on it and then one step with your favourite shoes, only the left foot is valid, and then wipe your behind with the document after a number  2 on the toilet and the document is legal!

So my husband and I discussed the situation and decided the best thing would just be to go to the embassy during visiting hours and try to get this freaking stamp. The woman answering the phone obviously doesn’t know what she’s talking about! The visiting hours are 4 days a week, for 2 hours in the morning only!

We drive the 45 minute drive to the Norwegian embassy. We get there and we decide the best thing would be if I go alone, as im Norwegian, and it my embassy. So I walk up to the door and a security guard approaches me.

  • What you want?
  • I want to enter the Norwegian embassy. I showed him my passport.
  • What you want to do?
  • I want to get this document stamped. He starts reading the document as if he has the right to do that because he is security?!?
  • You have an appointment?
  • No because I am here during visiting hours. I just want a stamp, it will take 5 min.
  • One minute… He enters MY embassy and closes the door behind him. So im stood outside in 35 degrees sweating with my passport in my hand…

He comes back a few minutes later with a paper in his hand. Call this number and ask for appointment… And hands me the paper. Press 1 and then 1 on the options… And he steps to the side and puts his headphones on to continue listening to music… I’m so sorry I interrupted your Nile Fm House Music session…

I called the number on the paper that the security guard commanded me to! By the way this is the same number I have been calling the last 3 years, also the one I called the week before. The number where the person I hate always answers!!!!

Guess what… Nobody answers… So I’m standing outside the Norwegian embassy calling the woman sat inside the building, literally 4 meters away from me to get an appointment. The solution is so simple… I’m Norwegian, I’m here at my embassy, I want a document stamped and its visiting hours! Just let me in and in 2.5 min this will all be over and ill never call you or bother you ever again! Nope…

An Egyptian man comes wanting to enter the embassy. The security asks him what he wants. Applying for visa. Okey go ahead… So an Egyptian man with Egyptian passport who wants to apply to get a visa to visit this country is allowed inside. But me a Norwegian, with a Norwegian passport with a Norwegian document cannot enter… I have to stand outside the building and CALL the woman inside. So is this embassy for Norwegians or for Egyptians trying to enter Norway? I’m confused…

I inform the security guard, who is also Egyptian and can enter MY embassy as he pleases because he has a walkie-talkie in his hand, that nobody answers. So he takes my phone and dials the number. Like I was so stupid I didn’t know how to call them… He presses 1 and then 1 and they answer.

  • Hi. I’m standing outside the embassy right now and I would like to stamp a document I have in my hand.
  • What document is this?
  • It’s a Norwegian document translated to arabic officially that needs to be stamped by the embassy, so the ministry of foreign affairs in Egypt can stamp it.
  • Then you need to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • I have and they cannot stamp it without a stamp from the Norwegian embassy. Can you please stamp it?
  • I cannot stamp it, I only have 2 stamps and none of them for this situation. Last time it was 3, you think she lost one?
  • Okey what are these two stamps? I can’t use the document unless it has a stamp from you and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told us to go to the EMBASSY to get the stamp. I’m standing outside the embassy, can you just let me in so you can see the paper and let me know the solution, if you can’t stamp it?
  • Do you have an appointment?
  • No im here during visiting hours.
  • Okey but for a stamp you need an appointment.
  • Okey then I want to book an appointment now.
  • Oh not possible, today is Monday. Appointment is only Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Okey but im outside the embassy right now, we drove nearly an hour to get here, can you give me some kind of solution? You can’t stamp it, but I can book an appointment and then you can’t stamp it?
  • I don’t know the woman who stamps is not here…
  • Okey I want an appointment. What time is the first available appointment?
  • Okey. Can you call in 10 min?

Ok… This is the point where I take the gun from the security guard and shoot myself in the head! You don’t have a stamp, you only have 2 because you lost one, you can’t stamp, the woman who stamps is not here, The ministry says you  have to stamp but you say you can’t, can’t enter the embassy during visiting hours because I need an appointment, try to get appointment but not now…

I get in the car and we drive home, anyways I was not going to get an appointment until tomorrow. I wanted to suggest that she throw a stamp out the window, I stamp the paper and throw it back, but as she claimed she didn’t have the stamp and the stamping woman was not there.

So in case anyone wants to stamp something in the Norwegian embassy, most likely they will not have the stamp, but if they do, the woman who can pick up the stamp and place it on your paper only works on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

I call 10 min later as the woman asked me to… No answer…. 20 min later… No answer…. 35 min later…. No answer…. So smart… How to deal with people you don’t want to deal with? Tell them call in 10 min and don’t answer! Easy right!

TWO hours later she answers….

  • I’m trying to call you to get an appointment to stamp my document.
  • Yes but is it in Arabic or Norwegian?
  • Both. Originally Norwegian and an official translation in Arabic.
  • We cannot stamp the document if you don’t have another stamp first.
  • I have a stamp.
  • What kind of stamp?
  • One that certifies the document is officially translated.
  • No you need another stamp first.
  • What stamp first?
  • From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • But I have been there and they will not stamp the document without a stamp from you!
  • Yes I cannot give you an appointment because we cannot stamp the paper. Maybe check with the Egyptian embassy in Norway or Norwegian government….

Okey I think id rather live in Egypt for the rest of my life than talk to this woman for a second more… She makes me want to shoot myself in the foot and die a gruesome death instead of getting this freaking stamp!

  • Okey thank you very much for your help (note in a super sarcastic voice)
  • No problem at all dear, anytime. Can I help you with anything else?

Wait what???? Help me??? You think you have helped me? Wow your sense of reality is messed up! You have actually just ruined my day that i spent driving around Cairo, you humiliated me because an Egyptian entered MY embassy easier than I did, actually I didn’t even enter… You told me to call back after 10 min but let me call for over 2 hours until you bothered to answer! And then you pushed the problem over to someone else, aka the Norwegian government.

So thank you Norwegian embassy… In any case of emergency ill make sure im there only during visiting hours if I have a friend applying for a visa to help let me in or ill make sure the emergency is only on a Tuesday or Thursday and that ive called before to book an appointment and ill spend several hours calling as the woman will most likely ignore my calls for a while…

You cant imagine how much I hate stamps in this freaking country… If I hear the word or see another stamp I will eat it and throw it up and flush the puke down the toilet and make sure the sewage plant is shut down forever so you never see this stamp again unless you want to swim through raw human waste to get it!

Good night!

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