After a quick planning meeting it was decided that the team m embers split up so Andre, Rene and Denis would go to the Airport to book flights out to Rome whereas Paul , mark and Willy would go to the Marina Shipping Agencies to organise shipping details for the cars.
At the agencies office they were greeted by Nashwu Adel representing Marina Agencies and Ahmed El Nahas who was recommended to us by Kaamel the fixer from Aswan.
Nashwu proceeded with the paper work for all three cars and it became clear that the ship would leave on 23rd July to arrive not later than 27th July in Venice. Unfortunately with the backs against the wall there was no room to negotiate any cheaper rates and a price of 615 Euros was finally agreed to plus the fee for the clearing agents in Venice at a cost of 250 Euros.
About an hour later all shipping papers where issued and now the task of getting all customs clearance, police checks and other permissions in place had to star.
Ahmed at the tender age of 72 swung onto his Vespa whilst the 3 Elao members chased behind him through the back and site streets of Alexandria. First we had to get a customs pre clearance as well as a permission to drive our cars into the harbour prior to shipping. This was done at some custom office in town and the sound of stamps hitting paper was present at all times.
The newer self inking stamps had to be pressed down not just once but mostly 3 times, with great enthusiasm seemingly to add to the importance and showcasing the authority of each and all officers with signing power.
The Elao members assumed that the Egyptian government also gave priority to employees with hearing problems which necessitated to talk very loud with each other and the rolling rrrs of the Arabic language sounded like every one is mouning at each other. Combined with 38 degrees celcius, non-functioning aircons and the smell of hard working official’s sweat in the air the next 50 minutes became almost unbearable.
However perseverance prevailed and the responsible and last signing port official eventually hammered his final stamp onto some forms which might never be read again …… however no forms and no stamps means no entrance to the harbour for final customs clearance.
Off to the police who now had to check whether the disciplined drivers of lipstick , bulldog and icevan would have been recorded for contravening a traffic offence whilst in Egypt. Again a huge office with some 30 officials with each one of them having their own responsibility ,signing power and stamp.
Ahmed our fixer speaks very little English but seems to be well known by all officials involved . He obviously is fully aware of the meagre salaries which these important officers earn and elegantly contributes to their financial well being by passing some Egyptian pounds discretely into the hands of these state employees – when forms are handed back to him. The uninformed would definitely not even see that this important police station is also a wealth creation centre.
Yeebooh at about 2pm all members met at some street café on Alexandria’s beach front for some light refreshment and counting our achievements of the day – the one team was able to produce all air tickets whereas the other team had all pre clearing stamps and this had to be toasted with a proper “zur Mitte”…………
All other “overlanders” take note about the contact details….
Nashwu Adel from Marine Shipping Agencies:
13 Salah Salem Street
Phone : (203) 4863647 cell : 019 706 9700
..and the “Fixer”
Ahmed A. El Nahas
42 Esmael Sabry Street
Cell: 012 323 6752