By popular demand…the consulate blog

Posted on February 22, 2006


Some time ago, when I was psyching out trying to maneuver through the immigration process, I decided to investigate that path taken by many shady Egyptians before me: obtaining a new, stamp-free passport by fraudulent means. After much internet searching, I managed to locate the number of the Egyptian consulate in Montréal. Why Montréal, you ask? Why not the actual embassy in Ottawa which is in Ontario, the same province as Toronto? Because, in typical Egyptian fashion, Toronto is within the jurisdiction of the Montréal consulate, while the rest of Ontario is under the embassy in Ottawa. 3ady.
A man answered. For shits and giggles I conducted the conversation in the most Canadian accent I could muster. Yes, I can speak Canadian! You, shut it.
“Hello? Yes, I am an Egyptian citizen and I have lost my passport and I wanted to know how to replace it.”
The thickest Egyptian accent I have ever heard replied. “You mast send money ordar for $150 and two bassbort bicshars, and get bolice rebort for lost bassbort, also comblete za form…”
We carried on like this for a while (he was quite determined) until I said, “Would you prefer if I spoke Arabic?”
“Tayeb ifred in el passpor…mada3sh. Ifred inoo masalan…itdala2 3aleih 7aga.”
“Masalan law itdala2 3aleih ahwa, masalan ya3nee, momken teb3ateholna we haneb3atlik wa7ed gedeed.”
“Fe khelal ad eh?”
“7awalee isboo3 ya fandem.” Can u believe I got ya fandem? Shit, I must be coming up in the world! “7adretik 3awzah 3ashan el higra ya3nee?”
I was silent for a while. I couldn’t believe they were up front like this.
“La2 wala yehemek, howa ana a3raf 7atta ism 7adretik 3ashan tekhafy minny? Momken 7adretek teb3ateeholna, momken tetlifeeh aw la2 7asab manty 3ayza, ma3 el sheek wel sewar, we7na haneb3atlik el gedeed. 3al 3omoom, ana …….. …….., na2eb el consul, ta7t amrek.”
Nice guy, I thought. I embrace such corruption with both hands! But wait…is the consulate so scantily staffed that the deputy consuls are answering phones? And shouldn’t such a person have a command of English? I had thought Canada was a competitive post.
“Tayeb in kan keda momken as2alak so2al 3an mawdoo3 tany?”
“Ta7t amr 7adretik.” I was digging this respect.
“Hal sa3b emte7an el khargeya?” I already knew the answers to my questions – it was more of a sociological (or whatever “science”) experiment .
We chatted about it for a while until I asked, “Tayeb tefteker inno lazemli wasta kebeera khosoosan 3ashan ana bint we mase7eyya we keda?”
A poker was instantly shoved up the boy’s ass. He hastened to defend Egypt’s sterling civil rights record.
“La2 leah bas, ma el consul 3andenna wa7da set, we leah ya3nee masee7ee we muslim, mafeesh far2 abadan, tab3an el wasta betsa3ed bas leah masee7y ya3nee…” And so on. I could see that he was upholding the traditional Egyptian viewpoint of we-got-no-problems-everything-is-fine-we-don’t-discriminate. He seemed especially offended by the sectarian thing. I’d forgotten the staunch Egyptian denial of such sentiments even as the blood flows in the streets. Even so, I was still massively amused by the whole conversation. He promised to be at the phone for me to call back and I hung up to go look at these forms.
As you might expect there are three different websites each with completely different, crookedly scanned forms, requesting different amounts of money and different documents. I decided to take my chances with Citizenship and Immigration. I don’t like hassle.
Posted in: Egypt, humour, immigration