Thursday, 17 February 2011

Held up in Mininia (8th of Feb)

From Aswan to Luxor all had been quiet, though we saw the first shattered windows and tanks in Luxor. As we progress up the Nile Valley we get into more confrontations with the police. They normally act friendly, but unprofessional and ask for bakshees (bribes) all the time.

Fair enough, this normally happens also in normal circumstances in Egypt too. Most of the time they are pleasant/ok to deal with, to the degree it’s ok to be escorted and stopped all the time. At one point, they even help me to get my bike’s broken frame welded.

When we reach Mininia it is a different story. We have to stop for the night, park at square in the center and ask for a hotel. Within 5 minutes it is 2-300 civilians around us, demanding to see our passports. Of course you don’t show your passport to strangers so I say no. The crowd get more and more aggressive, and accuse us for being spies from Mossad. Everybody knows the Mossad normally drives Nazi-style sidecar motorcycles from the thirties on their operations, but not Danish ones for God’s sake.

When they understand they will not get to see the passports they threaten to call the police, so I tell them to go ahead. First a uniformed officer shows up on motorcycle, and he is calm and ok. Then a plain-cloth officer come and demand to see passport. I ask for his ID, which he hasn’t.

Needless to say, no passport flashing. As the crowd get more and more “intense” I suggest that we take refuge at the police station, which the undercover cop think is a good idea. So off we go, with 2-300 nuclear researchers, a fair amount of neurologists, some brain surgeons, a few rocket scientists and a minority of camel fuckers running after us, shouting and hoping for the Israeli spies to get hanged at the spot.

At the police station they are polite, and serve us tea and cigarettes. However, their actions and questioning don’t impress in a positive way: What are you doing for work? Where do you come from and what is your nationality (while “reading” the passport)? Do you carry a lot of gold and diamonds?

They write down the information from the passports and when it is done they ask our names are again. Then they start to argue about who should have the paper where they have written down the information. After quite some time a bright mind recalls they have a Xerox machine so each one of they can have a copy, even of the passport’s front page. We are stunned by their ability to reason out this brilliant idea to take photocopies and just has to congratulate them.

After four hours of phone calls (but never to the Norwegian embassy which would be the easiset way to check us out from Mossad's payrolls) and clever cross-examination they take us to a hotel, where it is a tourist police that checked our bags. Just as well, we might have equipment and a desire to blow up the towns most ran down hotel, especially as we’re the only guests. Then they fetch us with a police car with flashing lights and siren to a restaurant, and back to the hotel and placed a guard for the night, in addition to the tourist police officer. The next morning they escort us out of town, and could proudly look back at another intricate case closed.


Some of the police/army we had no problems with, and actually helped somewhere down the Nile Valley. All they wanted was some bribes, like 95% of them. When they didn't get anything it was still no problems with them.

In Cairo


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