Cairo, in pursuit of a visa for Sudan

After two and a half hours at the Sudan Embassy, I think I am a little closer to a visa to Sudan.

We started early and walked over to the main road near the Nile River. The idea was to see what early morning traffic might be like for bicycle riding. After that a trip on the Metro and then we found the Sudan Embassy (recently moved to new temporary quarters: 8 Ahmed El Shattoury St, Al Dokki). From here it was a somewhat interesting multi-step process:

  • Waiting room is open, but tellers aren’t there yet. Wait 30 minutes.
  • The little windows open up for business, pick between “cashier”, “immigration”, “consul” and “medical” and stand in what is hopefully the right line. It was a toss-up between “immigration” and “consul” so I picked “immigration” which seemed to be the right one.
  • Eventually get to the head of the line. Present the paperwork I had which included a sponsor letter from TDA, a visa application downloaded from Washington DC embassy and completed, passport, pictures, etc. What seemed to be most interesting was the TDA letter. It was handed to someone who disappeared for a long long time. Eventually, it looks like they had a document with riders on the trip and cross-checked against my name. Hooray!
  • Hand me a Visa application and explain to me in Arabic some things I didn’t completely understand but guessed to mean: fill out the form, make a photocopy of form and passport, make sure to add the sponsor company address, etc.
  • Go back and have fill out the form as best I can, this takes a while.
  • Stand back in line before remembering I was supposed to add photocopies. So stand in the line for photocopier. Discover the copier is powered off. Someone might be investigating how to get power, but this seems to take a long time, so eventually myself and others leave.
  • Walk back to the street, find a small shop to make photocopies
  • Go back to immigration line and eventually when get to the head, present the documents to be processed. These are received and someone disappears to cross-check my answers. Little check marks and Arabic script is added to my document, but looks like I pass and am told to get in line for cashier.
  • Wait through the cashier line, eventually get up there. Right before I get there, the cashier puts away his calculator and goes on break. I wait 10 minutes and he comes back so I pay the fee. They staple a receipt to documentation, smile and say, “pick up tomorrow”.

Not sure why, but somehow this process took two and a half hours of standing in different lines, getting the next step done and then figuring out what comes next. I have a good feeling about this and am again optimistic there could be a visa attached tomorrow.

After that trip, we rode the metro downtown to investigation train schedules and also walked along via Tahir Square. There is a lot of traffic downtown. There are also picture signs with horn and red slash through them, though compliance is spotty. Below are a few more photos along the way.

Beautiful mosque downtown.

Tahir Square has a bunch of tents in the middle. Reminds me a bit of “Occupy Portland” (and similar Occupy movements) where folks pitched tents in middle of public square to help spread their word. Other than tents, and slogans and banenrs, Tahir Square is pretty quiet.

Though hanging from nearby street lamp.

Mmmm schwarma

Oranges plentiful and less expensive than bananas per pound.

Otherwise, my bike has been reassembled. Still need to pump up the tires, but looks like it made it fine on the flight.

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