Saturday, September 20, 2008

Whazzup Egypt !!!: New Tourist Visa Extension Law

Whazzup Egypt !!!: New Tourist Visa Extension Law

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Thanks Kim at Whazzup Egypt for this note. I get five to ten emails a month from people all over the world who are wanting to come to live and work in Egypt. That may seem odd to some, but it is true. I do counsel that life here can be tough if you aren't prepared...having either some help here or a decent knowledge of Arabic is the absolute minimum unless you are a radical Outward Bound graduate. Until recently it's been fairly easy for someone to come here on a tourist visa and then find work, but it isn't so surprising at all that the government is making it tougher. So if you are thinking of coming to live, you might want to line up a job ahead of time or be sure that you can get a work visa through your employer. There are plenty of employers who will ignore that little step, putting their employees in the position of being illegal workers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making An Exception

I generally don't talk about politics much. Egyptian politics are confusing, frustrating, and usually pretty pointless. The government here does pretty much what it wants and it's up to us to cope, not that this course of events is so different anywhere else as well really. After almost 60 years of watching politics in a number of countries it all starts to get a bit blurry.

However, the recent nightmarish possibility that someone like Sarah Palin could actually become the Vice President of the United States has made me break my politics rule. I'm watching the US elections with a great deal of interest this year. She was picked so carefully to provide McCain with some kind of excitement (I've seen him speak...he does not generate much heat and tends to simply repeat himself...old age?) but what a horrific possibility. How are women in the US supposed to support a woman who as mayor of a town in Alaska was the one to insist that rape victims pay for the rape kit used by the police in their investigations...something like that is usually on the house, to say the least. The New York Times article that the title accesses offers innumberable reasons to doubt the suitability of this woman for a job that could put her in the Presidency should her well-aged partner kick off any time in the next four years.

Personally, I see this election as being much more important to the US internationally than it is to the country domestically. The President of the United States is the public face of the country. Bad enough the world has had to put up with the Howdy Doody brainlessness of George W. for the past too many seasons...but if the voters in the United States show that they feel this superannuated "war hero" and the brainless (albeit fiendishly clever and manipulative) set of boobs chosen to accompany him are to be the public face of the "leader of the free world" I honestly suspect that there is going to be a major reconsideration of just how important the US is anyway. And with the financial crises that are being set off by the banking crisis in the US, there will be even more cause to reconsider.

Of course, one of the major characteristics of American culture, especially as epitomized by Fox News and CNN and such, is the tendency to imagine that the rest of the world is "just like us" only poorer or that they are the enemy. In actual fact, neither of these assumptions is justified, and I sort of doubt that very many Americans are really going to worry too much about what the rest of the world thinks about the US Presidency. On what basis Americans are going to choose between the candidates remains to be seen but the possibilities are a bit daunting.

As a North American living in the Middle East, the low level of international knowledge shown by Palin, despite the fact that she can see Russia from an island off the coast of Alaska, is rather frightening. Ignorance is definitely not bliss...just ask anyone who's been involved in the Iraq war which has been a monument to ignorance and lies from day one. Now that it's finally public that Bush lied about the reasons for the war, maybe it's time to seriously re-evaluate the US activities in the region. Somehow I can't see McCain and Palin doing that.

It's going to be an interesting in the Chinese curse that wishes one to live in "interesting" times.

Sorry, no photos here. I tried to use some from the web and none of the ones I uploaded of Sarah Palin would show in the blog...I wonder what that means.

copyright 2008 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani