This post was edited by longzhou at 2012-5-27 14:01|
Source: El Pais (Digital edition)
Author: Ana Carbajosa (El Pais correspondent for the Middle East)
Translation: Longzhou (any mistakes are mine and not the author's)
Travelling from Cairo to TelAviv in a direct flight at these times of political transition in Egypt it’s, let’s put it this way, a strange experience. The Egyptian authorities insist in making this trip as ghostly as possible. It all comes to pretend this trip does not exist, to keep the image in times when the military and political leaders try avoiding any type of contact with the neighboring Israel. Quite the opposite. It throws wood in the anti-Israeli fire, because they know it’s an issue that is very bullish in the electoral markets.
The mentioned flight is operated by a so called Air Sinai. It is so, because the company is more an euphemism than any other thing. You could say it does not exist. You need to know very well how the thing works to end up boarding the plane. You need to know that, in reality, it is Air Egypt, but for political reasons they don’t want to be associated with a destination in Israel.
At the airport counter, one has to ask “the Air Sinai flight”. They sell you the ticket and from that moment starts an adventure full of implied moves and conversations with subtitles through all the Terminal 3 of Cairo airport.
The flight is not shown on the screens, which means that finding the check in counter is more or less like a scavenger hunt. “Please the Air Sinai flight?” one has to shout in the terminal, till you bump with an accomplice smile of a clever employee that knows what all is about. Before checking in, Egyptian police examine the passport thoroughly without too many explanations before authorizing you to leave the country.
Once at the boarding gate number H1, the screen announces a flight to Geneva and suddenly and in small letters appears the word Tel Aviv, that immediately disappears.The airport speakers announce cities all around the world, (.....) except the flight that will fly in a few minutes to Israel. “Sir, this is far too complicated. Why there is no announcement for this flight?” I ask the flight attendant. “We have some technical problems” , he explains.
After, there is the trip by bus to the runaway where the plane is parked, also a ghost one. It’s a white airplane, with no signs that associates it with any company nor destination. Once inside the plane, far away from the public eye, everything is more relaxed. The logo of Egypt Air appears everywhere. On the headrest, on the onboard magazine....
P.S: If there was any doubt that business and money rules the world, here's the final proof!