car license

The Pure Joy of Renewing a Car License in Egypt

There was a time in Egypt, only a few short years back, when a person might have his driver’s license registered to one address, his car license to a second, his passport to a third, and his national ID to a fourth.

When I first arrived in Cairo in 1986, my father wanted to make sure we got into Cairo University. That meant that our place of residence needed to be in one of the

The concept of "lines" completely eludes the Egyptian public. This was a "line" in front of the fines' office in Haram.

neighborhoods whose residents are allowed to go to it. Back then, we didn’t have a house. And my grandfather lived in Matariya. Matariya residents went to Ain Shams University. So my father made some sort of an agreement with a friend of his who lived in Agouza (a neighborhood whose residents could go to Cairo University) and they somehow managed to get my Egyptian passport registered to Uncle Anas’ apartment. I never saw Uncle Anas again. Ever. I don’t even know if he’s still alive. But for years my passport and then my car and my driver’s license were all registered to that address.

(more…)