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August 1997 Vol. 12, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Film Jam

from the August, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

How can you carry film and avoid being held by the police? Authorities suggested to Deborah Fugitt that permission from the Tourist Police in Cairo or the Egyptian Embassy in Cairo should be obtained before taking any photos -- not very practical. Checking with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was no help -- "Just let the police process the film" was their reply.

I contacted the Egyptian Embassy in San Francisco, which directed me to the Egyptian Tourist Authority, where director Yahya Abdel Kader claimed the proper procedure for doing any type of photography in Egypt would be to check with customs upon arrival. He also recommended that photographers contact the Egyptian Tourist Authority in California to obtain a letter of introduction to facilitate this procedure in Egypt.

This is not the advice you will get if you book your trip from a dive travel specialist who has a Red Sea program. Tour wholesalers have agents who meet you at the airport upon arrival (some even before you get to customs) and walk you to the gate on departure. Their job is to get divers in and out with no hassles. They know the system and they know that if you try to register excess film it may open up a bureaucratic maze.

If you're traveling on your own, like Deborah, checking with customs on the way in might be the best option. If you're booking your trip through a dive travel specialist and carrying more than five rolls of film, my advice would be to discuss it thoroughly with your agent before departure and follow her advice.

J. Q.

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