I totally got interrogated at the Cairo airport today!
The burly immigration officer examined my passport quizzically then asked - 'Ma'am, what is your maiden name?'
Me - "Shamma."
"That's my middle name"
'You are aware that is an Arabic name, right?'
"Cause my father is from here."
I opted to skip the part where he was born in Syria and grew up here, in order to not further complicate things.
'Your father is Egyptian?'
The gentleman, clearly displeased, flipped to my Visa page and eyed it suspiciously.
'You have been here since July.'
Note, our original Egyptian visas expired in three weeks ago. My cousin insisted we could just pay a fine at the airport and be on our way, no sense to go through the trouble of renewing it at the embassy. Luckily, we opted NOT to listen to that advice.
'Ma'am, I am going to need to see some documentation that proves you are a resident here.'
"I am not a resident. I am traveling on a tourist visa." (That is both current and unexpired. Thank GOD.)
'But you are Egyptian?'
"Yes, and I was born in America."
He mulled over his thoughts for a few minutes, fingering the pages of my passport. I racked my brain for my uncles phone number, preparing to call in reinforcements.
'Here you go, have a nice trip."
Thanks Egypt. It's been real.