Posted by: r.m. | April 2, 2012

The Twililght Zone of “155” – Cairo phone

I just read a blog by a colleague of mine (at UNDP-Regional Center in Cairo) about his musings on life in Cairo.  I’d link to his blog but you have to be registered within the UN family to access that site, so alas.

Anyway, his musings, entitled ‘Living in Cairo,’ encouraged me to write about one encounter I’ve had in Cairo thus far.

{For all my comrades, forgive me for not writing about the revolution, or the elections, or anything else of a political nature.  My apologies.}

A few weeks ago, I moved into a furnished apartment in Zamalek.  Naturally, I want to set up a wireless internet system in the apartment (if for no other reason than to save me the money that I’m spending on my 3G phone).  So, I go to Vodofone, where I have my phone subscribed to.  Easy, they say. Fill out this paperwork and state the apartment number, and in ten days, they will get back to me.  Okay.

In a week, I get a call from their office saying that my request has been declined because the phone already has a internet service. Seems the fellow who stayed at the apartment before me had an internet service that he didn’t cancel.

No problem, I say, just cancel it. 

Ah, we can’t do that. You have to call this number from your landline phone, and then they’ll tell you to whom you’re subscribed, and then you call this number to cancel that subscription, and then you call us to set it up.

Okay. Doesn’t seem to0 hard.

So, when I get home, I call that number: 155.  I get a recording that says that I’m calling after work hours and to call back between 8 and 2 pm.  Okay.

So, the next day I call in the morning, and I get a recording that says that the phone number I’ve called is not working and that it is the wrong number.

When I call that same number after office hours, I get the recording that I need to call during office hours.


So, after a few days of this nonsense, I go to the Vodafone office and explain the situation to them.  They call, and since they’re calling after office hours, they get the recording to call back.  I ask them how can I solve this problem.

No problem, just go to the Central office.

Okay, where is the Central office?

Ah, wait, he tells me. You live in Zamalek, that Central office is being renovated. You’re going to need to call. Just keep trying

So, here I am, locked in this Twilight Zone moment.

No joke. No April Fools. Just another head-banging-against-the-wall-moment

{again, apologies, comrades}


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