Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The banana man wants to travel to China

Tonight, as I buy a kilo of bananas and yustufendi (mandarins), the fruit vendor asks me about traveling to China. He wants a visa and inquires if it’s easier to receive one if he applies as my friend. Having traveled to China only once from Egypt, I remember how troublesome the visa application process was for me, despite my American passport. I tried to tell him that he probably still needs a letter of invitation and a flight ticket. “Can you inquire for me?” “Sure,” I said in a non-committal way. “Promise me?” I felt the pressure. I shook his hand and promised him that I would ask. It seems to me that if the question of yesteryear was “how do I get a visa to America?” the new question of today is “how do I get a visa to China?”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tear gas from the nearby demonstrations wafted into our Sa'ad Zaghloul apartment, forcing us to open the windows. My roommates cut open some onions and recommended that I eat them, saying they would help against the effects of the tear gas.
We saw smoke rising from nearby Qasr Al-Ainy street. My friend Hatem told us that it was a burning couch and tires. Despite all this, I still went out for dinner with a friend and tea with another. When I returned on the metro, the tear gas was very strong at Sadat Station. Several men on the platform were peddling face masks for 1LE each. And a number of their fellows Egyptians bought from them eagerly. Stay tuned...