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?”