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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

Visa schmisas

CHINA | Friday, 13 June 2008 | Views [680]

I went to the Cambodian Embassy today. And it was quite an adventure.

One of my students helped me find the address online because I couldn’t figure out the Chinese after many, many hours of fighting with online “type in Chinese” programs.

But it turns out that the directions he gave me were very, very, very wrong. I walked around for THREE HOURS before texting a friend (an Irish friend) who gave me very, very right directions leading me to the embassy in about 10 minutes.

Once I found the embassy, the guard wouldn’t let me in. He said it was closed for holiday. I fought with him in terrible Chinglish for about three minutes before a nice lady walked by, heard the situation, and asked if I needed help. Utterly grateful, I accepted.

Even this Chinese lady who spoke amazing English couldn’t make the guard understand that the embassy WASN’T closed. He made me wait beyond the borders of the embassy. But still in site of it. I decided that since it was only 3:15 and it didn’t actually close until 4, I would wait. After a half hour, I tried to call a friend to get the phone number to resolve this situation, but no one was available for random internet searching.

I continued to wait.

Finally, someone from inside the embassy came out to collect the mail. I screamed, “NI HAO!” He responded by gesturing to the visa office that I’d been trying to get in for 45 minutes. Without even acknowledging that the guard was still…guarding me, I walked in.

The man there was sort of baffled when I told him that the guard wouldn’t let me in. Forty-five minutes of waiting had me sort of frazzled and near tears. The visa man was a little baffled by that as well.

I filled out the paperwork, paid for my visa, and thanked the man for being very nice. He just sort of chuckled. When I left, I sort of glanced at the stupid guard who was watching me as if I were white flowy skirt wearing bomb-maker.

During this ordeal, all I could think of was how much I look like a terrorist… 

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