Visa Bitterness…

For winter break, I was planning to embark on a backpack based trip across a few countries in South East Asia; Japan to Thailand to Cambodia to Vietnam to Malaysia (and possibly Borneo) and then back to Japan. And while the plan is still on, I am put off.

Today morning, the alarm goes off, it’s 7 AM, it’s 2 degrees outside my window, I am tired and would love to get more sleep and maintain the much loved warmness, but I roll out of my futon, thinking I should (and would) get paper work done and visas stamped. I make sure I have everything I need: a folder with an application form, bank statement, a certificate of admission from my school, e-tickets, photocopies of my student card and Japanese Alien Registration Card, and a fresh mind ready for navigation on an almost 2 hour trip from Hirakatashi to Sakaisuji-Honmachi.

What’s funny (or not) is that I only worry about getting to there, not knowing that I should worry about what’s actually there.

After moments of cursing google maps for giving me the wrong directions, and after asking random shop keepers who are so eager to help even if they have no clue, I, along with Laziri san, find my way to the Royal Thai Consulate General.

I stand in line, excited, happy to know that I will cross one more thing from my trip-related to-do list. I make sure my folder is intact and complete. I wait for my turn.

“Hai, doozo”, I say to the lady behind the counter, while handing her the paper-filled folder, topped with my green passport with its golden eagle.

“Ahh, so where are you form?”, she asks while not looking at me, but at the passport that answers her very question.

I make the fact that an Egyptian passport dictates that I am Egyptian clearer, by telling her that I am  Egyptian.

And that’s when all the fun starts…

Apparently I have to fill 4 other applications, go through more paper work and give them a signed and stamped schedule of all my trip. Not the Thailand part, no, ALL my trip. They don’t take any of the documents I have prepared. They tell me to go and to make sure to come a little bit earlier, next time, and they’d consider my visa application.

Why? Why is there a hierarchy of human beings based on where they come from? Why am I treated like a potential child-prostitutor while the actual prostitutors are waved from the visa because they are whiter and richer?

On the train back, I spend most of the time crying in silence and since it is a limited express train, meaning no stops, no people getting in and getting out, no recorded distractions, the crying is long, perpetual, uninterrupted, and sad rather than mad…

What happened today was… hurtful… to say the least. And it’s not about the visa per se. It’s not about having to fill in an additional million paper before they can “consider” my application. It’s not about me receiving looks normally reserved for shit-eaters.

Sadly, there’s more to it than that.

I just applied for a tourist visa… I wanted to eat some Thai food, see nature and take pictures. But what about those who are desperate? Why does it cost so much to be treated well?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ALAA
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 21:59:20

    Excellent as always DINA!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck we ma3lesh 3ala elly 7asal….

    Reply

  2. Khaled El Ghayesh
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 22:23:19

    Well D that’s sad.. really sad. Personally I’ve been there before 4 times. That’s why it’s very important to set your life and your goals to include a goal as finding a way to get another passport and the citizenship of another country one day.

    On the other hand, just keep on filling the 4 applications and keep going all the way. I’ve did it like and have been doing it for more than a year now as a life or death thing… to get the visa or die, and now thankfully my passport is full of visas!

    BEST OF LUCK

    Reply

  3. Mohamed E. El-Gindy
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 23:56:44

    You always inspire me with your writings. With all my respect and love. Please Take Care of Yourself.

    Reply

  4. Nicki
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 04:47:47

    😦 I’m sorry to hear about that *hugs*. I hope we manage to chat very soon x

    Reply

  5. Grega
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 11:58:15

    You will fill in those 4 sheets, they will let you go and you will enjoy in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam… hang on in there!

    Reply

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