Would You Let These People Into Your Country?

Chinese visa application

Today we took the first steps towards getting a Chinese visa. These were not the "get up at 8am and be at the embassy by 9, prepared to stand in a long line for several hours" kind of steps. They were not even the "at least book your flight so you have some sort of timeline worked out for entering Shanghai, that part's kind of fun, I mean how lazy can you be?" kind of steps. No, the only steps we took were the kind where we got our photographs taken in a booth and downloaded a form from the Internet. If we ever make it past the first week of this ambitious three-month itinerary, it'll be a miracle.

My photograph makes me look supremely innocent. It says "Hello, Chinese government, how do you do? I swear on my life that I have never done anything illegal, and I feel completely confident in the fact that you never found out about the time I vomited Bacardi all over that bus stop in Hong Kong in 1995, and if you did, well then that bitch who ran the 7-11 probably told you about it, and she was, like, ninety, so she was obviously making it up, plus she's probably dead now, so you can't prove it. See how wide I'm opening my eyes? Until they're almost crossed? And that intent, sincere stare I'm giving you? That means I'm totally cool to come into your country, seriously, I swear I won't steal a piece of the Great Wall or anything. Not even a small one. Not even some dirt, like I did at Jim Morrison's grave that time in Paris. I won't, I promise. Oh come on, no-one was looking."

Sean's photograph, on the other hand, might get us in trouble. It's all "Heeeeeeeeeeey, Chinese government, what's shaking? No, seriously, man, what's up? How's it hanging, bro? Right on, right on. Yeeeeeeeah, I know this photo kind of makes me look like I'm stoned out of my---wait, do you see those patterns on the carpet, too? That's crazy, man. For real. Hey, why is your belt talking to me? No, it totally is. Whoa, that's weird, dude. Your belt is talking to me! It has a little mouth. Hello, belt! How are you doing? Dude, that's awesome. Whoa. Hey look, you have a gun! What happened to peace, man? What happened to peace? Let's give it a chance, right? Awesome. So this is China, huh? I'm kind of having trouble seeing it. Can you tell? No, can you? Can you, really? Damn, I thought I used that Visine. Must have left it on the plane. With the rest of my large stash of illegal class A drugs that I totally look like I've been experimenting with in the bathroom. So can I come into the country now? Please?"

1
Emily
Jul 12, 2006

Awesome. They look a lot like our visa photos (though my boyfriend's kind of looked more like a very angry stoned person).

The Chinese are all about paperwork, and they will need to see your visa at every hotel/hostel/whatever. I also recommend not writing "overthrow of Chinese government" in that space on the visa application that asks "reason for visit." They don't like that very much. Instead, put something like "spend lots of tourist dollars" because they like those very much indeed.

You're going to Shanghai; we didn't make it there. Keep a look out to see if every pregnant woman is wearing the same outfit. They were in Beijing, Luoyang, and Xi'an. I think it was a mandated uniform or something.

2
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 12, 2006

Whoa, upon seeing this on the Real Live Interweb, I think it's fairly apparent that Sean's photo is also saying "hey, can somebody bring me some Clean n' Clear for my T-Zone? Because man, I am SHI-NEEEEEE."

3
jonniker
Jul 12, 2006

Actually, you look a lot like Jennifer Beals in that photo. So maybe - ooh ooh, maybe - you'll make up for Sean's I-may-be-an-axe-murderer-or-maybe-just-a-stoner-you-decide-your-fate-asshole photo with the notion that they'll think you're going into their country to take your clothes off at every turn? Or maybe they don't like that, either?

4
jonniker
Jul 12, 2006

Ahem, um, the Jennifer Beals reference was regarding a Flashdance reference, not 'The 'L' Word.' Although she didn't actually take her clothes off in Flashdance, did she? She just got mad that her friend did, right? Oh, sod it!

5
Erica
Jul 12, 2006

I predict that if you get your Chinese visas, Sean will have a run-in with a person in customs who will eventually quit his job to become a taxi driver called "Uncle" in the near future. Good luck with that T-zone.

6
citywendy
Jul 12, 2006

Before I even read this post, I just looked at the pictures and thought, "That Sean -- he doesn't look like much of a REFORMED stoner at all." Cute, though -- both of you.

7

anonymous chinese customs official #1: this Sean fellow, he look like the kind of guy who want to own an antique opium pipe or something.

anonymous chinese customs official #2: dui.

anonymous chinese customs official #1: goddamn we still got a shitload of them leftover from the old days to sell to stoners like him. we let him in.

8
Wacky Mommy
Jul 12, 2006

You two are just about adorable. Love the necklace -- nice touch. You should see my husband's old passport photo, cripes. Trouble with a capital T. I just stashed it in our safe deposit box last week and the teller said, "Oh, he might want to get a new picture taken!" Ha. In mine I look like Young Innocence.

9
melati
Jul 12, 2006

I'm wearing that stupid Property of Tiffany necklace in my passport photo.

It was 1998, and slightly before every 13 old starting getting them, but still. I might as well have been wearing a vest and bowler hat. I hadn't quite nailed down the "timeless and classic" look yet.

10
maddy
Jul 13, 2006

OMG - I know that bus-stop outside 7-11 in HK!!! and honey, trust me i dont think you're the only one who has thrown up there!!

11
Gallaudet
Jul 13, 2006

My father recently showed me a photo he had taken after an overnight flight. The photo was for his Underground pass in London, and was remarkably unlike the fresh, nicely accessorized, wide-eyed, and (as usual) breathtakingly pretty picture you are going to offer the Chinese government. "Hmmm," mused my father as he looked at his photo pass. "I'm surprised they ever let me on the Underground. I look both cretinous AND criminal."

You, however, look neither. OK, Sean looks like maybe he COULD just have had a WEE bit of a dangerous past, but I am sure I see a glint of reforming zeal somewhere in his eyes.

12
Kristin
Jul 13, 2006

I had a layover in Taipei en route to Bangkok and I will never forget the giant English sign that covered the entire wall next to the Heinekin case in the waiting lounge:

"Drugs are Punishable by Death in the People's Republic of China"

I was terrified I had somehow incorporated residue during my flight, metamorphis style. But my photo is much less innocent than yours so you shall be invincible, I'm sure.

13
Uncle Zoloft
Jul 13, 2006

LMAO.

Thanks you two. Between the heat in Charleston and the bigotry in SC I was getting to feel a bit low.

Thespian Libby's new place is wonderful ~ from the 1800's to Apt. #2002

14
JB
Jul 13, 2006

Wow! So many posts this week! It's like Christmas!!

You guys are adorable.

15
Mir
Jul 13, 2006

Seriously, what has Sean been smoking in that photo? And can I have some?

16
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 13, 2006

The sad part is he only looked like that through some combination of having just taken his glasses off and me peeking in through the photo booth curtain reciting "3...2...1!" along with the machine to try and crack him up.

17
s@bd
Jul 13, 2006

lmao.

18
Gretchen
Jul 13, 2006

Hee. Y'all look cute. All my college boyfriends had that vaguely stoned look too, and I'll bet you just can't imagine the reason why. I'm quite certain you will make life a great deal more weird for the Chinese. I say you vomit on them, too. How can they prosecute? In the words of Nigel Tufnel from "This Is Spinal Tap": YOU CAN'T DUST FOR VOMIT.

19
Adele
Jul 13, 2006

I think you underestimate the cunningness of the Chinese Customs:

"That girl. Why she try look so innocent? She is hiding something. Her big wide eyes no fool us. She is big purchaser of opium pipes. She has picked up that young man to deflect attention away from her drug smuggling ass. We like her ass."

(with apologies to all Chinese people everywhere....)

20
Jess
Jul 14, 2006

Sean must be one great guy that he let's you put his picture on the web for all of us to talk about!

21
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 14, 2006

Trust me, I'm paying for it.

22
wn
Jul 14, 2006

Hey Holly!!!

Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. Husband and I are doing the Trans-Sib/ Trans-Mongolian, leaving on August 19th for about a month. VISAs are a bitch aren't they? We are currently waiting on Mongolia...we"ve been waiting for awhile...

Here is our travel blog

www.tarmaxandtraintrax.blogspot.com

Cheers

23
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Jul 31, 2006

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