*Co-sponsored with Global China Connection
After eleven years of living and reporting from China, Peter Hessler moved to Cairo, to study Egyptian Arabic and to report on the Arab Spring. After living in the country for two years, he was surprised to encounter Chinese merchants working in remote parts of Upper Egypt. Along a 300-mile stretch of the Nile River, dozens of these merchants had found success with a niche product: women’s nightgowns and lingerie. For a year and a half, through close observation, Hessler investigated how this market had developed, and how the Chinese interacted with local Egyptian residents. Viewing Egypt through the eyes of these Chinese merchants gave him a new perspective on how Chinese expats view their new homes, and it also shed new light on Egyptian social traditions and gender relations.