visas and food poisoning

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January 8th 2009
Published: January 9th 2009
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Sorry in advance. There are no photos in this blog because i didnt take any. So, Brisbane. We arrived late and after a 7hour bus trip all we wanted was our beds, which, this time, we had the foresight to book ahead. It was easy enough to find, but I got stopped by some random drunk guy trying to hug me. One of the new T-shirts i bought says 'cheer up emo kid' on it, but most of it was covered and it just said 'cheer up'. He seemed to find this funny coz i looked miserable, apparently. Welcome to Brisbane. That was the second wierdo of the day. ( The first was Annie's stalker friend)

The next day we went off in search of the Chinese Embassy. It wasn't hard to find and was only about 5mins walk away from the hostel. Now i have a question. Why do embassies keep unhelpfully short hours? 9am - 12noon isnt really long enough. We arrived at 10:30 and after some confusion, found the right form to fill in. Form completed, we queued. Arriving at the desk the administrator took a look at the forms, told us it was all wrong, circled some things inparticular and told us to go away. When we stayed and tried to get him to explain what it was that we had got wrong and what it needed to be he just kept saying it was wrong or that there was no negotiations. He will be forever known as Mr. Obnoxious. So off we went to rewrite our now ruined visa. What they need are instructions, in english. What Mr. Obnoxious said made very little sense, so we asked a bouncer type guy who sat at the door (we decided he was there to break up any fights that start between customers and Mr. Obnoxious) and he said he thought what we wrote to begin with would have been right. But one of the other things we needed to write was the date of entry to China. Now i thought a Chinese visa lasted 3months from the date of issue and you could enter any time between. But apparently we needed an entry date. So we tried to work it out from arriving in Singapore and giving days for the other countries we came up with Feb 29th. Another trip to the counter where we were told what was wrong again, and another two times queuing up. We're British, we know how to queue, but this was getting ridiculous. Third time lucky, and at closing time we made it out. It was a few hours later, after booking a load of tours for the rest of our time in Australia that we realised that the 29th of febuary didn't exist. You can probably imagine the panic. We knew the office was closed but we tried to phone, in the hope that someone would be there. Nadda. We spent the rest of the day worrying and got up early on friday to get there as soon as it opened. We had paid for a next day service anyway. Our thoughts were along these lines... 'Surely they would see the mistake and realise what we meant?' 'what if they dont notce? should we just say nothing and hope the border doesnt notice? Then claim ignorance if they do?' 'What if they dont issue the visa! Should we just changeour flights and spend more time in SEAsia?'
We arrived 5mins early. The elevator doesnt go up to the right floor until dead on 9am...8:59 it was still locked off. Very precise people. Anyway, we stood in line with our slip, paid and got our passports,visa inside no problem. After all that fuss about having to write a date in the visa was basically how i thought it was going to be. Relief doesn't really cover it.

Anyway, we bought a load of food in port Macquarie and what we had left we assumed we would eat in Coffs Harbour, but of course there was no kitchen with our motel room. We had some mince meat over, and although it had spent its time in the fridge, we were a little unsure about weather it was safe to eat or not. We cooked it when we got back to the hostel after applying for the visa. I bravely sacrificed myself and tried some then, the logic being if i wasnt ill by later it was probably edible. It tasted alright. Dinner time came and i still wasnt ill, but the cooked meat smelled worse cold than the raw meat had, so my gallant self sacrice was in vain 'coz we chucked it away anyway. So thats about it for Brisbane. We didn't do anything else because we're here on the way back down when we fly out.


9th January 2009

the title
Ok, so we didnt get food poisoning, but we could have...
9th January 2009

Ok, so we didn't get food poisoning but we could have...
9th January 2009

Chinese Officialdom
Ahh Welcome to what typifies Chinese officaldom. Yor experience puts me in mind of my two and a half years in China and why I used to send Chinese negotiators to renew my visas. Once though in Hong Kong I had a similarly unhelpful administrator who became the direct opposite when Ioffered to pay him for his advise. Who said Chinese were anti capitalists.
9th January 2009

You do realise this is the sort of character-building experience you went for?? No, seriously, there are other sorts of mishap that would be much more worthy of long tales when you get home, and this sort of boredom you could well do without...sorry to hear it. x

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