Thursday, 8 March 2012

Chinese visas

The Chinese visa office is a sterile and impersonal room, with a ticket machine on arrival, then rows and rows of chairs lined up facing eight glassed in counters and a screen showing - in English and Chinese - which ticket is being served at each counter. The first time Ben went, he waited two hours in the queue just to have our applications denied for lack of bookings, itinerary etc. I then went a couple of days later to try again (this time with some extra paperwork), at which point I waited one and half hours to be seen. It's especially frustrating when all the parking is one hour meter - so you actually have to leave to move your car and might miss your appointment, as we both saw many people do. It was a great relief though, and completely worth the 40 minute wait just to collect and make the payment, when I was handed four Chinese visas, each valid for two entries within six months.

Our passports now lie in the hands of Indian officials. As long as this goes according to plan, Pakistan is the only visa left for us to apply for before leaving home.

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