Monday, March 13, 2006

Chinese Visa Saga

We are really excited about our trip to China which starts in just a few hours. We've been cleaning, planning, packing, and getting ready for the last few days as we prepare to head out. We will be visiting relatives of mine who are living in Shanghai for a couple of years while my uncle finishes his career. Laura has been busy reading guides to travel in China and we’ve been e-mailing back and forth to figure out what we need to do as we prepare. We never thought we’d visit China and are quite excited to have the opportunity to do so and to have relatives to be our guides! Of course, we may be exhausted by the time we get done because my Aunt Louise has about a million things planned for us to do!

In order to travel to China, it is necessary to have a Chinese Visa. Many countries either don’t require visas or they sell them at the point of entry. China requires you to get one in advance. We figured that we could just fill out a form online, maybe send a copy of our passport, and we’d get our visas back. It’s just not that simple. You have to either go in person, or send someone on your behalf, to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. or to the Chinese Consulate General’s office to which your region of the country is assigned. Ours needed to go to the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco. You can pay someone a fee to go and represent you, you can go yourself, or you can get lucky and have friends who live in the Bay Area. As we do have friends who live there, we picked the third option!

Now we just have to hope that the spots of mold that are growing on our passports because the USPS dropped them in some water don't keep us from going anywhere that we want to go!

It sure seems wierd that we'll get on a plane in Portland at noon on Tuesday, get off ten hours later in Tokyo during the late afternoon on Wednesday! Coming back we get in about six hours before we leave! This will be my first trip across the International Date Line!

1 comment:

Cornejo's said...

Hey Andy & Laura
Hope your trip is going great
Rick, Jeneice & Girls
Typical Spring break here, mid 20's wind blowing like crazy.
What is the climate & weater like there?
Resond if you have a chance
Enjoy as much as you can