Wed 5 Jul 2006
I always thought that applying for a visa, especially to somewhere like China where you'd expect they tightly control who comes in and who goes out, that applying for a visa, even a crappy student visa, would take at least... twenty minutes, right? At least. I mean, with all the traffic between the countries, I'm sure you'd have to wait in line for at least ten minutes, not to mention form upon form you have to fill out, which would take another five minutes, and then checking your forms five times once you got there so give or take another five minutes to actually get the person to put your papers in their outbox. That sounds reasonable for a visa application, doesn't it?
Mine took maybe ten minutes, tops. I got there, put my umbrella away, filled out an application form (name, address, contact in China, etc.), walked through where the lines would usually go, handed the person my forms and she got me to sign one thing (which I could have signed beforehand), and she gave me a little pink slip to get my passport back on Friday, and that was it! No joking. It maybe helped that it was pissing down with rain on and off, but still, I expected it to be much more of a palava and much more intimidating than it turned out to be.
The great thing about the pink slip of paper is that it means anyone with the pink slip of paper can pick it up on Friday - ie, my boyfriend can pick it up before work instead of my having to miss work on one of the busiest days to pick it up. Which is pretty awesome!
I also went to the travel agent's to check up on everything, to see if she hadn't found any different fares or anything, but there weren't, so instead I just put down a deposit on the fare she's got me going with - $250 towards the $1800+tax the fare will end up being. Which is pretty good considering I'm stopping over in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well before heading up to China. The only thing I need to do is book accommodation for Hong Kong, but that won't be too hard - my YHA membership is up to date and I've gotten my ISIC updated so everyone knows I'm a student while I'm overseas.
Next thing is to maybe email some people at uni about my honors year. Which is far away, I know, but I like thinking about these things ahead of time.