Friday, July 17, 2009

China Vi$a

So despite all my griping about the CCP and how much they suck, I still got a tourist visa for my trip next month. I usually have a travel agency drop-off/pick-up my passport and visa application for $25 but since there are 5 travelers this time, my parents went on Monday. It turned out to be a colossal waste of time but we "saved" $125. The entire process, including pick-up yesterday, took almost 10 hours, of which 4 was spent driving back/forth from South OC to midtown LA. Making things worse was the fact that my dad had a new passport. On the application, I put down that he visited China before so they wanted to see the old visa. This means they had to find their expired Canadian passport, bring it on the pick-up day, then pay an extra $30 for expedited processing. My mom basically was in the same situation (no old China visa in US passport) but they didn't ask for anything. All together, we spent $680 on one-year multiple-entry visas for 5 people. We could have saved a bundle if we all traveled through Vancouver and used our Canadian passports instead; China visas for non-US passports are only $30 or something. This is my 4th China visa... I'm rapidly running out of pages in my passport.

Next hurdle: making sure I don't sit next to anyone with H1N1 on the plane to avoid quarantine!

Next next hurdle: coordinating arrival of 6 people at Beijing airport within a 3 hour window without any Chinese cellphones!

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