Still Here

I have had such a tumultuous last few days.  I found out that the visa office was NOT closed on Monday.  My friend went the American Embassy, not the place to get a visa.  So, I had a wasted trip/money on Monday… and that’s not even the worst of it.

I picked up my passport today at around 10am and got back on the train to return to Shenzhen.  I was in a relatively good mood.  I could go home and shower and take my contacts out and all this visa business was taken care of.  I would have all afternoon to pack and then I would come back to HK later this evening.

After riding on the metro for 1 1/2 hours, I got all the way to the border crossing and saw that my work visa is now cancelled because I got a tourist visa.  My tourist visa is single-entry so that means that I can only go back into China once.  Unfortunately, I have to go back twice (once today to pack my bag and once when I return to pack up and go back to the States).  I called the visa office multiple times about this but they were not picking up the phone.  So I hopped back on a metro going in the opposite direction to return to the office for a third time.

The visa office is closed from 12-2 for lunch. I arrived to the at 12:45pm and was the first person in to wait line.  You might think that it is crazy that I would wait for more than an hour, but by the time that they opened at 2, there were already more than 50 people in line behind me.

I was not informed that they would cancel my visa so I asked them if there was anything they could do to help me out with this situation.  It would cost me $200 to buy another visa and I would have to do that when I return from my trip.  Once you factor in the cost of renting a hostel, food, and metro costs, it is not a small amount of money.  They said that they could not help me at all and that I would have to apply for another visa.

By this point, I was angry and stressed out.  How will I get my bags?  If I buy another visa, I’ll be stuck in HK again.  Should I just bring all my stuff across the border and store it somewhere and pay the $150 to change my flight to come back to America early?  All these possibilities were flying through my head.

Instead, I called my friend, Paola, who I am traveling with tonight.  She agreed to go to my apartment and pack my bag for me.  What an amazing friend!  I made a detailed list of things I would need and where in my apartment they would be so that packing would be easier for her.  I owe her.  Perhaps I owe her my first-born child.  Sorry Mom, but you’ll just have to wait on the next one.

I am currently back at the same internet cafe that I came to yesterday while trying to kill time.  Again.

I haven’t showered in two days.  I haven’t brushed my teeth since yesterday morning at 6am.  I’ve been wearing the same clothes for the past two days.  My eyes are dried out since I slept in my contacts.    My deodorant has long worn off.  I feel bad for anyone that has to come within five feet of me.

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