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Reisverslag Plan X for the rescue! Hong Kong madness
3 juni 2015
Plan X for the rescue! Hong Kong madness
In case you haven't read my previous blog-post, I would advise you to do so to have some more context for the following:
I have FINALLY gotten my Chinese student Visa!! And here's how:
So, after an amazing 2 week travel in India after the Symposium I went back to the Netherlands. I had no home there anymore of course because I hadn't anticipated to come back and had already rented out my place until somewhere in August. But luckily Gab gave me shelter for the time being. :)
Already in the last few days of the India-trip I was emailing with the people in China again, discussing how long it will still take to receive the documents that I needed. They told me the documents would be ready mid may. They would immediately send me a scan and send the originals asap after that.
By the time I arrived back in NL (mid may) they told me it will be a few days later, which was true. They recieved it and sent me the scans. Unfortunately it turned out that I REALLY needed the originals to be allowed to apply for the visa. Not even handing those in a little later was possible.. In China however they had to still wait for the originals to arrive to the office themselves so it would take a few more days.
In the meantime I checked for express-delivery options, which turned out to be 1. HORRIBLY and ridiculously expensive & 2. not very "express", because for about 150 euro I could have the documents after a minimum of 2 working days, but of course there was going to be a weekend in between aaaand a holiday, so it would take at least 5 days again...
By now I was going mad. I really finally wanted to leave! So I was getting closer and closer to considering "plan X": Simply flying to Hong Kong (which does not count as "China" as it has its own laws and ruling, etc.. , and there you get 3 months tourist visa on arrival).
I checked out the options to get my visa done over there. It didn't look too good. 1 in 2 people on forums and travel-websites said that it is difficult and should be prevented. One should rather apply from home, because that is what is expected by the Chinese authorities... As I was getting sick and tired of all these "safe" options I decided to f*ck it and go. I called with my supervisors at my University in Maastricht the same evening to discuss this decision and booked a flight. Luckily I found someone who lives in HK, who could recieve the documents for me (thanks a ton once again, Daniel, my savior!!!).
A few days later I would be off in the sky! Finally on my way to China, I couldn't wait!
But then, on the sunday, 2 days before my flight, Gab suddenly felt a lot of pain in his stomach and as it moved down to the right and just kept getting worse, I ended up bringing him to the first aid in the hospital that night with suspicion pf an appendicitis, and he ended up having surgery 1,5 days before I was going to leave! So instead of preparing for leaving, I mainly made sure that his place was in order, did groceries and tried to be a caring nurse, as he wasn't going to be allowed to lift anything or do much for the next 2 weeks. It was truly horrible to leave the poor soul just like that, half a day after coming from the hospital.. Surely not how I (we!) had imagined my last few days back in NL..
But nonetheless I was sitting on that plane the next morning and off I went to Hong Kong!
(Once you read on, you will understand maybe, why I now actually think that all my troubles had to happen for the universe to make sure that someone would bring the poor sheepy to the hospital ;) )
I had an AMAZING 1,5 weeks here! The first few days I stayed in a hostel and met a lot of nice people. The first night we went out into the city where people went absolutely crazy! I guess the highlight of that night was still dancing on the bar with the CEO of *insert famous tiny guy swimming pants brand which I won't name for spamming-reasons ;)* Haha.
After I had finally gotten myself out of bed the next day I went to the postbox where I had received the magical documents from china. But of course, nothing goes without a challenge with my visa: There was a card in the box saying they had "missed" me and hence I should go to a certain post office. I managed to find that office fairly quickly (*shouldertap for myself*) and when it was my turn I neatly gave the guy behind the window the collection-card and my passport to confirm that I was the owner of this package. He took a felt 5 minutes to check every single letter of my name in the passport with the one on the envelope and then said "no match". No match? What do you mean? There is my first name and my last name, written correctly! "No match" - and he pointed at my second and third given names in the passport, which obviously were not on the label of the envelope.. Damn you dutch name-giving-traditions!
After I had explained the guy that dutch people are ridiculous and give their children many names which they never actually call them he was thinking and then said "Phooo ham ba". Excuse me? "Phooo hammm baaa Hong Kong". I am sorry, I am not sure I quite get you.. "Hong Kong PHO. HAM. BA!" And so I gave him the Hong Kong phonenumber he was asking for and got my envelope...
I moved on to the visa service center which was supposed to help me arrange my visa.
There I was, with my hundreds of documents that I needed to submit in the Netherlands to apply for a student visa. I filled in the application form and passed the nice lady behind the counter my pile of documents. She looked through it and pulled out only the 2 sacred forms that I had received from China (You would think they would be shiny and carry a red seal on it or maybe even have a halo, but it quite frankly looks like a sandwich-paperwrap type of paper with my name and some other facts on it written on a 100 year old typewriter or so...).
As the lady didn't take all the other required documents herself, i neatly put them in front of her once again and asked her, what about these. "no need". But of course, yes need! "no need mam. student visa only 2 documents" and she waived the magical forms at me. okaaaay.. if you say so.. So she took my passport and my forms and told me to come back in 1 week (again, a weekend inbetween otherwise it should actually have taken only 4 days).
Doubting that this could ever work with this little trouble I left the agency and enjoyed that 1 week of waiting to the fullest! If you saw the pictures on facebook, I don't even need to tell so much about it. :)
(Which reminds me: I won't have access to Facebook, or anything related to Google, or a lot of other websites, because those are blocked in mainland. So I might be out of reach for a while (if I don't manage to use the techy side of me against it). :) )
Today the week was over and I went back to the agency. When I looked at the guy who had my passport and asked him "did it work?" he looked at me like I was stupid and said the relieving words *imagine church bells and a choir*
"Of course". :D
I. DID. IT ! Plan X succeeded!
Tomorrow morning (or actually this night, if you are reading this from Europe), I will be flying to Xiamen and finally start doing my research hopefully! And that means I will leave Hong Kong behind me. I have come to really love this city! Quite honestly I feel sad for leaving this place, haha. Also because it is very much different from the mainland and people here do not seem to be quite fond of the people beyond the border all the time...hehe..
Sooo.. it seems like a great and challenging experience, Let's do it! :D
Love, hugs and kisses,
3 juni 2015 18:13 | Door: Corrie
Lieve Miriam, fantastisch dat het uiteindelijk gelukt is! Wat een doorzettingsvermogen! We wensen je hier vanuit Utrecht een interessante, voorspoedige en fijne onderzoeksperiode. Big hug Corrie en familie