Always be prepared

I will soon leave for a trip to Shanghai in China so I need a visa. Of course this can often lead to problems, like when I two years ago was refused to apply because the passport was damaged and I had to get a new one. That time I made a reclamation so I got a new one without having to pay for it but the new one kept the same old expire date, which is 5,5 months from now.

When you apply for visa the passport must be valid for at least 6 more months. Damn! So now, in slight panic, I had to apply for a new passport first and there were not so much time before I have to leave for China.

I was planning to get my haircut in China because it is such a nice experience and it is very very cheap. I really look like a long haired bum in my new passport. I really don't care but it is a pity because I was so damn handsome in my old passport. :P

I got my new passport one day earlier than what the police promised and I went directly to apply for the visa. So much people want to go to China at the same time as me!

They have open between 09:00 to 11:30 and it is always good to be there as soon as they open but I was a bit late so a lot of people got there before me. I got back to work just in time for lunch. Irritating to "waste" the whole morning for this. It should be more convenient with some Internet application or something and online payment.

The handling of the visa application usually takes three days so I was expecting to go there tomorrow but it was done one day earlier here as well so I got it today. I am so lucky! But of course I had some more problems except that I had to renew my passport.

This morning I planned to be at the embassy earlier so I don't have to stand in line and will be able to work one hour before lunch. I have so much to do at work. I managed and was there right after nine in the morning. I had a couple of persons before me in the queue and soon it was my turn. I started to get a but suspicious when I didn't see the online credit card reader standing next to the small hole in the wall. When I walked closed I saw the small machine on the other side where the young Chinese girl sat handing out visas.

It is broken! She said she is sorry and the machine broke last friday and I have to pay with cash and I am 80 sek short. Arrrgghh!!! OK, what to do? I can not start bidding for a lower price at the embassy. So I ask for the nearest ATM and they describe that I have to take the bus like three stops and walk to the TV house and then she said something that I didn't hear because I was starting to get distracted by my mind cursing the situation. During this time the Chinese girl had said sorry about 20 times. Well it is not her fault, even if I think they should have set up a big red sign with the information about CASH ONLY and a flashing light above the sign would be great too.

I started walking and I just missed the bus but I didn't care... I kept walking. I am used to walking. Most of the time I was thinking of how bad my tactics had failed. I will not be able to work before lunch. I was also thinking that it is quite far to the ATM and I was thinking of alternative ways to walk, but I restrained myself thinking that the girl probably know what is the closest way.

So I got to the TV house and I look around. Where is the ATM? I see no ATM! But I saw a lot of fancy people entering the house and at least one of them are a celebrity in Sweden. It was Andreas Lundstedt of the pop group Alcazar.

I turn left and walk away from the TV house towards a lot of signs hanging out from the building. I still see no ATM but suddenly a bus stops and people walk out and I can ask a lady for directions and not so far from here there is an ATM and she points me in the right direction and just before I walk away she say that there is another one inside the TV house. Another curse in my mind.

I get my money and start to walk back hoping to catch a bus on my way home because I am a bit sweaty and cold from the walk. Of course I have no luck and I have to walk all the way back to the embassy again to stand in queue again.

I finaly got my visa and can get on my way to work. I have to wait for the bus for ten minutes and in that time I got really cold because of my earlier sweaty walk that took me almost an hour. Now I am worried of getting a cold just in time for my trip to China on friday.

So what can we learn of this story? First I can think of is to take money with me even if you know there is a possability to pay with card. But I guess it all boils down to the old scout motto "be prepared".


mohsart said...

De öppnar runt 8, vad de skriver om öppettider är när de garanterat är där. Be a early bird, slipp kö och få snabbt besked!

Boywing said...

Oh, det var intressant att veta. Jag blir inte förvånad med tanke på vilken låg kvalitet deras hemsida har.