Today I had to wake up at 5 am to begin the process to finish getting my work visa renewed. The Chinese government required you to renew your visa every year to be legally allowed to work in the country. If you do not renew it you have to leave, or pay a fine of 500 rmb a day until you do leave. Which can add up to a lot of money if you are not getting paid in American Dollars that is…..
So the process began with me waking up and actually getting out of the bed . so my husband and I..(he is such a sweetheart for going through this with me).. had to find a Taxi to take us to the bus station. We then had to wait for the overly crowded bus to load up.. of course it is all in Chinese so.. i had to wait for .. husband dearest to tell me it is time to get on the bus. As is normal in china the bus was fill to the gills… not a seat to spare.. so we were lucky that our seats were together. We then proceeded to listen to a couple talk to each other behind us .. very loudly, in Chinese for the next hour in a half. What exactly could these two have to say to each other so early in the morning that lasted for so long. They actually looked like husband and wife.. so .. they could have shut up… but no they were in a heated discussion about something.. and I really do not think anyone on the bus wanted to hear them.
My husband snuggled up and drifted off to sleep… ( not real sure how he can sleep thru all the noise but he did) …I decided to turn on the Ipod and listen to the Cranberries…. her wailing was much more soothing.
When we finally arrived to the bus station in Hangzhou ,the next big city over, we noticed that the station was no longer in the center of town.. it was way on the outside of town. So we had to stand in the “taxi wait stand” with about 30 other folks and wait for a taxi to pull up. Unfortunately, this day.. the taxi drivers were taking “rice breaks” because they were few and far between.
When we finally got to the front of the line and into our taxi ..my hubby told me it would take about 20 to 30 minutes to get to the city center. (rolls eyes) ..within the 30 minute time we made it to the head office of my school where I quickly raced to the bathroom… yeah.. those bus rides and taxi rides can make a girl have to go.
After I freshened up in the handicapped bathroom.. (since that one isn’t the hole in the floor… it is the normal bathroom .. I always use handicapped facilities) … I proceeded to walk into the office and ask to speak to the young lady that was suppose to meet me. She must have thought that my time was of no importance because it took her approximately 30 minutes to come out to meet me in the waiting room. Even my husband was complaining about her wasting our time.
Finally, her majesty decided to grace us with her presence and take me to the police station in the company minivan… for which they had a special driver.
Of course this young lady’s ability to speak english was limited.. so I was very happy my husband, Michael tagged along to keep me company. When we got to the police station and took a number, she told Michael that she had to go next door and pick up a something.. so.. we were to wait.. (our number was 017 and they were on 014 so no problem) .. however, as soon as she left… they called 017… figures..number system is useless.
So with my honey in tow… we sat in front of the Chinese po-po. The guy wasnt all that bad.. he didn’t really speak.. just asked my husband if I have left the country .. he said no.. then took my photo, and had my sign a paper and that was it. I smiled and say thank you … in chinese of course.. and he smiled and said you’re welcome…. that was the extent of my interview with the Chinese police.
We were going to meet a friend after this ordeal so .. we were ready to go back to the office and meet up with him.
However, our minivan driver decided he need to put gas in the car and was gone. China, unlike the US of A, does not have a gas station on every corner they have them on the outskirts of town. So if you are low on gas you better hope you can make it there before you run out.
After waiting for about 10 minutes… the her majesty suggested that we walk down the street to an alley way that had little shops. After about a 5 minute walk.. we saw the cutest things…. they had turned an entire alley street into a road of traditional chinese shops, candies, and arts & crafts. They had little people drawing your picture and writing your name in chinese. All kinds of cute little things…. we walked down this road. I took many photos of all the little shops that I will add later but it was quite nice.
By the time we made it down to the end of the road… low and behold the minivan driver was waiting. We hopped in and headed back to the office. As we reached the office, my friend was waiting out front.
To our surprise he took us to a nice place for lunch.. because by now we were starving. After lunch we proceeded to go back to the bus station, Because Ms. Jo.. had to teach a class this evening. However, we ran straight into a traffic jam. It ended up taking about 45 minutes to make it back to the bus station.. where of course there were hoards of people waiting for tickets.
By this time I was exhausted.. and tired of looking at Chinese folks.. well ..people in general… I sat on the bench and let my sweetheart get the tickets and avoided fighting that crowd. To our disappointment the bus was yet packed again.. and we were in the very last two seats.
After standing 15 minutes waiting for the bus to load…I was quite relieved to sit down and relax.. I was determined to get some sleep this time back… however… of course.. someone decided that speaking on the cell phone in a loud annoying voice was acceptable. My head was killing me and I was exhausted.. and my dearest was putting his feet up on my lap and ready to settle down into a nap. I guess my body said what the hell.. because I actually dozed a little… when I awoke.. we were back in Yuyao.
Of course everyone needs to rush off the bus at once and knock each other down.. but we stayed back until the bus unloaded then we got off. We were then quickly bombarded by Rickshaw drivers .. begging to take us into town to our destination… we decided that it was a bit too cold to ride in one of those .. and wanted to wait for a car taxi… and yes of course.. we had to wait… a good 15 minutes for a car taxi to arrive. You would think they would be waiting outside the damn bus station. But nope… we had to walk down the block to find one.
I finally arrived at the school .. and rushed to prepare for my classes… to my surprise they had giving all my classes to the other foreign teachers, well except for one… VIP student that only wanted me… so I was able to leave early and go home…. as soon as I got home.. Michael got dinner taken care of .. and I hit the sack…. What a day, what a day….. but… Visa is done and I am safe to stay in this crazy, overcrowded, bus riding country for another year……
until next time….