Living in China

Photos and stories about my expat experience in China, currently in Bejing.
See more pictures on:
My Rebubble site

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My blog has moved!

Due to the restrictions of the Chinese government on this website, it is too much trouble to keep posting on this blog.

I have made a new blog, which you can find here:

Mijn blog is verhuisd, aangezien het te moeilijk is geworden om op deze websites te blijven schrijven. Zie bovenstaande link voor mijn nieuwe blog.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Misty days in Tianjin

2 Weeks ago the weather changed here. One day it was comfortable and warm, and the next day it snowed!

A while later the temperature rose to 1-2 degrees again, but there was a thick fog.

Visa run to Hong Kong

My current Chinese visa will expire on November 27th, and so I needed to extend it.

This is easily done through an agent in Beijing, and all I need for that is another entry stamp in my passport. (Technically I should leave the country and come back, then they can extend my visa 3, 6 or 12 months from the latest entry stamp.)

So, the cheapest and fastest solution is to go to Hong Kong.

I got up on a Friday morning at 6:00, left the house at 6:30 and took a bus to Tianjin train station (1 hour) and boarded a train to Beijing (30 minutes). Once there, I had to go to another train station which took me another 1 hour and two buses.

My train to Hong Kong left at 13:00 and I passed customs etc. The train took 26 hours and along the way I saw a lot of snow (in Henan province). Nothing more to do than listening to music and reading books.

I arrived in Kowloon at 15:00 or so and passed immigration. A group of people with doctor's uniforms stopped everyone and took their temperature. They also needed a health declaration. Soon though, I found myself outside the station in Hong Kong.

No time to waste, and so I bought a sandwich and a Coke and returned by subway to the border again. There, at Lo wu station, me and about a thousand other people had to get off and walk over a bridge and back into China. The immigration there was fast and easy, and at 16:30 I was in Shenzhen.

A friend who lives there had already bought a ticket for me to Tianjin, leaving at 20:00. After a nice dinner of goose meat and soup, I boarded the train again.

This train also took 26 hours and it was boring because there was nothing to do all day. Fortunately I had brought a thick Dostoevsky novel with me, and read nearly half of it.

I arrived back in Tianjin at 22:30 and took a bus back home. On Sunday night 23:00 I was finally back. All that for a stamp in my passport!

The next phase was to go back to Beijing and find that visa agent. Prices seemed to have changed a lot since last year. Then, I could get a 12 month visa for about 160 Euros, but now they emailed me with prices nearly tripled. (Due to the PRC's 60th anniversary this year I think). No choice though, and on Wednesday I went to look up the visa agent.

After taking photos and showing my residence permit, I managed to get a 6 month extension for only 110 Euros. My Tianjin residence permit doesn't work in Beijing, and so I had to cheat a bit and book a hotel for 10 days in Beijing, after which they gave me a Beijing permit. The next day I checked out and got my money back .

Why the visa was cheaper I don't know (but I'm glad). I should be able to pick it up in a week.