I had been flying here and there for the last little while … everywhere but China. LOL! It’s too complicated to explain. There were a number of things that took a little lot longer than everyone anticipated.
One of the things that made things took so long was that I had problems with … my visa. I am not sure why it just had to happen to me. So I spent a lot of hours lining up at the Visa Section of Chinese Consulate in Vancouver. Each visit takes a minimum of 3 hours!
You can see from the lines above how inadequate the Visa section is in handling the demand of people wanting to visit China these days. At 7:00AM, the lines already started to form downstairs and around the block, even though the office only opens at 9:00AM.
Yeah, I was one of those who went at 7:00AM. Either that or I will not get served until noon!
I earlier try to engage services that helps people apply visa on your behalf. I swear never to use them again because those guys are nothing more than queueing up for you and pushing documents. They botched my application and one thing led to another, it made my application more complicated than it need to be. I guess if you are just applying for a tourist visa, it is straightforward and you can use those services.
In the end, I had to get clearance from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commercial to issue me an official clearance. I only got the proper visa on hand just 12 hours before the flight. That was not so bad. There is a woman ahead of me who were getting her visa just 4 hours from her flight time.
By now, I am an expert with the Visa section of the Vancouver China Consulate. 🙂
So when all the i’s were dotted and all the t’s crossed, I was all ready to go. It felt kind of strange not going to work at this office for the next few months.
The folks in the office were already talking about what they are going to do with my work area! Yeah, someone told me that they were discussing making my nice spacious work area as a standup meeting area. I won’t be surprised if I find my chair and stuff missing when I return.
I decided to have my lunch on my last day in Vancouver at Hoi An. I absolutely love their Mi Quang. Without even looking at the menu, I ordered that. I like the broth particularly. Have you tried this Vietnamese dish before?
Hoi An is a lot more busier these days. I think it is because more and more people have since learn about their unique Vietnamese regional dishes. They opened just about 5 months ago. I stumbled on this place just on the day they opened. See my post here.
Then I had to get a haircut. It was getting long already and I did not want to deal with finding out where and how to get a haircut so soon after I land in Beijing. Moreover, I am due to meet lots of people in Beijing within the first week and I wanted to look better.
I hate getting surprises with my haircut. I usually go to the same old place for many many years already. Some person, some barber shop.
Hey, I gotta figure out how to get haircuts in Beijing. Can someone tell me more about this? Like where to go? How much it is?
With so much to do and so little time, we decided to have a quick dinner at Nanzaro and Arkensen’s favourite restaurant. We went to Kam Do.
I won’t even want to show you the picture of what the boys ordered. They ordered the same old thing — salted fish and chicken fried rice. Yeah, both of them ordered the same thing.
Suanne ordered the one above. It was some baked spaghetti dish with pork chop. Tasted horrible. She took just two bites and did not eat any more. Hmmm … I was thinking that perhaps she did not feel like eating because I will be away for some time. 🙂
For me, I had the one thing I love the most at Kam Do. I like their fried chicken wings. I like their hard crisp outside and inside, it is moist. Like always, it is hot to handle. So I always break them apart to cool down a bit, otherwise it is impossible to eat.
So, here I am. All ready for my adventure in China. According to plans, I will be living and working in Beijing for the next four months. I had options for home visits or if I forego that, I could use it for the family to visit me instead. So, I am looking forward to Suanne and boys come over in the next month or so. By then, I think I would make a great tour guide.
I had never been away from the family for that long before. The longest was just 2 weeks. While the hardest part of my assignment to Beijing is being away from the family, I am so looking forward to gaining that experience working in Beijing.
On a personal note, this is a dream assignment. Not only will this assignment helps my career a lot, I had always wanted to visit China ever since I started the “Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine” on chowtimes. I also wanted to learn more about my roots as a Chinese. Moreover, this is an exciting time to be in China as the entire country transforms itself into a leadership role in the world.
Anyway, I hope I will find time to share with you more about my adventures in China. So stay tuned.