This morning I went to the Chinese consulate, located at 42nd St. and 12th Avenue, right at the West Side highway. It's a funny place for a consulate, most of them look for more prestigious addresses. They are prepared for an onslaught of hundreds of people, but, in fact only about 25 were there at any one time. I thought I had all my documents in hand, but the officer insisted I had to have an internet confirmation from my hotel. (I don't have a hotel, just the CCS apartment address, which was on my application.) So I left, fortunately not having had to wait too long, walked one long block to Starbucks and started making phone calls.
Cross Cultural Solutions told me they would fax a letter to the consulate; I could go back there and this would work. It didn't. I was told, in no uncertain terms, I had to carry the paper in to them. I gave up, came back to the apartment, printed out the letter from an email they sent me, and couldn't bring myself to go back. I'll try again tomorrow. I haven't been so annoyed in a long time, although I suspect dealing with our consulates could be even more frustrating.
I've been doing a lot of reading about China. Had I done all this reading before I committed to going I suspect I might have chosen some other place to go. Some of it is a little scary.
Ronni Bennett had a post
about her blog being blocked in China. Someone commented it wasn't only her post, it was all of Typepad. Subsequently, I found out most blogging hosts, and Flickr, from outside of China are blocked. It's possible I won't be able to
post from there. If that is the case, I'll work out something
with Robin or Carol, assuming I'll still have email. I will want more than ever to be able to keep in
It’s a sad situation over there blogging-wise, but I’m pretty sure there are ways to get around the “great fire-wall” of china if you apply yourself (proxy servers and anonymizers and such).
10 points to Raja for working that elephant story in, yet again.
I felt left out when I was without a computer and couldn’t read your blog–we got to hear from you while in China–somehow. From what I’ve heard they aren’t keen letting info slip out so I assumed you wouldn’t be able to blog from there. But what do I know.
Did i ever tell you how I smuggled weapons of mass destruction riding an elephant from Chaing Mai, Thailand through the mountains of Tibet?
If I could do that, you certainly can get messages out of China!
It looks like I’ll get the visa. As I’ll post later, they accepted my documents, including passport, and told me to return on Tuesday. As for the problem about posting, I think I can just send the posts in emails to Robin and have her do the actual post. I won’t know whether it works until she tells me. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to receive comments. I’m planning to get one of those new, small, LIGHT, laptops and take it with me. I’ll make sure I have everyone’s email addresses on it so I can do whatever is necessary to keep everyone informed.
Yes, I so hope you have seen the end of the red tape. Perhaps if you, or sometone, can find out which hosts are blocked, you can work around it all. Would CCS know this?
Of course! I never made the connection that access to your blog would be blocked from China. But since your blog “comes” from the US, you’ll be the one blocked from accessing it, right? Or from accessing your Typepad account? In any case, one half of the equation (you or your readers) will be out of touch. Yikes, Ruthe, it will be like you’ve gone to the dark side of the moon!
I hope you can work something out. At the very least (and assuming you’re able to send/receive email) you could gather email addresses and send a sort of newsletter out. We armchair adventurers will want to know you’re doing well and what you’re up to.
Good luck getting your visa. Prior to the Olympics, NPR did a story about the nightmare maze folks were having to run through to get Visas now. It sounded quite daunting. I hope you’ve seen the worst of the red tape.