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