Friday, January 30, 2009

China Here I Come!

... well, in two weeks or so.

I finally finished jumping through all the hoops, and climbing all the mountains, necessary to getting visas and tickets for my vacation trip to visit TB in Beijing (not the disease, no--but you knew that.) One day last week, I went to the Immgration Office in Mok-dong and paid 50K to add multiple entries to my Korean visa.

Yesterday, I went to Myong-dong station and trekked halfway up the backside of Namsan (that's "South Mountain") to the Chinese Consulate. Amazingly, though I visited a dozen websites, including the official one (okay, it was in Korean) I somehow missed the information that the Chinese Consulate no longer gives out ordinary visas. They are only available from designated travel agents.

Fortunately, the whole street is pretty much nothing but designated travel agencies, with a crowd of barkers standing nearby to navigate you to their shop. Also, despite the (mis)information promulgated on the internets, there is no one-day service. So I had to come back today to get my passport back; I took some pictures in case I forgot exactly where to go--they all look ... similar.

Turns out I didn't need them; I found the office with no trouble, and got my passport, with visa correctly applied. For 180K. Down the hill was an agent with an official-looking Korean Air banner outside. Earlier, I reserved but was unable to buy my tickets online because my debit card was the wrong kind, or something. Anyway, at this agent, after comparing the prices, I opted to fly China Air--the price difference was 160,000 W.

I plan to use part of that savings to buy a new carry-on size backpack. My current carry-on is a three-day type, and I don't want to use my duffel or my big case, both of which would have to be checked (you can see the bags I brought to Korea at this post--seems so long ago!) I dropped by Dongdaemun market on my way home to check out what they've got in the labyrinthine luggage/handbag/leather goods section. No decision yet.

The rest will be applied to a higher quality of partying while I'm there.

1 comment:

Tanner Brown said...

Striking how bureaucratic hassles are similar worldwide. I feel ya.

Glad you're coming. I'll take you out to get some kimchi and Korean barbeque when you arrive, ha.