This morning I took my sniffly head down to the Chinese Consulate’s visa office. Being in Vancouver now, I was kind of happy to be able to have such a hassle free alternative to my usual Xpressposting across the country and paying an agent to deal with it and all that. The actual office is a busride away! What could be simpler?
The room was stuffed to the gills with people. There were at least four different lines, none of which were labelled. I stood in a long one for ten minutes before noticing people with forms that looked like more mine in a much shorter line, so I bailed for it. Then after a few minutes I noticed everyone in my new line had a ticket indicating what number they were. “Where did you get that?” I asked the guy behind me and he waved behind both of us at a lineup for talking to what I’d thought was a security guard. So I left for that line and then thought about it a bit.
This new line to get a number for the other line was long. Then I’d be waiting at least 50 numbers to drop off my form. This was going to take hours. I did a quick evaluation of what my time is worth and decided to leave.
There was a China Travel Services place down the block. It had the same fonts they do in the PRC, so I felt very at home. I went in and found out their fee was $25 to handle that room for me and call me when my visa was ready. So that’s what I did, short-circuiting the story of how I spent my Friday trapped in bureaucracy hell. I’d say it was a good value.