Monday, September 03, 2007

Messin' with Visas

It all started last week when I went with my co-worker to the immigration department to get my new residence permit so I can legally work here. We thought everything was in order until the officer of the hour decided that he wanted to change the rules (or maybe just enforce the rules that aren't always enforced). Anyway, he said I had to get an interview at another police department before I could apply for the visa. This being Friday, the interview office decided not to answer their phones from 11 am until Monday.

We managed to get an appointment just before lunch on Monday. And everything went quite smoothly. I really wasn't asked any questions aside from, "Is this information correct?" So, after lunch we headed back to immigration to get the new visa. We had to hope that this application would be accepted since my visa expired that day. This time around, we got the straightforward officer who quickly processed the papers and told us everything was fine.

Turns out my co-worker was more worried than I was. Even after she kept telling me that everything would be alright. She even told me that she lost sleep over the weekend because of the situation.

Then there is the story of the weekend. Jia and I went out with a group of friends on Saturday. We wanted to hit the local spots. First was the club with the good rock bands. Problem there was that to get a draft beer the bartenders had to find a glass because they didn't have enough. For convenience, we asked if they had a deal for a dozen bottles of beer. We got two answers. One guy said 300 kuai for two dozen while the other said 300 kuai for one dozen. We were quite irritated by the second answer. We headed out to the bar next door. They asked for more money and required us to buy a VIP card in order to buy drinks slightly cheaper. This was contrary to the other night when Jia asked and they said it was 240 kuai for a dozen AND they'd give us a dozen free. Well, they just lost a lot of foreign business for the next year.

We ended up heading down a side street near J.'s apartment. There were a bunch of cheap restaurants to drink at (we found one Friday for 2 kuai beers). For some reason we went to a small, dirty karaoke bar (I think the name translated to "Tonight's Love"). The staff was quite nice, the singing was terribly off-key, and the beer was really cheap. We played liar's dice for a while and noticed a couple of foreigners arrived after us. These were the kind of foreigners who make you feel ashamed to be foreign. One of the two was falling-down drunk and quite rude. The other looked a bit more on the quiet drunk side. Considering it took two or three guys to carry the super-drunk guy to the toilet, I would've expected the friends to drag him home. But they stayed, drank, and spilled beer all over themselves. We did our best to ignore them and continued to quietly play dice.

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