Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chinese Errands

While we are over here in China, Tina is in the odd predicament where her Canadian passport expires while we are still over here. Actually it expires in February, but China is one of those countries where you need to have at least 6 months valid in your passport to enter, so in that respect it expires in September.

Luckily there is a Canadian consulate only a short hour plane ride away, and they will allow Tina to apply for a new passport and still use here for travel, as opposed to in the States or Canada where you need to live without your passport while it is renewed. So, that one big problem we has was solved, the only little sticking issue now was getting new passport photos for Tina.

We mentioned this the other day, that we had to go to the police station to get photos - but since it was a holiday they were closed. Today I took off from work a little early to go with Tina to get this seemingly simple thing completed. The issue with Canadian passport photos is that they need to be stamped on the back certifying that they are from a legitimate photo shop. Should be easy right, China stamps everything.

The letter that she got from the Canadian consulate listed one place that we can get the proper photos, however that place is the old building and they gladly draw a map showing us to the new station. The new station sends us to the second floor thinking that we need to register, nope, so finally we find somebody that speaks English and they send us across the street to a small photoshop. We show them the requirements and they just say sorry but they can't help. Ok, a few phone calls later and we are back in the police station and talking to somebody new....

Finally they get a new girl to come over and she leads us out of the station and then down through some small alleys, finally stopping at a tiny little photo shop. They tell us that they can stamp the photos, no problem, but then once we get the photos they suddenly realize that they have no stamp and send us back up to the police station.

Ah, back at the station we are sent back up to the second floor and then to the tenth where finally someone decides that we need to head back across the street to the first photoshop that said they couldn't help us. We explain that and finally are told that the place we are looking for is still in the old police building and that we need to head back up there....

At this point it is 17:30 and everything is closed, so maybe we will try this weekend, but we have to realize that we will be starting back at the same place we started today. At least this time we will be able to stop them when they start trying to send us to someplace we've already been...

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