I'm in Wuhan, still about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks ride from Hong Kong, but came close to having to toss in the towel. My 60 day visa expired today 9/12. Had been told all along that I could get a visa extension at any decent size police station. About the time I figured on trying to extend I got hit with a flu bug that slammed me for 2 days, not to mention thunderstorms that I couldn't ride in anyway. Tried the local station and they said no way. Had to head off to the next town, Jingman, where I was told I'll get the extension no problem. 3 days to go.
Made Jingman concerned about the lag time between applying and receiving the 30 days extra. The "Public Security Bureau" didn't open until 3 in the afternoon! When I got in the guy refused to even talk about an extension. Said I must go to Wuhan for an extension, a 3 day ride and I have 3 days left in country until they detain me and fine me to the tune of about $900 or so a day while a new visa is processed for a week. I asked how can the Bureau in Wuhan give me one but the same Bureau here cannot? "There is no reason, I just will not give you one" he says. So I was up at 4a.m. the next morning and managed to put the bike on a bus and headed for Wuhan.
The Bureau opens again at 3pm. for afternoon hours. I was sitting outside the station waiting for the doors to open, and a guy pulls up on a mountain bike. Jackie, an American, raised in Seattle and running a coffee shop with his girlfriend Kat about a block away. I have a great cup of real brew and back to the office. They want proof of $100 a day for my continuing stay in China, hotel registration forms, photos, and to wait a week. I have 1 day to go on the visa. I'm balancing hotel cost for a week, the fact I want to go home so bad, coming up with the documents etc.
Back to Jackies. Great guy. Talk it over, I take a walk, wanted to go home more than fight the Chinese for permission to stay in their country for another 3 wks. With weighing out the right thing to do, and Jackie cluing me in on a cheap hostel, plus a buddy of his in the police dept. that might possibly be able to make things happen a little faster I decided to press on. Went on a mad treasure hunt for all the documents they wanted, hitting banks for a fund print out, hotels, photo shops and having a blast ripping around Wuhan at night on Jackie's mountain bike. His police buddy Tony and I turned in all the paperwork this morning with hours left on the visa, receiving a "stay out of jail" receipt.
So I have a week to relax, but when I receive the visa it'll only have 23 days left on it so I'll have to put my head down to make Hong Kong in time, but I know I can do it barring any problems. Might see if I can get a bus out to the 3 gorges dam that I figured I was going to miss. It's all good. Meeting Jackie was a great uplift and helped me decide to stay and fight. The light always shines on me when I need it, must be the good coffee! later Brian