Brian's Blog
Friday, 12 September 2008
Visa Tales

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

Posted by briansride at 11:44 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 12 September 2008 11:48 AM PDT

Friday, 12 September 2008 - 1:39 PM PDT

Name: "Mark Gabriel"

Wow! Once again your guardian angel stepped in to save the day. Ride on, brother. 

Friday, 12 September 2008 - 5:16 PM PDT

Name: "Maureen"

Yah, those Seattleites are a great group of folks... :)  Sorry to hear you're hitting the bumps in the road so close to completing the entire trip, but sounds like you've got things back under control.  I admire your gumption to press on - but keep it reasonable, ok?  Enjoy this chance to destress a bit. New friends & and good coffee made by a real Seattleite. It doesn't get any better.  See ya' soon.

Friday, 12 September 2008 - 7:44 PM PDT

Name: "Mom"

Hello again Brian, great to see your blog, to say the least I was a bit disturbed by it but your email to follow  took all my concerns away and happy to know that you will be able to complete your journey,Maureen is delighted to hear that you have had a great cup of Coffee and brewed by a Seattle man they know their coffee, Stay cool brian and most of all stay safe, Love Ya,Mom.  

Friday, 12 September 2008 - 9:23 PM PDT

Name: "Shay"

Damn. That's quite the Chinese adventure. I can't believe that guy said, "There is no reason, I just will not give you one."  You should have told him you are going to write a book about this and he will bring shame upon his family and won't be able to marry off his daughter if he doesn't get rollin on that visa. Keep it up, good luck

Wednesday, 17 September 2008 - 12:08 AM PDT

Name: "James"

Yess!!!  Great job hanging in there till the very end Brian.  I've been having a blast reading your latest updates.  Best of luck making it to Hong Kong.  This is almost like reading a spy novel or something.  International intrigue, will he make it out alive?  ha ha.  See ya soon buddy.

Friday, 19 September 2008 - 6:37 AM PDT

Name: "zman"

Duuuuude! Great stuff man. Hey, I'm on strike now and decided to fly out to Knoxville to pick up an '81 R80G/S. Now hanging in Toledo at the folks place. Should be heading back cross country in a few weeks. When you get close to knowing when you'll be back, post it up. Maybe I can meet you in CAL, I'll bring the Scotch!

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