Overheard At The Taiwanese Visa Office In Hong Kong

The Lippo Centre stands tall. The sun is shining through the overcast skies. Finance people go to work.

For some strange reason, the Chung Hwa office is not on the 21st floor. It’s on the 40th. It took a few minutes to find it.

It’s 8:38AM on a Friday morning. There are already six people waiting in line at the door. The Chung Hwa Travel Agency opens its doors at 9AM. Fees have been upped. Single entry visitor’s visa is $400HK + $200HK for same day processing.

Man and daughter walk up to the counter. She’s about 10, squat-like with glasses. He’s tall, Canadian and has blond hair. He sports a beard of a few days.

-Good morning ma’am, and how are you today
(unintelligible response)
-Today, we’d like to apply for a student visa for my daughter
(unintelligible response)
-My wife is Taiwanese, but she’s not my daughter’s mother.
(unintelligible response)
-She’s her step-daughter.
(unintelligible response)
-I’m still waiting on my criminal record check. They lost it and I had to send for it again.
(unintelligible response)
-I’ve only got photocopies, I was told that it would be enough.
(unintelligible response)

-At this time, we can not offer you ANY visa, due to (unintelligible response).
(shocked consternation)

-Your photos are too small. Please get some new ones.

Sleepless In Ottawa

On Tuesday night, I packed my lunch. I had bought bus tickets to get to Ottawa earlier that day. I had planned on either arriving early and then meeting up with someone from Couchsurfing, or leaving as late as possible and managing until 9AM when the TECO office in Ottawa opened.

Needless to say that I didn’t get in contact with someone in Couchsurfing. There are only two people in Ottawa. So I got onto the bus at 8PM. I was surprised. The bus was very comfortable and I had space for my legs. That usually isn’t the case. The last time I had taken the bus was in 2006 on a similar trip to Ottawa right before leaving Montreal. That trip was hellish. I won’t get into to many details, but in the end, I had to charter a cab for 300$ to drive me back to Montreal, since if I had taken the bus, I wouldn’t have made my flight. Traffic was killer in Montreal and I had to meet my wife directly at the airport. I forgot to pack a few items.

Continue reading “Sleepless In Ottawa”

Heading To Ottawa

I’m heading to Ottawa to get my visa for Taiwan tonight. I’ll arrive during the night and I’ll have a few hours to kill before the TECO office opens at 9AM. I’ve got all my papers sorted out, it should be very quick and fast.

I’m back in Quebec in about 24 hours. I’m leaving for Taiwan at 6:35AM on Friday. I’ll arrive at about 9PM on Saturday. I’ll have a few hours to kill in the HK airport, but that’s always been the case.

Taiwan Here I Come

My flights are booked and I arrive on Saturday in Taiwan.

It’s going to be a hectic few days in order to prepare everything, but I’m already almost set.

I’m not sure if I will try out couchsurfing or not. I’ve tried contacting a guy and we’ll see what happens. If I can’t set it up in time, I’ll have to leave in the early hours of Wednesday morning, around 3AM most likely. That way, I’m sure to arrive at 8AM to the TECO office in Ottawa.

I barely slept last night because I my flights weren’t confirmed and I hadn’t yet spoken to my boss in detail about my upcoming departure. Turns out that my flights were confirmed and my boss was really nice and guaranteed me a job when I come back in late August.

My wife has already found me a few little jobs in Taiwan, which is pretty sweet. I’ve sent out a few CVs, but I’m looking for sub work. Or full time employment during the summer.

Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can find a place on Allo-Stop. I doubt that it will work out. Most likely, I’ll use the bus and arrive in Ottawa at around 8PM.

If Couchsurfing doesn’t pan out, I’ll leave early Wednesday morning.