This April, when SARS was already a concern in the country, I listed my dream travel destination. I listed Europe as the first in my list. Now, I really begin to plan my trip to Europe this December.
On my list, there are Germany, Italy, Greek and Switzland. I didn’t know more about the plan yet, since it depends on whether my passport and visa is ready then.
Yes. My Passport
I didn’t go to the Exit-Entry Administration after I lost my passport. You may have a clear idea about how bad it is to lose a passport. After publishing my adverstisement for losing the passport on May 29, 2003, I finally be able to claim a new passport on Aug 29, 2003. But I didn’t go until recently.
The famous Exit-Entry Administration is located at 333 Wusong Road. Yes. It is famous to me since I was told about this name so many times in may painful experience to claim the lost of the passport. I got there very easy. BTW, I would suggest http://www.jt.sh.cn, a perfect website that can tell you how to get around in Shanghai via public transportation. Without its help, I may never figure out go by Bus #43 and transit to Bus #17 at Chongqing South Rd is the best way to go there. The automatic queuing system told me that 155 people were waiting on the line before me. My number is 483 and the current number is 328. I went out to have my lunch and get back, it only goes to 338. Well. What efficiency! So after about 2 more hours, I handed in the newspaper with my ad, my photos and my photocopy of ID. The man on the other side of the class window told me to get the new passport in 10 days. It is the happy ending of the sad story of losing passport.
It is still not easy to get a visa to go to Europe. I am not sure whether I can get it in time. Anyway, I don’t care too much. If the God don’t want me to go, I just stay and practice my driving skills.
It is said to get a visa from any of the Schengen counties, I can go to other Schengen countries. I tried to call Consulate General of Germany, France and Italy. They give me difference experiences.
Voice System of Germany Consulate
The German consulate in Shanghai has moved! They can now be found at:
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
F18 New Century Plaza
188 Wujiang Road
People’s Republic of China
Phone (021) 62 17 28 84
Fax (021) 62 71 46 50
After I called their phone, the German recorded voice greeted me. They also offer Chinese explaination. That should for sure. The second half of the story is very interesting.
Phone: For recorded information, please press 8.
Me: (pressed 8)
Phone: For visa, please press 1.
Me: (pressed 1)
Phone: For business hours of visa, please press 3.
Me: (pressed 3)
Phone: Good bye. (hung up)
Hehe. I spent 0.6 RMB mobile fee and interact with the system only to hear the sweat Good bye.
Out of business hour, their voice message became:
Phone: Hello, this is the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germanythis. Our office is closed. Our business hours are 8:30 – 11:30, Mon to Friday. Thanks for calling. (music…..)
France is not better than Germany. They offer France greetings and just claim their business hour. No one ansewred the phone.
Add: 12F Qihua Mansion, No.1375 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021-6471 6980
Fax: 021-6471 6977
I have to say, I love Italy. Just like Nepal, a human being answered the phone. I was surprised. The man on the other side of the phone can only speak Italy and I can only speak Chinese and English. The caused big problem. I tried to explain that I want to know the process of applying a visa in English and he is trying to explain something to me in Italy. I have to compliment the good service this guy provided. Although none of us can understand each other, we were all patient enough to keep the conversation going. After about 50 seconds, the guy finally transfered the phone to another one capable of Chinese. Anyway, this is the first guy who didn’t hung up the phone when they found out we are saying the different language.
What surprised me most is, when I tried to call the Consulate General of Italy after their business hours, this is their greeting:
Phone: “Thanks for calling Consulate General of Italy. Our business hours are 9:00 – 16:00 Mon – Fri. If you want to make a reservation out of the business hours, please call 13901993054”
What? They even offered a mobile phone number? Do they provide 24×7 service? I don’t want to bother the good guy in the world. I asked the express man to get a visa application form from the Consulate and found their website at http:///www.conitsha.org.cn. I was not able to find it via Google before.
The Dream fo “Around the World”
I finally bought the book “Around the World with 3000 USD”. It is an interesting book. The author Zhuzhaorui traveled around the world in 3000 USD. It is interesting.