Today should have been my deadline to apply for that blasted Chinese visa. Due to my agent’s replacement not providing any written confirmation I’ll be attending the big ol’ barfy party at sea, I was refused at the consulate.
I should’ve guessed, but I trusted an outside party, and I normally wouldn’t. But I’m stuck leaving things in other people’s hands, which I hate. Mount Aso indeed blew up at her for being so stupid, and still not even giving me the link needed to pay for the second half of my itinerary. I’ve told her every day since last Thursday, I have no time left. If you don’t confirm everything ASAP, I’m not getting that visa, nor going on this trip. Yes, coming soon, Miss. Yes, it’s on the way, Miss. You’ll have it by tomorrow, Miss.
Well. Upon returning from the consulate, and running on just 3 hours of sleep, I let her have it.
I’ve been up at odd hours the past few days just trying to receive and reply to her emails as soon as humanly possible. Being in different time zones, and her company not working on weekends, this feels endless. And I’ve been sleepless to compensate. But hey, she probably left work at 10PM today, and I’m not sorry. She visibly did some overtime to patch things up with someone (me) who intended to pay her over 6000$ CDN, but couldn’t due to the company’s lack of troubleshooting skills. I need an INVOICE, I said at least 3 times. The consulate refuses your mere ‘Booking Form’, and with good reason. I could have just filled it in myself, and “said” I was going to China, with no real confirmation from the shipping company. Of course they need proof of payment to an airline (or in my case, shipping company) to even allow me to apply for the coveted visa.
After I let my agent have it, she suddenly produced invoice after invoice (always with one mistake here, another there), and tried to move things along. She is definitely aware that tomorrow is Game Over for me, and I will demand a full refund of everything I’ve paid her company, regardless of their lack of flexible refund policies. Let’s just say, I now have everything I need except one last form, which she promises to email me in the (her) morning, while I’m having nightmares over missing my alarm clock, or reaching the wicket at 11:29am, when Rush visa applications close for the day at 11:30, or simply ringing this woman’s neck for putting undue stress on me in my last few days before departure.
The only upside, is that the consulate employee assured me that “2-day service” is literally 1 full working day (in my layman head anyway). This buys me that extra day I wasn’t counting on. I expected to pick up my visa on Thursday afternoon. If everything goes as planned tomorrow morning, I will still receive it on Thursday, since the wait time is shorter than I believed. In Canada, or maybe it’s only in my city, when a government-run office tells you “2 days”, always plan for 3. That’s how I was planning things. I will now trust that they’ll really be able to have the document ready for me on Thursday, so that I don’t panic to try a third time on Thursday for highly-doubtful one-day turnaround on a Friday afternoon as the consulate is closing for the weekend. The worst scenario would be that they’d have my passport hostage all weekend, and then I’d need to cancel the entire trip. I know there are ways of applying for a visa directly once I arrive in China, or having it mailed to me in another country – but – but – my passport! I need that to board the ship, and I refuse to let the worse case scenario materialize.
Mount Aso had a little eruption, but Little Miss Travel Agent has seen nothing yet. Tomorrow the Wrath of bustrainboatwalk shall be upon her if things are not in order as per my requests. This is my safety net day. Yes, I have one final day after that to submit the forms, but I really don’t trust government offices to not screw me over in the last possible second. Better to get it done with tomorrow, and hope they even grant me this crazy document, after all this trouble. With rush service, I could’ve had my visa in my hands already if I’d been able to get to the consulate on time on Monday (impossible since the travel agent got in touch with me much too late in the day).
Guys, please wish me luck with this. I have little patience or trust left for outside aid in wrapping up my trip plans.