Friday, July 27, 2007

The Trial II

Man knocks on my door at 7.30 am and tells me I need to pay the gas bill right now, but I need the receipt. (see earlier post for context).

Receipt is in the office. Take 2 minutes to get ready and run to the office with man following on bike. Get receipt.

Take out 300 kuai from my wallet for the 286.80 kuai bill. Man (no longer on bike):'sorry no change'.

Run to hotel: not enough change for 100.

Run to hairdressers: Not open.

Run to baozi stand: 'Two pork baozi please, and can I please pay the 1.40 with a 100 note and, um can you give me change in 50s 20s 10s 5s 1s 0.5s and 0.1s?'

Get to office, tired and sweaty a little before 8 and start the day.

Later in the morning I returned to the visa office (third time in two days) with all the correct paraphernalia to order my visa. The queue was laughably big this time. Wait for an hour and a half watching people get turned away in hordes. Finally get to front desk and after some haggling over dates I get my ticket to return next week to pick up the visa. After this I will have to go to the police station to get a third residency permit. I may then simply leave the country through shear frustration.

That's not true, I have plans to take a proper two week vacation in October to go and see some of the country I've missed out on so far. This will be the first proper vacation where I've left the work behind since last August, so I feel both in need of it and duty bound to try and see some more of this amazingly beautiful, diverse country. I'll write about plans and seek advice soon.

Anyway, despite all this I've made some progress on one of the current projects today, finally having some possible physical insight into our solutions. Better get back to it...

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