Chinese EmbassyOctober 8th, 2008 | Posted by in 06-Vietnam
Having been refused our Chinese visas in Kathmandu, we though we would give it another try here in Hanoi, and if successful we could travel into China from northern Vietnam. Rather stupidly we went straight from the bus station to the embassy following our 18hr bus ride thinking that the visa process would take only a matter of minutes.
We waited 3hrs before we got to the front of a very short queue. Not sure how substantiated this is, but were told that the embassy has an agreement with many travel agents and preferred that applicants use this service rather than visit the embassy itself, but they charge double and in some cases triple the price. So as to deter, they only let a trickle in at a time.
Anyway, when we got the front we were told that we could not enter because we were wearing sandals and not shoes – a root through the backpack, a quick change and up to the front again, “sorry you need to change your top, it’s too revealing”, are you having a F***ing laugh. Did I mention that all the Chinese could wear what they F***ing wanted, flip flops, sandals, see through tops, mini-skirts etc… There were about ten of us ‘westerners’ changing galore just so we could move from the queue and enter the building. Bear in mind most had no additional clothes or shoes with them, so those who had successfully submitted their applications were swapping clothes and shoes with those waiting in the queue – a sight for very tired eyes!
Appropriately dressed and having moved to the front again, we were then told that our documentation was insufficient – not according to the signs – apparently we were missing a photocopy of our Vietnamese visa. This was complete bollocks as the visa was in our damn passports, why would we also need a photocopy. By this point the gate was locked so we had to kindly ask those outside to go a few blocks down to photocopy our passports, thankfully they did.
During this time several brawls had broken out between security and those who had been refused entry, batons were drawn to usher them off the premises. We kept our heads low and done what we could to ensure we got in. We were laughing throughout so it wasn’t all bad.
These photos are pretty tame, we wouldn’t dare take out our camera once we got near the front of the queue where most of the comotion happened.
We find out on Friday if our visa applications are successful.