Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wǒ shì zhōngguó rén


Chinese Working Visa
I have procured my Chinese Z-Visa but the bureaucratic malcontents put it on page 12 of my sparkly sleek new passport. Speaking of which, I like the new Canadian Passport, oh hang on  the new ePassport as it is now called. There are new security features but my personal favorite is that "it has an electronic chip – but it won’t track you". 

All the new chip technology aside I like the fact that it is smaller and has hard covers. There is also a great design feature in that if you put the inside pictures under a black light they come alive with color. Here is an article and video from the National Post that explains it. A passport should be a special document to celebrate Canada and the boys and girls who were a part of the new design and implementation did a great job.

Chinese Yuan or RMB
I had to take a few trips to Toronto to process and pickup my visa. You do not go to the Chinese consulate to apply for your visa. In Toronto you go to a designated Visa Processing Centre on University Avenue, near Dundas.  My advice if this is something you are considering, BE 100% PREPARED! Do not take anything for granted because they are busy and have no time and will not listen to your sob story. " I am in a hurry, my flight leaves in a few days, nobody told me I need this or that, I did not make an appointment, do I need one, that was not on the website"..blah blah blah. In the 30 minutes I was there the first day and 15 minutes the next heard each of those comments plus a few others. Then there was the twenty something snowflake that started crying to no avail and her mother was "going to take care of it and not be bullied". That went nowhere as well. Better than television really

Go to the website and do what they say. Make an appointment, bring everything they say you need and make copies of everything as there is NO forgiveness. I had to leave and make copies of 3 of my documents. I did not know and did not question I just went and took care of it. Not a big deal as there is a coin operated machine in the office but I ran next door to staples and was back in 10 minutes. Bring your passport and the extra photos that you need and remember to be patient while you wait. You will not recieve any latitude especially if you give them any attitude.

I made an appointment and it was 2 weeks when the next appointment was available That was frustrating but I had time. If you are in a hurry because you are waiting until the last minute, good luck to you. If you just show up you you sit with your ticket and you will wait, bring snacks. I was in and out, including checking in with the reception, running to staples and waiting to be processed then being processed all in about 30 minutes.  I returned 2 days later for my pickup and was in and out in 15 minutes without issue.

On my return trip I stopped and picked up some Chinese Yuan (RMB) at Calforex Toronto Currency Exchange on Queen Street. Do not believe the hype that they give you amazing rates. Service was friendly but cost was 10%. I spoke to a few others outside (I waited like a stalker) and the it was the same for a woman who bought UK Pounds and a girl who bought  Australian Dollars. The service was decent but again do not believe the hype that they are cheaper than the banks.

My bags are packed, I have Black Sails season 2 and 3 loaded up on my tablet, all electronics are fully charged and I am ready to go. I have been researching various countries while staring at a map of Asia and have come up with a list of things I want to do and places I want to visit and there are to many to mention. However the Kokoda Track in Papau New Guinea, and a couple of Treks in Nepal including The Everest Base Camp Trek are tops on the list and maybe a trip into North Korea (gulp). Let's see what happens along the way because there is a tremendous amount of places to explore in China....oh and I have to get back to work.


Nathan Josh said...

You did the right thing by choosing a local currency exchange Toronto instead of going to a bank or using ATM.

Currency Mart said...

thanks for sharing currency exchange tips.