Christian Holiday in an Atheist Country

Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Friday, December 5, 2008

Jacqui and I arrived in Guangzhou on November 25th...right before Thanksgiving. We figured we be eating Chinese food for Thanksgiving dinner. But the hotel here caters to Western guests, particularly Americans adopting Chinese babies. So 'lo and behold, one of the restaurants in the hotel was putting on a Thanksgiving dinner. No clues about what it would be so we thought we'd give it a try. The dinner was actually held in the fancy French restaurant. We were served crawfish bisque(not my favorite), lots of good breads, pumpkin soup(served inside a little pumpkin), crab legs(not bad), lemon sherbert, roast duck with black truffles(really tasty duck, but the truffles aren't worth the flavor they add), dessert tray with cheesecake(awesome), pumpkin pie(good, but not good enough to want a 2nd portion), chocolate cake(actually kinda blah), and carrot cake(didn't like this but I'm not a fan anyways), then there were jelly-filled chocolates. The dinner also included 2 glasses of wine and all the tea and hot chocolate we could drink. Now this was a good spread...but the price was astronomical(hooray for expense reports). For the two of us, the total came to $1670RMB. For comparison, I was reading in the paper today that some of the policemen here only make $650RMB/month. Now this is an expensive area of town, but that was even expensive for here.

The hotel is all decked out for Christmas now, they've got a giant Christmas tree in the lobby with a little Christmas village. The outside of the hotel is all done up in lights too. Also, a lot of the river ferries are covered in lights too. Not really Christmassy, but I don't remember them from the last time I stayed here.

Have to say we've been fairly boring so far during this trip. I've been working late and leaving early every single day, so we go out to eat dinner somewhere close by, then I'm working on emails until midnite or so. And Jacqui hasn't really left the hotel except for dinner with me. It's also more difficult to travel around here by ourselves because most all the signs are written in Chinese characters. I'm pretty good at reading/semi-understanding the writing of most languages. But I can't recognize and remember all those symbols(it seems to me that the Chinese have a problem with it also).

We did go the other day to the Division of Exit and Entry Administration of Guangzhou Public Security Bureau to try to get Jacqui's visa extended. She could only get a 30-day, single entry tourist visa. And now I'm 98% sure we're going to be here until Jan 14th.
So yesterday I left the shop early with a coworker from the Beijing office. We went and had to get a copy of hotel registration, copy of Jacqui's passport, new passport photos(for the visa), fill out an application, and wait around for a while. When we finally got up to the window, we were told that the way we filled out the application was for a business visa(I had marked Tourist, 1-year, and multiple entry, but tourists can ONLY get 30-day, single entry visas...mine is a 2-year multiple entry business visa), and they don't accept copies of the hotel registration, only originals. Plus we were told that we should wait to try for a new visa closer to when she would need to exit the country. If we got her a new visa now, it would only be valid for 30days from the day it was issued. So sometime after the 14th of December, she can take a taxi(it's not far away), and put in her application. Not sure what the price will be though. It was expensive when we got her current one because I had to rush it.

I should be able to put up some pictures after I get them from Jacqui. My camera died right before this trip and I sent it away for warranty repairs. The camera I've got here is one from the office, and it sucks... So hopefully it will be finished for the next trip. Enough rambling for today. Check back again soon.
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