A frikkin' *&^%$#$%%^&*& day.

Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, November 4, 2010

This trip to Asia definitely needs planning.

First off there's a need for Visas for most of the countries. Some of those visas need to be acquired prior to leaving Canada. Some can be acquired upon entry to a country. Visas are also valid from the date of issuance. The last country I'll be visiting will be in about 6 months and that impacts how or where I get that country's visa. Some visas are valid for 3 months, some 6.

I do some research and I require visas from India, China and Vietnam prior to leaving Canada. There are exceptions to those rules but I won't get into them. Each Embassy requires my passport. That means I have to wait between visa applications. No problem!

I can get same day turnaround on a Chinese Visa. Just have to pay extra. China and India have Consulates in Vancouver. ROAD TRIP!!!!!!

Yesterday I was up way too early to catch the 7h30 ferry to the mainland. At the Chinese Consulate by 10 am. After an hour wait it's my turn. PROBLEM #1. I require multiple entries (3 to be safe) and a 6 month visa. The clerk indicates they don't issue multiple entry visas to first time visitors. And so, I end up with a single entry visa valid for three months, which means end of January. I'm screwed if I can't get another visa as I fly out of Beijing (end of April) and was planning on doing some touring in that region of China. Oh well! Pay the extra $50 and can pick up my passport with the visa after 2 PM.

I have time to kill, it's beautiful out, and so I head to Stanley Park. I walk around and take a bunch of pictures. Then back to the Chinese Consulate to pick up my passport. It's almost 3 PM and I check into my hotel. Then off to walk around Gastown...Chinatown...the waterfront...the Red Light district.

I left my camera back at the hotel and so no photos. Those I did take were with my iPhone and are posted on my facebook account. I didn't purposely walk through the Red Light District, but when you wander you end up in places you don't expect. The homeless individuals and getting propositioned by a two-bit hooker did add to the awesome character that I loved when walking around Vancouver.

I return to the hotel then call Alexis to chat for a bit (she leaves for Mexico with her mom on Saturday for some RnR). I fill out the India visa application. Then it's suppertime in the Red Card Sports Bar. After pizza, a half liter of wine and the company of the lovely waitress it's back to my room. Once back I notice I have a phone message from the front desk.

Problem #2. My car has been broken into.

The hotel has parking spaces reserved in a neighboring parkade. Three of the hotel guests have had their cars broken in. I walk over there and see the driver's side window shattered, with my GPS, bluetooth handsfree cell phone unit and my clip-on sunglasses gone. I chat a while with the security guard who figures he was distracted by a young woman asking him to help her with the parking meter on the main floor while her accomplices broke into the cars. The hotel clerk shows up and vacuums up the broken glass.

It's off to bed around midnight for a sleepless night. The car window opening is still wide open and I have to figure out how to secure the opening on my drive back to Nanaimo in case it's raining.

The first priority this morning was getting my India Visa application in. I arrive there shortly before 8 AM. I'm 5th in line. The security officer reviews my application. Problem #3.

He has an issue because my passport was issued in Winnipeg. I require "proof" of residency in BC and a driver's license won't do. I don't have any utility bills and my banks have Calgary addresses. What to do? Finally the officer accepts that my vehicle insurance documents will do. My car is still in the hotel parkade. I have about 10 blocks, make that 20, to walk and get the documents.

A half hour later I return. My number still hasn't been called. About 15 minutes later it's my turn. Problem #4.

The clerk indicates that they issue only single entry visas  and you can only reapply 2 months after leaving the country. I require 3 entries due to wanting to travel by land through Bangladesh and into Bhutan before heading to Delhi. They do make exceptions if it's part of traveling to another country. I had thought ahead and had brought a copy of my itinerary. The clerk OK's it. Phew!

That done and back to the hotel by 10 AM. Check-out is 11 and I still have to fix my window. There's a Staples store across from the hotel and I wander around there to find some plastic or something to cover the hole. A roll of packing tape and a desk blotter cover and I'm good to go. Off to the parkade and I meet one of the other unfortunate break-in victims. He's from Portland, Oregon and the thieves broke his sunroof. He's heading back now and it's raining along his route. I show him what I found at Staples and should keep the rain out of his car. The desk blotter cover is just about the right size. Good enough to get back to Nanaimo.

At the ferry terminal, as I'm waiting, I call a glass place in Nanaimo. They'll have the window tomorrow morning and can install it right away. Then I call the Vancouver police and give my report. I check my car insurance documents as I'm waiting and realize that I have a zero deductible on glass coverage. At least I can get that replaced at no additional cost. But I'm still out my GPS (which actually belongs on my motorcycle and is a lot more expensive then most car ones) and my clip-on sunglasses.

What's my lesson in all this?

As per my previous entries I've stated that I always get confirmation that my 12 steps are right. I've indicated what the final 5 are. Have any of these problems or other experiences in my life lately confirmed that they're right?

This entry is long enough. I'll write more soon.


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