Escape from China, nearly thwarted!

Trip Start Jul 18, 2010
Trip End Mar 04, 2011

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China Southern airoplane :(

Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Today is my last day in work for a 3week stint over in NZ, stopping in Melbourne on my way over. Just a quick ‘flying visit’ through Melbourne on account of cheaper flights through OZ, but strangely coinciding with a trip of two friends from High school too! Small, small world.
Work have kindly arranged a car for me after work to the airport. I have a 5hour wait, but the airport is so big it’s good I’m here early. I celebrate my first taste of freedom in the form of a banana split! Funny what deprivation of your home-food does to menu choices! I sit and chill for a bit before my flight, and guess 2hours is fine to go through security.
I queue up to check in, and get to the desk. The girl behind the desk asks where my Australian visa is… my reply was somewhat imperialist, “I’m a British national, I don’t need one”. Oh how foolish, I did. She said I couldn’t get on the flight. I could apply for a visa from the airport, but it would probably come through the next day, meaning $300 AUS to stay in the airport overnight and possibly miss my follow-on flights to NZ! Nightmare. I was somewhere between crying and being sick at the point the supervisor for the airline came over. I think he could sense my distress, so pulled me behind his counter, gave me a chair and we started filling out forms. He kept entering information over and over to a blank screen. I was aware that the time difference to Aus meant it was 3am, the embassy wouldn’t be able to sort this surely? He kept dealing with other customers and I was really getting into a flap… alas he came back and entered more information into the screen. Then turned and stated that I had been approved electronically and could get on the flight! Jees. I told him that I was so grateful I could hug him, although it was very inappropriate! That’s the last time I assume I can enter ANY country! I check in and get to the gates in plenty of time. 8hours to Melbourne, enough for a good sleep before I sight see!
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