Consulate appointment

Well today we rose bright and early for our 8:30 consulate appointment. We went to the 5th floor of a commercial building. It was very anticlimactic compared to all the movies you see where the US embassy is a big white building with a US flag in front of it.

We went through security and had been told in advance to leave our cell phones and cameras at the hotel. However, as it turns out they do not allow electronics of any kind and I believe Lily was a little miffed when they confiscated her plastic princess cell phone.

We were ushered into a small waiting area with plastic seats. All 12 families were then asked to stand up and say an oath. They then called us one at a time to present our paperwork. Of course, we were last. We provided our forms and they basically said come back tomorrow for our visa and immigration papers.

When we got back to the hotel Julia and I were feeling adventurous so we took a cab to Liwan Plaza- commonly know as the Pearl Market. This involved getting into a cab and providing him with a piece of paper that our guide had written in Mandarin.

The Pearl Market itself was unlike any other place I have ever been. It was 5 story building with literally hundreds of tiny little stores selling everything from pearls, to gemstones, minerals and crystals. We started at the top floor and worked our way down.

We made some great purchases and then had the experience of finding another cab to get ourselves back. Fortunately, luck was with us and it only took about 10 minutes to get one. We then presented our hotel business card and the driver took us back.

Since we will be taking the train to Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon, we made a special trip to the Bank of China to exchange some currency since Hong Kong uses their own money. It took considerable explaining and various hand gestures to get them to understand what we wanted, but we got there in the end.

We then took a rest this afternoon and commenced packing. I think the last leg of this trip is going to be a difficult one. Hauling many pieces of luggage, a toddler and a stroller. Heaven help us!

This evening we returned to our favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. It seemed appropriate for our last night in the area.

So, tomorrow we will be leaving the hotel about 2:30. We will be dropped off at the train station while our guide goes to the consulate to get Lily’s visa and paperwork. She will then bring it back to us since the embassy won’t release it until 3:30. We then need to go through the departure process which China requires to know that we have actually left. I have no idea how complicated all of this will be.

We are allowed to board 45 minutes before the train leaves. Our train departs at 4:56 pm. We arrive in Hong Kong about 7pm. We then need to go through entry into Hong Kong and get a cab to our hotel. If we make it that far with all our stuff, at least our hotel is attached to the airport. Hopefully this will make things easier of Thursday.

Anyway, please send us your positive thoughts and prayers that everything goes smoothly for our upcoming travels. We need all the luck we can get!







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