What's Making Me Happy!

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2021, 07:52:54 PM »
Well that sucked.

First, the area still is running on a long outdated rule about foreigners only being allowed to stay in 5 star hotels, and all the ones near where I needed to be were booked for some sort of local event.  Initially, this was supposed to be something very easy to override by the local government contacts there, but it appears that hotel managers view those rules as more important than low level government officials.  I got stuck somewhere around 100 km away.  I know this rule for where foreigners could be parked overnight used to exist, but I've stayed in smaller hotels in 5 provinces with no issues.  The actual current law seems to be something along the lines of hotels just needing to apply for permission.  But everyone I talked to in Qinghai seemed to think this law was some immutable nationwide rule that was deeply carved onto a stone monument somewhere in Beijing back in 1949.

This was annoying and inconvenient, but sadly, it was just a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Then the local officials decided that although I was free to wander around anywhere I liked in Qinghai, I wasn't authorized to do anything involving the charity or interact with the sponsored students.  I could, for example, accept an invitation to visit anyone's home (if such an invitation was offered), but was forbidden to visit the schools or homes of any of the students sponsored by the charity.

The visits start today.  I was there to see the students.  There was no point in remaining while I couldn't do what I was there for.  I flew back yesterday.

Sadly, this whole fiasco was quite avoidable.  The person in my charity group had been specifically asked to double-check if my lack of Chinese nationality would cause any possible issues.  He didn't seem to think there would be any issues, so he didn't bother to ask his contacts in Qinghai or to even mention that a foreigner would be part of the team planning to visit the schools and homes of the students.


The two charity members who went to XJ fared better.  Initially, the whole planeload of people was held in the capital for a few hours for additional Covid testing, but they still made it to the destination city in time to do all the planned visits.


In any event, I've got my wife checking to try to find the exact current and historical versions of the various rules about where foreigners can and can't legally stay. (She's just discovered that some hotels lack actual hotel licenses - instead they claim to be renting apartments on their official licenses and would have trouble registering a foreigner with the police for a typical hotel length of stay. This could be the source of some "hotels" rejecting foreigners.)  She's also going to figure out who can give an absolute crystal clear ruling on just what having a green card does to any default foreigner restrictions on lodging.

I'm also going to make 200% sure I've got whatever local permissions I need all lined up far in advance before for the next charity trips to XJ and QH.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 08:52:29 PM by Escaped Lunatic »
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AMonk

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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2021, 11:52:43 PM »
Sounds frustrating  bibibibibi

One thing's certain - you won't be asking / relying on that "certain committee member" for anything in the future   llllllllll
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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #47 on: September 14, 2021, 06:10:35 PM »
Yeah.  I'm not booking tickets to Qinghai again until I personally have a paper signed by the right person to prevent that from happening again.

But, back to good news.

Sometime next week, I'm going back to my favorite town in Hunan.  I've been on 5 charity trips there and also successfully checked into small hotels with no assistance from my group twice.  Just to make absolutely sure there would be no problems, the charity's founder asked a few people to be absolutely certain that there aren't any new rules for foreigners.  There aren't.  The only thing that can get in my way is a viral outbreak on either end, and that will apply to everyone equally.

I'm thinking of leaving a day or two before everyone else.  FengHuang is a lovely place and I'd like to just spend some time relaxing there.  The other option is to stay a few days extra at the end of the trip.  Either way, if I do this, I'll have to pay a little more than average for the room, due to the trip being bracketed by Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day.
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2021, 08:15:46 PM »
Just to give me a heart attack, I was told I needed special approval to visit the schools in FengHuang. llllllllll

But, it only took them about 18 hours to go from "Tell us this info for the application" to "OK, we've got you approved.  Have a nice day."  I love FengHuang.  agagagagag

When I get there, I need to ask them more about this new approval thing so I can try to figure out how to get this taken care of in other provinces.

So I'm all set to go.  My train is on the 22nd.

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AMonk

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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2021, 11:46:08 PM »
 agagagagag

Safe Travels  :surfing:
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Re: What's Making Me Happy!
« Reply #50 on: September 30, 2021, 02:57:23 PM »
I'm back!  Did you miss me?

It was a fun, but VERY busy trip.  I got to see 6 of my students and hundreds of others.

I got back late last night and am now desperately trying to catch up on work.
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