Traveling to China was a great experience. It’s the furthest away from home that I have ever gone. The flight from California to Hong Kong alone was about 24 hours. That’s not including the 6 hour flight from Maryland to California or the 12 hour layover I had in Hong Kong, but back to me getting kicked out of a country that you really don’t want any problems in.
So. off to the other side of the world I go. After over a day of traveling I arrived at a beautiful airport, walked outside and was confused to be greeted by a fully Caribbean look to China? Immediately leaving the airport though, I started to notice China, as…..China, ie. the plants, people, buildings etc.
Now we fast forward almost a month, to 5 days before my Chinese visa expires. I knew I would be busy that week so I took advantage of the free time I had one day and decided to renew my visa. So, I went to the immigration offices and got an extension of my one month visa and all went well. With a smile on my face I left to keep enjoying the country and taking care of business. Little did I know what was in store for me the next time I arrived at the immigration office.
Now we fast forward almost a month again where the time has come for me to renew my visa to spend my last month in China. I’m with my old business partner (Chi) who is Chinese, and we start putting the paperwork into motion to get on with our day. About an hour of waiting later, three police officers come up to us and ask us to follow them. Not really sure what was happening I simply got up and did what I was told. They took the both of us to a room where there was a general waiting. We sat in front of his table and Chi began talking with the guy in charge. For about 30 minutes I sat there listening to two Chinese men have a conversation and not understanding a word, but from the look on Chi’s face it wasn’t good. Things did seem to escalate at a certain point, as voices where raised, but seeing how I didn’t understand a word I sat patiently and waited.
For about 30 minutes I sat there listening to two Chinese men have a conversation and not understanding a word, but from the look on Chi’s face it wasn’t good.
They finally decided to fill me in and the problem was that my visa had expired. When I went to renew it they had renewed it from the day I showed up at the immigration office and not from the day that my old visa was set to expire. Note that the first time I got it renewed I had asked them if it renewed from the date on my old visa and they had said yes. So while I thought I had all the time in the world to renew my visa I was apparently in China, illegally, for 5 days.
Back to the room full of cops, a general and Chi, I had a decision to make. I either pay 100 USD for everyday that I had spent additional in the country (500 USD total) or I could spend the next couple of months in jail until they decide to deport me. I obviously chose to spend time in jail because who would spend that much money……just kidding =). So I paid the 500 USD fee and was told that I had 4 days to leave the country or I would be put in jail. It was unfortunate because there was still so much of the country I wanted to explore but better to end a trip short than to end it in jail in China right?