12/2 – to update our visa tale, we spent Friday morning waiting at the Chinese Consulate while the Person Behind the Door perused our hastily fabricated itinerary and bogus hotel reservation ( we picked the most expensive hotel in town – why not?). After cooling our heels for several hours…. success! We were instructed to deposit $280 in the Consulate’s bank account, and come back next Friday to retrieve our passports and our two-entry visa for mainland China. Deep sigh of relief…
All roads here seem to lead to the Grand Bazaar, and we strolled through several times, not looking for anything in particular. The friendly sellers try to gauge where we are from by looking at our shoes. As we wear hiking boots, we are often pegged for either German or Australian. When we reveal we are from America (USA gets blank looks), we sense an increased desire on their part to sell us something. We are invited into many back rooms for tea.
The Grand Bazaar:
The Spice Market:
We bought some presents for the kids, and had to walk to the downtown post office where international parcels can be mailed. The postage cost more than the gifts, and they are expected to arrive in 20 days. Where is Fed Ex when you need it?