Monday, 20 February 2012

How to become a legal Alien in China

When you travel by air to China, the flight attendent will hand out immigrartion forms that you need to fill in and hand over at immigration. If you turn the form, you will find the small print on the back of the departure card. Authorities ask you to register with the police shortly after arrival:

 "Aliens wishing to lodge at the home of a Chinese resident, at a foreign institution in China or at the home of an Alien in China shall register temporary accommodation."

Beijing Police Station

You won't believe, it took us three attempts.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Winter in Beijing

market sales woman
Arriving on a winter day in Beijing, you either see a thick yellowish grey sky and the air smells strange - or a striking blue sky with a very bright sun. What you won't see is anything green. The trees are bold, not a single leave, and no grass on the ground, just earthy sand. Like in the dessert, that is not far from Beijing. There is seldom snow in Beijing winters. Close to the dessert there is seldom rainfall after all.

When I arrived at Beijing airport, as soon as I have left the plane, I could smell Beijing air - the bad one, that you have on these yellowish days, especially in winter, when they burn coal for heating, when the smog limits the sight. I saw these brownish sandy grounds as far as I could see, and the bold grey trees.

That's Beijing in winter. It's dusty and cold. And I like it! It's this special charm that you don't find in other countries.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Going back to Beijing

Green T House Living

I am looking forward to my trip to Beijing! Very much. Although it is much more complicated to get a VISA then a year ago. China seems much more careful with visitors. If you plan to visit China, check out the regulations for your country in advance to have enough time to prepare all the documents. When you stay at a private home, no matter Chinese or Alien, you will need their passport copies, residence permit and an invitation letter.

And maybe, I say maybe, as I am not sure, I had to provide further documents because I did not like to be a "housewife" by profession and therefore checked "retired" instead. The Chinese Embassy asked to provide bank statements. Probably to prove a regular income which makes me less a candidate to search for a job in Beijing.

BTW, if you are a writer or journalist - you will need to indicate that in your visa request.

Nevertheless, I am looking very much forward meeting friends in my former home town, going shopping and eating in some of my favorite restaurants - and refresh my Mandarin. Also I am curious to see how much has Beijing has changed again since my last visit (15 months ago).


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