10th of September 2017
While living in China I needed a permission to stay. That makes sense. I also had to get permission to stay in Portugal when I moved here almost 7 years ago.
Before I left Iceland I had got 90 days visa for staying in China, which I had to renew every 3 months. The Icelandic embassy told me to contact the authorities when I arrived and they would grant me permanent residence.
Well, I had bought a house in Min Hou and spent a lot of money. I had a contract for my house which proved that it was mine. Everything was in order, or so I thought.
When arriving I got an interpreter to help me with some practical things. The Chinese person that was supposed to be there for me had changed plans and I had to make new arrangements. The hotel, where I was staying, found a wonderful lady who became my friend and my interpreter. Of course she was Chinese. We met and she took me to the police station to get a permanent residence for me. That would not be a problem. I had bought a house, had a bank account and even a car in my new country. Everything was paid and I did not owe anything to anyone.
Little did we know.
We went to the police station, they looked the house papers and my passport and at me. The handsome policeman, said NO. She won’t get permanent residence. But she has bought a house in Min Hou, my interpreter said. She is going to live in the house. She is mowing from Iceland to China. No, she will not get a residence. She has 90 days Visa and that is all, said the man inside the glass. My heart sank. How could that be? There had not been any problem buying the house. No problem buying the car. No problem opening an account in the bank of China. What did they think I was going to use all this for? Just for fun?
I was devastated. My interpreter was devastated. The police man told us to go away and we did.
There was no way to change anything. At least not for the time being. I had to accept my situation.
But, in every situation there is a silver lining. Because of my Visa situation I went several times to Hong Kong. I could go to Hong Kong and get a new visa for 3 months. At first I used to fly but then I figured out I could travel by train if I went to Shenzhen by bus.
This was not too expensive. I was the only passenger not Chinese. Usually I sat at the back, as far back as possible. Why? I don´t know. I just did.
As you can see there are just black crowns in front of me, all through the bus. Some are sleeping, some are reading and some are just talking. Sometimes someone sat at the back with me and we chatted. That was nice. They were curious about the white lady and asked a lot of questions. Usually they learned more about me than I about them.
The traffic was heavy and sometimes it took a VERY long time to get to the destination.
I found my trips by the bus interesting. I learned a lot about the traffic, about the distribution of goods and in general about the trucks and cars in China. When the sky was clear and blue, the scenery was amazing. The trees not too big, but everywhere. Everything was clean. Do you know there are people cleaning the roads, all the time? They are there to pick up the rubbish thrown through the windows. They clean the leaves and the cigarettes. They clean everything and the roads and the environment is clean in the cities. Before I came to China I had heard that the Chinese were slobs. Well some of them are, I have to admit that, but there are cleaners who take care of the trash.
Sometimes the roads were even almost empty, no traffic or very little, but that was an exception. During these trips I discovered different buildings and different architecture. Sometimes we passed houses that were only half finished. The Chinese do invest their moneys in buildings and if they don´t need them they are not spending anything on decorating or putting glass in the windows, for example.
My interpreter and here husband were well off and they had a house, half finished. They lived in an apartment in Fuzhou and there was no hurry to finish the house. It would not go anywhere and they had a safe place for their daily life.
One thing I noticed on my trips to Hong Kong were the huge advertising signs. They are everywhere, in the cities and around the highways. You just name it. These huge monsters are screaming at you. I found them ugly and an eye pollution. Of course there was nothing I could do about them. My trip was just to get permission to stay in my beautiful house in Min Hou for at least the next 3 months!
While going to Hong Kong by air I stayed 3 days in a Hotel. It took me 3 days to get the new Visa. I tried to find a cheap hotel and some of the places were strange. I say no more. But everywhere I met friendly helpful people. People that wanted to help the strange lady. I have some very good memories from my several Visa trips which I will share with you another day.
In spite of all my trouble through my Chinese life I really miss it. I wish I could go there again, just for few months and if my health gets better I will see my home again. I have never felt as much at home as when I stepped out of the plain into the enormous heat in Fuzhou. Finally I was home, but now I am faraway.
Life can be strange sometimes and I never know what tomorrow brings.