March 2004 Archives
There once was an actor named Mel,
Who's beliefs were known to be, well,
Bizarre, crackpot and Mad,
(Just like his dad)
And loathsome as well, you can tell.
An actor named James Caviezel,
Suspects he's going to hell.
As he stood for a shot,
The Heavens spake: ZOT!
That's a thumbs down, you can tell.
It's looking like the hassle of getting a visa for Shenzen will soon be a thing of the past, as the heads of the municipality will soon be meeting with the Tung administration in Hong Kong.
The ever unlinkable SCMP (which has now dropped the story completely), reported the visa cost as $210 for a single entry and $850 for a six month monthly entry visa. Several local bloggers regurgitated the story and quoted those prices as correct.
The thing is, they're wrong. A single entry visa went up in price last summer from $100 to $150 at the border. Those of us lucky enough to not carry a British passport could get a single entry Shenzen visa at the border in a little room upstairs of the immigration booths on the China side of the bridge. I might be going up there tomorrow, but I'm sure as hell not going to take a picture in that office.
I got a six-month multi-entry visa last October when it looked like I might be going back and forth across the border quite a bit. It cost me $580, although that was via a travel agent friend, so it might be a special price. However, CTS, the China Travel Service office in Wan Chai offers a six-month multi-entry China Visa for about $650 (I think, I'll check tomorrow).
Check your facts guys. Don't, for God's sakes, rely on the SCMP to actually be accurate in its reporting.
I'm pretty suspicious of the story really, for one very simple reason. Border Control. There is almost no border control between Shenzen and the rest of China that I've ever seen. Sure, the PSB stop some buses and look for passports, but it's not rigorous. I've never been asked for a passport going between China and Shenzen SEZ, and tellingly, neither has my wife (who is Chinese), and who's done that journey more times than me.
Visa free access to Shenzen effectively means visa free access to China unless there is some serious building going on at the Shenzen/China boundary. and that means that all manner of undesirables like foreigners and Taiwanese can come and go in China at no cost to themselves. Colour me sceptical.
It's Saint Patricks day today. I think I'll go have some snake soup, in honour of the Patron Saint of Ireland.
One thing which is notable about Australia is the amount of music playing on the radio by people you've never heard of unless you're from there.
Melbourne is a very nice city. I really liked it, although I didn't get a chance to see very much of it. I'm not sure if a return visit will be called for. There might be similar work in Sydney in the near future.
I should be back home soon, but in the meantime, you can see more or less the same view I see every day: http://www.101collins.com.au/rooftop.html will give you a live view of Melbourne.
02: Sports Precinct is more or less the view out of my office window. That's the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and the Tennis Courts. Sometimes we can see the Footy from up here!
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