• 10Nov

    Last weekend I needed to exit China so that I could renew my visa (it’s only valid for 90 day stretches).  So the closest place to do that is Vietnam or Laos.  Since Wenshan is closer to Vietnam it only made sense to head down that way.  But if only it was that simple.  Of course nothing here is as simple as it seems…

    First, to go to Vietnam you must acquire a visa.  The Vietnamese embassy is in Kunming and takes 5 days to have one issued.  Luckily, Pam and I were going together and she had a meeting in Kunming during the week.  So she took my passport up with her on Sunday, dropped them off at the embassy and then went to her meetings.  Now it would seem like it would make sense if she could come down to Vietnam from Kunming and I could come from Wenshan, meet at the border and go over together.  Nope.  Yeah right.  The bus from Wenshan to Vietnam requires that you have your passport on you.  SO…. Wednesday I went up to Kunming (I decided I could play up there for a day and also scheduled a meeting in Kunming)… then Friday we were graced with the amazing opportunity to ride a 10 hour plus over-night bus ride down to the border.  The good news was that there was 4 of us going.  The better news was that we got the back “seats/bed”.  You’ve seen some of the pictures on the night bus before, but it’s basically a regular Greyhound size bus… but they fit bunk beds going the length of the bus 3 wide with 2 very narrow aisles.  But in the back the beds are connecting.  So the bad news was that there were 4 of us, and the back is supposed to fit 5 on this massive bed (essentially the 2 aisles don’t exist in the back and they make it a solid bed).  We spent most of the time before the bus was set to go praying and hoping that no one else would come!  Great news,  no one came.  Strange news? while we didn’t have anyone sleeping next to us, we did have someone staring at us!  We started to notice that the girl (maybe 18ish) was stealing long glances at us as we were having conversations with each other.  This in it of itself is nothing new.  People like to watch us especially when we’re speaking in English.  What WAS unusual was that her “glances” were minutes at a time!  Also, usually when people stare at you and you start to stare back at them or smile, then they turn away.  Nope, not this girl.  In fact, all the beds tend to “face forward” in the sense that you put your feet towards the driver and your head is towards the back.  So that made it really tough for her to stare at us all the time, that is until she figured out that if she was on her stomach then she could prop her head up and stare at us without even twisting her neck.  Once she made herself comfortable, I guess we were her entertainment for the bus ride.  Luckily she eventually got sleepy or bored, and rotated and was asleep the rest of the trip.

    We arrived at the border around 6am but the border didn’t open until 8am.  “Luckily” one of the girls we were traveling with left her cell phone on the bus so we spent a good chunk of time trying to track down the bus and get it back.  After all that we arrived at the border around 7:15 and just waited.

    Vietnam was SO exciting, the WHOLE 45 minutes I spent there.  We crossed, looked for coffee and chocolates that our friends had requested, then walked back to the border and crossed back.

    What was pretty interesting was the sudden feeling of incompetence.  All of sudden you have NO language skills and your ability to communicate even the simplest things becomes a charades show.

    We made it back to the bus station in time to catch the 9:30 bus to Wenshan and arrived in Wenshan around 4 that evening.  It made the whole trip about 24 hours to go from Kunming to Wenshan (direct it’s 4-5 hours!) haha.

    I did get a fun picture though.


    So in Vietnam (at least at the border) they have penguin trash cans.  Of course everyone knows what a national symbol penguins are in Vietnam… right?  Or someone just didn’t like the movie Happy Feet.

    Things are going in a forward direction down here in Wenshan.  We’re pretty close to getting a new office.  We found a building and we’re just hashing out some of the details before we actually rent it.  It has the potential to become a really amazing space.  Anyone know anything about making a pulley system that could give some input?

    I should be home in a month!


    Posted by LupLup @ 12:08 am

5 Responses

  • Robert Says:

    You’re so distracted by the penguin trash can that you didn’t see those old ladies stole your parents’ patio furniture! I guess they were clever enough to paint it blue so you wouldn’t notice.

  • LupLup Says:

    You’d think with the cheap labor in Vietnam that it would be easier and cheaper to buy their own furniture… seems like a waste to have to ship it to Vietnam then go through the hassle of painting them blue. But I guess next time I’m there I’ll be sure to steal it back!

  • 2 Lups Mom Says:

    oOo, blue!

    So did the penguin make any noises when you threw in some trash? Remember the trash cans at De Efteling theme park that belched?!!

  • s Says:

    woah you went to vietnam?

  • NetNet Says:

    Ah the ‘joy’ of renewing visa! Time to learn some simple Vietnamese sentences! At least enough to order food and find the toilet 🙂