Tag Archives: Qantas Club

02. Last Minute Minutia

  1. 01. To The Rescue
  2. 02. Last Minute Minutia
  3. 03. Spiritual Me
  4. 04. A New Approach
  5. 05. Cruising Cambodia
  6. 06. Ox Cart Aerobics and Buddhist Blessing Yoga
  7. 07. My Great Cambodian Depression
  8. 08. A Day on the River Limbo
  9. 09. Lies, Damned Statistics, and Tourism
  10. 10. Saigon Reunification
  11. 11. The Way to Huế
  12. 12. A Hot Time in the Old Town
  13. 13. An Hanoi-ing Experience
  14. 14. Southeast Asian Rescue

This trip breaks precedent on many fronts, but I suppose if Alabama is recognising same-sex marriages, well, we live in interesting times indeed. Generally we start planning our adventures a year in advance, which is something of a necessity if one is using frequent flyer points, or want to book a popular place and time at a reasonable rate. This time, without gainful employment, we jumped on a “last-minute” bargain, booking the 19-day holiday in less than two weeks.

It has been a harrowing experience. With time, one can order and pay for things in rational sequence, limiting risk: first visas, then flights, then accommodation, then everything else. Without time, one hands out credit card details to anyone who asks, then prays for divine intervention. Having paid for the entire trip but not yet having received our Vietnamese visas, we spent a morning in absolute panic when we re-read the visa application instructions to realise they wouldn’t accept the personal cheque we had sent. World-class bickering and recriminations followed. Continue reading 02. Last Minute Minutia

01. Saving Face

  1. 01. Saving Face
  2. 02. Authentic Beijing
  3. 03. Great Men and Spoilt Brats
  4. 04. Great Walls of Ire
  5. 05. A Breath of Fresh Air
  6. 06. Luxury & Sexy
  7. 07. Hurt & Seoul
  8. 08. My Korean Family
  9. 09. Trafficking in Manila
  10. 10. Paradise Last
  11. 11. Something for Nothing
  12. 12. Getting In and Getting Out

Getting a Chinese visa can be something of a bureaucratic nightmare, although in recent years they have streamlined the process considerably. Their application is one of the few government forms on which I hesitate to lie, given that particular government’s propensity to use bullets now and send the bill later. Anywhere else I enter my occupation with the highly innocuous descriptor “accountant”, even though I couldn’t be called an accountant with any accuracy since, well, ever. But on my China visa application I honestly and not without irony entered “public servant”, and where required, checked the “government official” box, too.

Departing Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, I was unprepared for the Aussie Customs and Immigration official to quiz me on this, especially at six in the morning, before I had had my second cuppa. “What agency are you with?” he asked with some jocularity.

I stared at him blankly. “Huh?”
Continue reading 01. Saving Face