Friday, 29 January 2016

One gigantic list, slowly getting smaller!

This week has been spent in a contact state of motion.  We have lists coming out our ears of things to do so we've been steadily working through them before I head off to the Philippines on Monday, leaving poor ol Nick here to hold the fort!

We have lists of things to buy, things to organise for our fundraiser in Daejeon tomorrow, things to check on the bikes, things to ship home, things to sell, vaccinations to get, visas to organise, people to contact...and god knows what else.

Once I get back from the Philippines we'll have to go straight to the Chinese Embassy and apply for our visa.  With over 4000km to cover in China alone we want to get as long a visa as possible, preferably 90 days.  The embassy here is renowned for only issuing 30 day visas but another couple of cycle tourists, The Twisting Spokes, managed to secure themselves a three month visa so we're hopeful!

To apply, you have to have proof of entering and exiting the country (i.e. flight tickets), a detailed itinerary of where you intend on going, accommodation bookings for several of your destinations, as well as the usual application form and copies of your passport!  That's all grand except that we don't have flights, we plan on camping and therefore don't have accommodation booked and our route isn't one the Chinese authorities are mad about tourists taking!  So we've faked it.  All of it.  We have written out a detailed, but untrue, 85 day itinerary, we've booked accommodation along the way (that can be cancelled once we get the visa!) and we are looking into travel agents that will provisionally book us flights that can then be cancelled once the application has been completed!  All a bit of a rigmarole, but with the help of the Twisting Spokes - how they went about it, the itinerary they used etc - we're pretty hopeful that we'll get a 90 day visa.  Even a 60 day one would be grand because it's pretty easy to extend it once you're in the country.

The next hurdle then is figuring out how to ship home our road bikes.  After hours and hours of enquiring with various shipping and courier companies, it now looks like we can just take them to a normal post office and as long as the box they are in is less than 20kg it should be fine.  The girl Nick was talking to said it would cost ₩60,000 (about €45), which if it's true seems like a really good deal.  Now all we have to do is dissemble them, box them up and get them to the post office.

For now though, I'm off to wash, dry and de-tangle my hair one last time before it gets the chop tomorrow!  I have an envelope addressed and ready to go to a Cancer Charity here that I'll pop my pony tail into before the rest all gets buzzed off, turning me into a human tennis ball!  Photo's and hopefully a small snippet of video footage will be up here early next week.  I'm just glad I'll be on a beach somewhere and won't have to see them!