Saturday, 22 November 2008

Where is your passport?

One of the rules here is that you travel with your passport at all times. Locally I do not, but I do have a photocopy of the important pages in the that I take when I am leaving the campus. So far I have not forgotten to take the "real" passport when I leave.

We have also just been issued with "identity cards" - no instructions, but again, I think we must carry them with us.

Yesterday being Friday was our usual night for dining out, but we had been out the night before, so I was less inclined to go again. So I decided to go to Carrefour Supermarket in the afternoon, do a little shopping and come home and stay home. Alone.

I had not heard my cellphone ring while in Carrefour but just after I climbed into the bus with my bag of goodies, I heard it ring. It was one of the teachers who had gone to Suzhou for the weekend. Two of them had gone together and surprisingly they had both forgotten their passports. As they were approaching their destination city, they knew that they could not book into their hotel without their passport. Suzhou is around 3 hours bus trip from Shaoxing, so they were quite panicked.

There was not much I could do on the bus, but I agreed to see what I could arrange - when I arrived back at the campus, which was at least 30 minutes away. While I was talking I must have dropped my good leather glove - I had one with me, but had taken the other off to answer the phone, and when the call finished I hunted everywhere for it. In my bags, on the seat, it was nowhere to be seen. I was a little annoyed.

As I was getting off the bus, I found it near the stairs. It must have fallen, or been brushed off my lap by a passenger going past me, and fallen. Anyway, I was pleased to pick it up!

I had to buy bananas on the way near the West Gate, so did so, and was soon in the apartment. I rang the teachers and got more details and then tried to contact the Director of International Exchange. By this time it was well after 5.30 pm, and I knew she would not be in her office, so I phoned her at home and related the story.

Fortunately her apartment is not far from her office and she was able to go to the office, find the copies of the passports and fax them to the hotel in Suzhou. But there were more phone calls. One of the passports did not come through clearly, so I had to recall her from her apartment again. Luckily I was just the "go-between" so she has no reason to be annoyed with me!

And so it appears that the teachers will be able to enjoy their weekend.

Here it is necessary to take one's passport with them to show the hotel. The PBS like to know where aliens/foreigners are. It can be quite a hassle if one loses their passport here. Always a good idea to have several photocopies of it.

I reasoned I was not "meant" to have gone out with the other three teachers - as I would not have been able to assist the ladies in Suzhou.

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