Lock, stock and China

Saturday – Garage sale

The living room
Lots of leftover flotsam and jetsam

This was a big success. I wanted to let go most of my things but I didn’t want to just throw them away, I wanted other people to use them and reuse them so I set up everything I wanted to leave behind in my living room and invited the whole building and all my facebook contacts in Paris to come and choose and pay whatever price they wanted to leave with my things. I enrolled the help of 2 wonderful ladies, Alice and Renae so that at times I could sneak out and start loading the truck I had rented to move the things I wanted to keep into Caro’s basement. What I didn’t count on was that Renae would bring along Léo (I should have suspected it though). Léo instantly felt that he had a mission that day: to sell all of my things at the right price and he instantly took over the management of the garage sale. It was pretty funny seeing him become the manager of his own bazaar, he was obviously having a lot of fun and there was no reason to stop him. He was just great and I had time to load the truck with Cleber, Dan, Florian, Khaled and Salim. Still at the end of the day all the big stuff was gone and a lot of the small things too but now I have a lot of work to remove everything.

Sunday – The move

Me and my sfuff
My life now fits in 6 cubic meters

I woke up early to take care of the big mess in my room, and I didn’t. To say that I did nothing would be unfair, I prepared all the soft luggage containing most of the clothes that I won’t wear anymore in the coming week and put them all outside while I waited for my friends to come so that we could set off to Caro’s. Little by little they came, except Salim who was exempted on account of a sort of intoxication and Khaled who was still sleeping on account of another kind of intoxication. Lucky I had called for backup and that Cleber was nice enough to stay and help when he had only come to pick up some stuff from the garage sale he couldn’t carry with him on Saturday. With the full team assembled, the Avengers set off: Adrian, Cleber, Dan, Renán, Santi and yours truly left Paris around eleven to move my most cherished things into a basement. Nothing left to say except that it all went well, my stuff fit alright in the basement with a lot of leftover space for the owner to still keep some stuff.

Monday and Tuesday – China welcomes me

Despite all that I had left to do in the apartment, the most important thing today was something else. After the LOI, it was time to pay a visit to the “China Visa Application Service Center“. A bit nervous about the whole thing, I went up the stairs and asked for a form and started to fill it when my number was called. Oh my! They are already calling me and my form is almost completely empty. “Never you mind, this is not the US embassy, we are not here to humiliate you, just go fill the form over there and come back when you are ready”, the smile of the lady behind the counter seemed to say. And so I did, came back and then the dreaded question came “your plane ticket, please”. No, you see, I arrive by the road… Oh, just wait. [phone call] Ok, go to counter 15. On my way! To the journalists counter! Now I was nervous, I had just been sent to the same counter as the journalists, what am I going to do? What will they ask me? A statement from my insurer actually, that was the only thing :D. And all is well that ends well, today I went to pick it up, here’s a photo.

Passport picture
My Chinese visa!

PS: Yes, 1 day, I was so impatient I paid for the express treatment.

PPS: I also received confirmation of the apartment checkout date: June 25th, Monday. Now I have a definitive departure date, I leave on Monday right after the apartment inspection. It’s ON!!!

Paris, Île-de-France, France

Finally, the LOI

It’s been a tough wait but I’ve finally received my LOI for China. Now I can plan my departure accordingly. I have an appointment with the visa office on Monday so, depending on the apartment checkout date, the most probable departure date now is Friday the 22nd when I’ll go camp with the Couchsurfers one last time and then leave directly from the forest. It seems fitting to leave from a camp :-).
Here is the happy email I received today 😀

Email with LOI
Happy email from Ms Liu

Aulnay-sous-Bois, Île-de-France, France

Kyrgyz Brussels

Here I am, in a city I don’t know and I have looked at Google maps for directions and even saved a few screen caps of what I should do to get where I want to be. And yet, the urge to improvise is strong and I take the bus in the opposite direction. That’s me, I do the opposite of what clear instructions tell me. Good one.

But what am I doing in Brussels? Well, this is part of the pre-trip paperwork and training. I decided to put all together in one trip to save time and lose money. One of the goals was intended, the other one was achieved by simply missing my train this morning and having to buy a new last-minute ticket or otherwise the whole planning would fall apart.

Today is the day I apply for my Kyrgyz visa, the last one before the Chinese visa for which I don’t yet have the necessary papers. So I arrived to Brussels quite early after arriving from Mexico yesterday and sleeping only 2 hours last night, thank you jet lag. Once I had properly fed my improvisation demon, I took the right bus and got to the consulate quite easily. Only to get sent to the bank where I was of course sent back to the consulate without achieving anything else than profuse sweating. No swearing though.

When I got back to the consulate, the Sikh that was on the same bus as me told me that I should pay at the post office but he didn’t know where there was one. Some other guy who was sitting there waiting just paid the guy behind the counter. And so did I.

Now I’m in London writing this post, with no passport and no receipt. I just hope that next Monday they will remember my face and give me back my passport…

London, England, United Kingdom