Tenwest Mandarin School

User profile: bochi

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  • RegisteredMay 15, 2009
  • RegionChina
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  • RegisteredMay 15, 2009

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Forums > Travel Yunnan > Indian Visa

The closest place from Kunming to get an India visa is Hanoi. You can get there by bus and train. The India consulate there is friendly and helpful. Remember your 6 month tourist visa starts when it is granted, not when you arrive in India.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Proving you're single!

When I got married here in China I went to the consulate in Chengdu and got a 'Certificate of Marriageability'. You need a divorce decree, death certificate, or swear you have never been married.

When I returned to Dali an idiot bureaucrat refused to accept it because the consulate put their official stamp on the original document and not on the translation that the consulate provided. She wanted me to go back to Chengdu! I called the consulate and they called the recalcitrant official and somehow got her to accept the document.

It would seem that this document should be proof that you are in fact single, but don't count on it!

Forums > Living in Kunming > Beware US Consulate Chengdu

There are many beautiful and welcoming countries in this world. The USA doesn't happen to be one of them. I'm an American living in Kunming for several year and know for a fact that there is no way I could get my Chinese wife a visa to visit the US with me.
On the other hand I have found the consulate in Chengdu to be very helpful. They renewed my US passport by mail and helped with the papers I needed to get married. But on this issue, forget it! Why do you think the Chinese charge Americans $100 more for our visas than all other nationals?

Forums > Travel Yunnan > get from Hekou to Kunming

The return from Hanoi is a piece of cake. Very comfortable night sleeper train arrives in Lao Cai about 6AM. Time for breakfast and your last cup of good Vietnamese coffee. When the border opens there is time to cross and get the day bus to KM that leaves about 9:30 and gets into KM around 5PM.

For some reason all the travel blogs I have found recommend the sleeper bus from KM to Hekou. The problems with this I described in my last post. No one mentions being stuck in either Hekou or Lao Cai for 12 hours. Or take the bone breaker day train. It was kind of interesting though as it is the cheapest and was filled with Vietnamese peasants. If it's your first contact with Vietnamese you notice how friendly they are sharing food and smiles. Then you arrive in Hanoi feeling like a truck ran over you!

Forums > Travel Yunnan > get from Hekou to Kunming

Last December I took the night sleeper bus to Hekou. While I was sleeping I was ripped off for 3000 RMB which was in my shoulder bag under my blanket. I was lucky as they could have taken the whole bag with my passport, camera etc., but they just wanted the cash. This bus is known to be plagued with thieves, so watch out!

The other problem with this night bus is that it arrives in Hekou at 5AM and you have to wait 2 hours to cross into Lao Cai. And once in Lao Cai the only day train to Hanoi takes about 12 hours and has only hard seats.

The comfortable night sleeper trains leave after 8PM arrives in Hanoi in the morning. So if you want to wait for the night train to Hanoi you will be stuck in Lao Cai for 12 hours! I took the hard seat day train and it was literally a pain in the ass.

OK, and this is my question. The first day bus from Kunming to Hekou leaves at 9:40 AM and is 'supposed' to arrive in Hekou at 5:40 PM China time. The border is supposed to close at 6 PM. If there is time to cross the border this would be ideal as there would only be a short wait for the night train into Hanoi. If you miss the border crossing than you're stuck in Hekou. Has anyone done this??

If you live in Kunming as I do, then you know that it's impossible to get reliable information about anything. And why would they schedule a morning departure to Hekou that would arrive too late to cross into VN? Only possible answer would be perversity!


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Several months ago I moved from Kunming to Xiamen. One of the things I miss most about KM are the video stores. There are none in Xiamen.

Unfortunately the local authorities here seem to have bought into the 'intellectual property rights' scam. In KM there must be thousands of stores where you can buy 'value added' DVD's. By value added I mean that the foreign movies almost always have Chinese subtitles and the Chinese movies have English subtitles. The quality is usually excellent and often have copy protection and obnoxious FBI 'warnings'.

Since there are no alternatives as the 'genuine' DVD would cost a prohibitive 100 RMB or more, this business just ceases to exist, putting perhaps thousands of small businesses and people out of work.

And so why is this? To obey the diktats of the big American entertainment monopolies like the MPAA & RIAA. So how does anyone benefit from this? The answer is no one benefits! I hope Kunming keeps their DVD shops open.

Re the Apple stores. We have them here too. So the same question could be asked. If the products they are selling are genuine and they can get warranty service, what's the problem? Doesn't Steve Jobs have enough money? Maybe Birdabroad should mind her own business. That's what most Chinese people do!

As to the fake products mentioned in the article which may pose health hazards, they are not covered by the IPR rules and should be stopped.

OMG Five years ago I left the US largely to get away from right wing Christian nut jobs like these guys. I thought I had made my escape and here they are infiltrating the Yunnan school system. How could this have happened? Truly sad and disheartening!

I used to hang out with Arun often at the KM Hump bar. I was looking forward to seeing him again in Dali in a couple of weeks when I go back to get my visa renewed. He was a super cool guy and will surely be missed by all who knew him.

Namaste Brother Arun.


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