All visitors within 24 hours of arrival must appear at the local police station. The Chinese government likes to know where all people are at all times. I have to do it once a month until I have my permanent residence permit. Anders didn’t have to do it because they take care of it at hotels as a service for their guests. I did not go alone, we had a driver, a representative of the apartment complex, and a representative from our relocation company.
If I hadn’t been taken there or if I had an emergency I never would have found the place. The entrance was around back of what looked like a store front, up the back steps, and into an open office. The first thing that hit me was the smell of onions cooking . The second thing I noticed was the complete lack of anything police-like. Yep, not a one in sight just 4 office workers. I was very graciously ushered to a child’s small plastic red stool. Nothing fancy here. I sat there for about an hour while it took 4 people to print out my permit and Anders’. One thing you have to get over and get over it real fast is that everyone and his brother is interested in your passport. Within the first 3 days of arrival I’m fairly certain that about 100 people have seen, touched, and/or copied it. After much talking back and forth (I said not a word, just smiled a lot) and one signature from me we were free to leave. Oh yes, between 5 of us we managed to leave without Anders passport! We got halfway down the back steps when one of the women came running after us to return it. I just figured that someone wanted to take it home to show their family. They could then pass it around the neighborhood where it could be seen, touched, and/or copied by one and all. I’m sure it’s legal.
FInal thoughts on the Police Station:
About halfway through someone started cooking lunch in the back room, it was time to do something with those onions I smelled when I first walked in. I smelled the wok heating up and the heard the food going into the nice hot oil. It smelled heavenly but alas they did not offer me any.
A policeman did come into the office after about 40 minutes where he promptly sat down and read the paper. No APBs, no donuts, no guns, just some staring at me occasionally.
They must only manufacture fine point writing instruments in this country. The girl who filled out my paperwork did a lot of writing in Chinese characters. It’s beautiful but man is it intricate. One must only use fine point pens or it looks like a Rorschach inkblot.
So when you come for a visit you too will be ushered to the pseudo police station, sit on a kiddie stool, drool over the fantastic lunch they’re going to enjoy without you, get stared at by a police officer, and walk out knowing that the Chinese government has tabs on you.
4:45 PM – 90 degrees (still haven’t attempted to find the degree symbol and quite frankly I don’t think I will)