The flight was a long 12 hours but it was mostly smooth and the food was actually not half bad. We landed in Taipei ahead of schedule but any time saved was killed off (and more) by the Taipei immigration department.
Sarah needs a Visa to enter Taiwan because she is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. The Taiwan Republic of China and the People’s Republic don’t like each other too much. Each claims to own the other. It a lot like the disagreement between Quebec and rest of Canada, only taken to a much higher level.
The only way a citizen of China (Sarah is a U.S. Green Card holder but that doesn’t let you into Taiwan Visa free) can get a Taiwan Visa is to have a Taiwan company invite her and pay 100% of the cost, or she can be part of a “tour group”. This is where the politics comes in. Sarah got her Taiwan Visa by being part of a tour group, only she was the only person in the group.
We were given a photocopy of the Visa and told that it was good enough. When we got to Taiwan customs, they asked where Sarah’s entry Visa was. They wouldn’t accept the photocopy and when they looked up the Visa ID number, it didn’t show up in the system. A cell call back to Vancouver to the agent who help get the Visa told us that there should be an agent waiting at the exit holding a sign with Sarah’s name on it. The agent has her Visa.
Now comes the really big problem. Sarah cannot leave the customs area to get her Visa because she doesn’t have a Visa to enter Taiwan. The lady that is waiting at the exit can’t go into the custom area because it a secured part of the airport. If I go outside to find the lady, I can’t come back in! At this point I was thinking how stupid the situation was.
Finally, they got some EVA airline personals to go outside and look for the Visa lady. They never found her. It turns out that EVA airline was holding the Visa documents all alone and just forgot to tell anyone about it. We were stuck in customs for 90 minutes.
Our limo driver thought he lost us because we haven’t came out. He call the hotel and asked if I was there. The hotel calls my home cell number, which got routed back to Taipei, and asked where I was because the driver has been waiting and waiting.
Taiwan’s Visa system has to be one of the strangest I have ever encounter. At any rate, we finally made it out and our driver was very glad he didn’t miss us. Here’s a view of the Taipei skyline driving in from the airport.
Can you tell which building is the Taipei 101? We’re going to do some sightseeing today. It maybe 6PM back home but it’s 9AM in the morning here. Look for more pics from Taipei soon!
Back At Number one
In other news, I am back at the number one Google spot for “Make Money Online.” I will write a post on how I got back to the top spot later. For all those who wrote that it was the beginning of the end for John Chow dot Com.
You were wrong! 😈