Well, went to the police station today for my visa extension and the bureaucracy was awful. Stood in line for getting forms that had to be filled out. Liu, Ruth's assistant was with me again. She speaks no English so couldn't help me much to interpret them, but I just signed my name and date wherever there was a blank. Then, stood in line again for a photo. The lighting is awful and I'm throwing that awful picture away as soon as I can. Another line for another official. She looked at all the documentation, including the bank passbook that showed I wouldn't be begging in the streets. After a bunch of china china chatter between her and Liu, I could tell by her set mouth and slowly blinking eyes that all was not well. Indeed, it wasn't. Seems the passbook was not enough to prove I had money. Out and to the bank. I thought I'd have to add more but found out they only wanted a different form of proof. The teller at the bank was every bit as young and dour as the first one had been. She had a childlike mouth, and, like a petulant child, she wouldn't give us the document without a lot of other chatter chatter and more documents. Then, from out of nowhere, a guy popped up behind her and said in good English, "to get the certificate you have to pay 20 yuan" and disappeared. Where was he before and where did he go? I gave her the money and she proceeded to stamp all the documents. She slammed that ink stamp down just as hard as the other one had. We walk the three blocks back to the police station. This time the line was even longer and we waited......and waited. When we again sat down with the official (they're all young girls; what's up with that?) she made me write down that I would be leaving the country before 30 days was up. She said that in English. B....tch.
The day ended on a fun note with a birthday party in Sue and Ken's room. All the Americans were there including the helpers. We had the cake, and all three helpers sang happy birthday in Chinese. Peter and Ken joined in. It was a lot of fun.