A Visit to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong

Thursday, 20-11-2014. Day 92.

A Little Bit of Business, A Little Bit of Fun

The Business

Our big task of the day was to get to the U.S. Consulate for our 10:45 a.m. appointment. We had to get a document notarized that would then allow us to have copies of the girls' birth certificates released so we could have them sent to some friends so we could then have them sent to us electronically which would allow us to get our visas for China. There's a whole (long) story behind this quest we'll tell later, but for now, we'll just talk about this portion.

We walked down to the taxi stand and got into a waiting taxi. We told the driver where we wanted to go and he said, no, he's going the other way. It didn't look like he was going anywhere, actually, but whatever. Sarah (our friend from Sai Kung) had told us about how obstinate some taxi drivers can be, and we were experiencing it firsthand.

Taxis in Hong Kong serve at their convenience.

Taxis in Hong Kong serve at their convenience.

So after refusing to give us a ride, this guy directed us to a different taxi stand around the corner and down the road. We walked over that way and got in line (we were the third group), and waited as no taxis at all showed up. We couldn't miss this appointment, which we'd made six days earlier as we left Bali (we had tried to make an appointment in Singapore, but there were no slots available). It seemed the available notary openings at the U.S. Consulate filled up quickly, and this was our last opportunity to get the document notarized in time to get the birth certificates before we went to Japan.

So we considered abandoning this taxi stand and going back to the other stand when I managed to wave an errant taxi down who kindly agreed to take us to the U.S. Consulate.

So the short versions is that after waiting only an hour, we got our document notarized. We went back to the hotel, had it scanned in and faxed (yeah, faxed—let me give a shout-out to HelloFax here, without whom this would have been a much bigger pain) back to California. And that left us hoping that a document notarized in Hong Kong would be accepted by an agency in California.

The Fun

The most stressful part of the day was over, and we'd built up a powerful hunger in the process. So we walked down to Texas Burger, an Western-style burger joint in the Tin Hau region. It had been some time since we'd had a proper burger on this trip, and this place did the trick (read our full Texas Burger review on Yelp).

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After lunch we walked around a little bit, checking out some cute things in the area, but we didn't really do much the rest of the afternoon.

Cute thing: a bus with hearts.

Cute thing: a bus with hearts.

When early evening rolled around, it was time to meet my friend Jason, who runs the Picharpak Workshop and who makes the excellent Yasutomo 2020 Wa-Ben Cuben Fiber wallet. We'd only ever talked over the Internet, and I was keen on meeting him in person. We arranged to hook up in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), which was an area in Kowloon (I think), and that meant we had to take the subway.

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Jason told us that the trains would be busy at 6:00 p.m., so we left at 5:30 p.m., just in case. We expected it to take half an hour, but it only took 15 minutes because we caught each of our trains as they pulled into the station and the weren't too packed yet (we heard later that during certain times of the day, it's not unusual to wait for six trains before you can get one).

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So we arrived in TST well over an hour before we had to meet Jason, so we explored iSquare Mall, which is a tall, narrow building with a few stores on each floor and a lot of crisscrossing escalators.

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After knocking around iSquare for an hour or so (a lot of that time was spent in a store called Log-On), we met Jason and his family, and they treated us to dinner at Chuk Yuen Seafood. We had a great time talking about travel, Hong Kong, business, raising kids, and Chinese food.

Jason was kind enough to bring us a gift package of bags and other goodies from his Picharpak Workshop, including four L Tags, the best luggage tags ever. I also bought another wallet from him

At the end of the night, we got back on the subway and headed back towards Tin Hau station and the hotel.

is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. He also drinks coffee.

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A Visit to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong
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