Across Continents

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Never to yield

I’d seen China. Now half way across Asia, I knew I really could do this, reach Hong Kong and complete another continent. Then onwards, Australia, the Americas, Africa, and home. Not that I ever seriously doubted this, just the sudden realisation that if I kept going as I’d done so far, success must surely follow. I’d felt both tested and strengthened by Kazakhstan, the fearsome heat of the Steppe, the mountain passes and open plains in the east.

But first I needed a fresh Chinese visa, and soon, before my Kazakhstan one expired in less than three weeks. And that needed a plan. The first part would be simple enough. I’d need to return to Almaty, the former Capital and still home to a Chinese Consulate. Whether they’d be prepared to issue me a new visa was unclear. I wasn’t a resident, a requirement, officially at least. But perhaps the Consul could be persuaded of the unusual circumstances of my situation, and might be able to apply a little discretion.

If a fresh Chinese visa wasn’t possible in Almaty, I, or my passport at least, would have to go elsewhere, to another country with a greater prospect of success. And, ideally, I wanted a visa for sixty days duration, rather than the usual thirty days. It’s a big country. An added complication was that my Kazakhstan visa would expire in less than three weeks, and overstaying was out of the question. And I’d insufficient grounds for an extension to my existing visa.

Tot up time spent sending my passport by courier to and from a reputable visa agent abroad, processing of your application, returning to the border, an allowance for the unexpected and you quickly get close to the end of my Kazakhstan visa, little margin for error. Lots to think about. Quickly.

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