I overstayed my visa. This was my fault of course. You see, I thought that I had given my passport to Haga’s coworker to process, but it didn’t get processed due to a miscommunication. I also thought I requested a longer stay period when I applied for the visa. That didn’t happen either. Haga’s coworker told me to go to the downtown police station (where visa issues are handled). She said it would probably not be very expensive.
I went to the station.
Side Taxi story: the taxi driver told me that people of the Chinese calendar year of ‘Dog’ who also have type ‘A’ blood tend to be have fits of introversion “like I think you do”; this is unlike most people of type ‘A’ blood, who tend to be talkative. This, according to the driver, is based on 5000 years of Chinese scientific observation)
So I went to the station. I went to a small room in the back with too of Shanghai’s finest sitting behind a (bulletproof?) glass screen. The room was brightly lit with florescent lights, so I could see mold and cracks on the industrial white painted walls. The officer told me my fine would be 5000 RMB (about 600 dollars). I went into a fit of introversion…which is lucky because if I was talkative at that moment, my relationship with the Shanghai police would have suffered.
So I called up Haga. Unfortunately, I expressed some of my anger to her. I bad-mouthed her co-workers and I acted like an ass.
Haga, however, kept her head straight. She asked her coworker for help. The coworker asked the office cleaning lady/ food orderer. She asked her uncle. The uncle asked his childhood friend – the district Chief of Police. He asked the Man in the brightly lit dingy room to compromise. Haga’s coworker called me said perhaps I was too sick over the last month to notice the need to handle the visa requirement. I relayed this information to the Man, who said that, given the circumstances, it would be OK for me to pay 2500 RMB.
Later, Haga negotiated with her company to have them take care of this fee.
The moral of this story is that I have to develop my relationship network here in China (and elsewhere) to succeed. I never really tried to actively develop a network of acquaintances. Without a strong network, you really cant get anything done here. But this is going to be a slow process.
The other moral is that Haga is great and I probably don’t deserve to be with her. But I knew this from the first day I met her.