So a few years back, I was heavy into Shaolin Kung Fu, some of you may remember… Well the Summer of 2002 I went to China and studied at the original Shaolin temple for a short while. It all started about mid 2001 well before 9/11, I had to get my passport, a visa for China, and the funds to get there. It was an honor even to be asked to go by my Sifu, Shi De Shan.
Passport required getting a very specific photo and the required forms. I also had to get my birth certificate. So going back even further. My birth certificate does not match my real name currently. I had my last name changed at the age of 17 to that my of step-father, just about a year before he passed away. So I had to get these legal docs or at least copies of them as well. So name-change docs, birth cert, and current legal ID in hand I was able to get my passport which takes a while to be sent to you as well.
Chinese VISA not as much work as the passport, but still required going to the Chinese consulate, requesting the forms and giving reason for entry. Filled out the forms and waited for approval. Approval also took at least a few days. I remember the consulate was very intimidating. Lots of guards, and THICK glass.
Funds well I had to take a loan from a friend at the last moment, since I had been through a layoff about a month before the trip, but after I had already paid for it. I flipped a coin and it said I should still go to China, so i put my trust into the fate and went along for the ride.
I will write more about the trip, the fun, the food, the crazy stuff later.