Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Inadvertent Stay at the Intercontinental in Hong Kong

I really had no intention of staying more than a day in Hong Kong, but when I got to the airport, they wouldn’t let me get onto the plane to Vietnam because I did not have a Visa.  Unlike most countries where you get your Visa upon arrival, Vietnam requires a visa prior to departure.  For some reason I missed the memo when I read my Lonely Planet.  I read the part about the Yellow Fever shot required if coming in from a Yellow Fever Country, i.e. Laos or Cambodia, but missed the Visa part.  So I booked one more night in Hong Kong at the Intercontinental and took a shuttle back into the city.  FYI, I didn't stay at the famous Intercontinental, I stayed at the other one.  It was nice, but the Hotel Nikko experience was better.  However, the good part about staying at a nice hotel in a foreign country is that the concierge will call the American Embassy for you, find out what time they open, and help you plan the best strategy to get there a half an hour early.

So I hung out in Hong Kong for one more night, which wasn't so bad, and the next morning I headed to the US Embassy.

Ironically, no one working at the door of the US Embassy speaks English.  But, it all worked out.  One of the officers working in the front let me use his personal cell phone to call the US Embassy Hotline so I could find out how to get a Vietnamese Visa.  That person told me that I had to go to the Vietnamese Embassy.  Once I was at the correct Embassy, the sweet people of Vietnam issued me a visa in 15 minutes and I was allowed to fly out and spend the next 30 days there.

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