Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 New Year Resolutions Review

The year comes to a close and it is time to see what happened to my New Year Resolutions.

Yoga Everyday

Well, this didn't go so well. Overall I managed about every second day, though I have done most of it in the first half of the year. But it turned into a habit now, so I tend to do it a few times a week.

Cycling Mini Adventures 

I managed to do quite a few and had fun doing them.

Draw something every day

This turned out to be pretty much a failure. While it was going good at the beginning of the year I just gave up after a while. It was just impossible to find the time or inspiration to draw.

Blog once a month

Nearly...this should be number 11 for the year.

12 Books

It was a difficult start, but then I found some easy to read thriller series and space operas and ended up reading 23 books.

Some more goals ... 

During the year I picked up a few more smaller goals and habits where I have been more or less successful.

I had the cycling goal of reach 8000km for the year and achieve all Strava Climbing and Gran Fondo challenges. But an illness in December made this impossible. So I just got 11 of the 12.

I also started to do Vegetarian Mondays with a 64% success rate. I found it difficult when traveling or when there were social events.

I worked on my Spanish with Duolingo for most of the year and finished all the lessons. You have to keep it up though so you don't loose it again.

And I reached my goal weight. The remaining fat has somehow to be replaced by muscles.

Of to the next year...

I haven't quite decided on anything yet, but I definitely take it a lot more easy :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shanghai 144 hour transit visa

Short tip this time, just to confirm to anyone googling for the 144 hour transit visa for Shanghai that it really works.

I have just been to Shanghai using the 144 hour transit visa. My trip was from Barcelona via Dubai to Shanghai and finally Manila.

You can find more information on the net, but this is how it basically works:

  • you can stay only 144 hours (there are some rules on when these begin and end)
  • it has to be transit, you can't just return to your origin after the visit. you have to go to a third country (Hong Kong doesn't count either)
  • you have to use one of the two main airports  in Shanghai, you can't just use any odd border (I think there is a port option too)
  • it doesn't cost anything
  • you have to have a passport from certain countries Europe/Schengen and USA are fine for example  

The main problem of the transit visa is that nobody knows about it. The Chinese consulate here had no idea and the Emirates staff also had not heard about it.

It is best to bring a printout of your flight tickets to Shanghai and continuing to the next country, plus a printout of the the hotel you are using in Shanghai.

When you do the check in at your point of origin the airline staff will ask you for your visa, which obviously you don't have. If you then say transit ticket they might insist that it is only for 24h, you will just have to convince them.

Once you land in Shanghai it is much easier, there is a special queue just for the 144 hour (and 72 hour) transit visa. In my case it was just about ten people, but it still took about an hour to process. Mainly because most of those people didn't full fill the requirement of the visa and were for example travelling back to the country of origin and not a third country.
As I had everything correct and the printouts ready it only took about two minutes and I was in Shanghai.

Leaving is equally quick, no hassle at all. Again for the check in at the airline desk you might want to have the printouts of any following flights, depending on where you are going.

In summary: a very nice visa and a good idea, but it has to be wider published to be really easy to use