Finally, Visa Success

I went back to the Vietnam embassy for the third time in three days and, incredibly, it was open. I got the visa. I love getting new visas and stamps in my passport. It’s like getting a new badge when you’re a cub scout – except you don’t have to wait two years for your mother to stitch it on.

One of the worst things about the EU and borderless Europe is that you don’t get passport stamps anymore. I went to Switzerland last year but all I have to show for it is memories. I won’t get a stamp when I go to North Korea – apparently they only stamp your group visa.

After getting the passport back, I got it scanned and emailed it to the North Korea travel agent. Then I went to the train ticket office to book a sleeper to Dalian, for Tuesday night. Dalian has the reputation of being one of the best places to live in mainland China – wealthy, clean and developed – and it’s just a few hours away from Dandong, where I’ll get the train to Pyongyang. I’m primarily going there because they have a youth hostel on a boat.

My productive day ended with Chris helping me to send my belongings to the UK. We went to the post office where his mother works, which is not far from my home. It took an hour to send the parcels – so much paperwork to fill in – and it cost £90 to send around 30kg. It was expensive but at least it’s done. Thanks, Chris!


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