Cycling 12,000 miles from Lisbon to Shanghai
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Day 198 (12/1/10) – Tashkent

We check our email and are relieved to find an email from the Chinese visa services in London saying that as long as we don’t leave the airport, we won’t need a transit visa for China. Result!

We then head up to the massive Chorsu Bazar for a bit of a wander around before heading back into town.

After lunch we hit the internet café again and then the proverbial hits the fan! I have an email (finally) from saying they think we do need a visa but we should check with the airline. We ring China Southern Airlines who tell us they have no idea and we have to speak to the Chinese consulate. I ring the Chinese visa services to just get confirmation and they now explain that it is a bit more complicated than the email response I had. It depends on how the flight operates. If we have to leave the international transfer area, we need a visa but if we don’t have to leave this area, we will be fine. Therefore the airline are the only people who can tell us! Back to China Southern to be told they are not sure. Great! A quality airline that doesn’t even know pretty basic details about their own flight!

We decide we can’t risk it and head round to the Chinese Embassy to try to beg a visa. It is closed and there is no answer to the bell. A sign says it is only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Fantastic. We will have to come back tomorrow and with our flight leaving the day after it is not looking likely we will get the visa in time.

We decide to head out to the airport to see if we can find any China Southern staff there to ask about visas (as they have to know what is required before checking people in) but this proves to be another waste of time.