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[Written approximately 1982-09-08 while in Japan. Transcribed 2002-10-03, Santa Cruz, CA. Of course all of this information is out of date now and travel to China is pretty ordinary these days.]
Did I mention before that there are two trains each week from Moscow to BEIJING. The faster train turns south soon after Irkutsk, going through Ulan Bator, Mongolia, about a six day journey. The second train goes around the east end of Mongolia directly from Russia to China, with a connection to Pyongyang, North Korea. To Beijing takes seven days on this train.
The Mongolian Embassy in Budapest would have given me a transit visa immediately upon presentation of RUSSIAN and China Visas and the train ticket.
CHINA visa are a different matter altogether. I don't know much about it, but it seemed that in Europe it would not be easy to get any kind of visa for China.
But here in Tokyo I have learned about China possibilities that seem amazing. So amazing that they will probably end soon. In HONG KONG, travelers are obtaining visas through the "TRAVELERS YOUTH HOSTEL" in a matter of a few days. What seems to be happening is that this HOSTEL takes a bunch of individual passports and applies for a group visa for them all. But the individuals get their passports back with a valid Tourist visa for 2 or 3 weeks and certain cities authorized. The travelers then enter China on their own, and inside China they can extend their short visas and have more cities authorized to visit. Some are staying in China many months and finding that they can get everywhere, including TIBET. They stay at the same Hotels that the normal travel groups are staying but at a fraction of the price. One guy described to me about hitchiking around TIBET for 5 weeks and living quite well on about 10 dollars per day. He said that when he met the normal travel groups he found that these people had paid 100 dollars or more per day to see TIBET and they were, of course, a bit upset to see this long-haired kid hitchiking around TIBET when they were told that the only possible way to visit that part of the world was with this tour. But, as I have found in my travels, it is possible to go anywhere, even ALBANIA. One needs simply to search out the information of how to do it, the other travelers know how it is done. But it seems that China is trying to close up this open door so in the future there will be a different way to do it.
For example, these various offices in China that were extending these VISAS were doing it because they didn't know exactly the rules and were simply extending and authorizing any reasonable request. These offices are being found and closed by the authorities, so it becomes more difficult to find the right office.
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