So we checked out on the local resort map. Like many foreign language maps in china, locations ranged from inaccurate to non-existent. Still, there was totally a police station there as the hostel staff had heard people talk about it, they’d never been themselves though. Why would there be any need to? No crime in this (fiberglass) paradise! We did find a road sign pointing to the police station, but it just vaguely indicated the general direction which didn’t help when we came to a fork in the road.
The station turned out to be a tiny building at the base of a cliff with 5 cops inside. I know it’s generally bad form to go to another country without learning the lingo, but hey, Mandarin is hard and we were getting by with hand gestures and a few popular words. Sadly there was nothing in our phrase book to help ask for the pink temporary residency form. After a few moments of polite bemusement they decided that an actual crime hadn’t occurred and took us round to the main police precinct which was not marked on the map.
The island precinct was significantly nicer than the other, err, island precinct. The larger was much more functional whereas the smaller Gulangyu one was nestled amongst trees and shrubs up a curving path. Our hopes were raised when we were led to an office with “registration for temporary foreign residents”. If you thought our journey was over by this point, prepare to be surprised.
To be continued…