Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What a Pain!

Well, things are slacking up a bit. Just about have all the work caught up. Just have to propose an agenda for the Beijing sessions. The client set the agenda for the Chicago sessions last week and the post mortem is that we didn't make full use of the time, so now I get to drive.

It is a major hassle getting a visa for business travel to China. In my case I had to have the client have the People's Republic officially invite me to come for a visit. You need this "invitation" before you even apply for the visa. Evidently, when the U.S. made it so difficult to get into the U.S. a while back the Chinese got payback by making Houston the only consulate that can issue business visas. This, in turn, makes for a very profitable business for a company there. You have to pay them a lot of money(especially if it is short notice) to be the go between and get your visa. I don't have the final tally yet but every indication is that it will be on the dark side of half a grand.

Speaking of money...have you priced a business class ticket to Beijing from Atlanta lately? I am still researching but so far it looks like about ten grand is the going price. I have, in fact, purchased a refundable ticket at that price but hope to do better tomorrow as I have now been granted access to the client's travel agency. Since they will eventually wind up paying for it they saw the wisdom in such access. I hope to be able to shave a couple of grand off but we'll see. I actually use American Express Corporate Travel and they can usually find the best fares but in this case the client is a major global electronics company with large operations in China so maybe they have some swing. It is interesting that regardless of which way you go the fare is identical. The reservation I have is from Atlanta to Newark to Beijing but I could fly from Atlanta to Paris to Beijing for exactly the same price even though the eastern route appears a little further. Just another mystery.

Long day and it is now beddy bye. See yous' guys on the other side.

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