I have the 25$ prepared. The visa was supposed to be 50$ but they just sliced to 25$ in November. Ten minutes to apply online and two days later I got an email to print and show at the airport. I gave it to a guy in the military uniform and now he calls me. He hands me my passport with the visa and says: “It is free for you”. He wasn’t interested to explain.
It was also free for the russian girl next to me. We shared a taxi and paid 1,5$ each. She said it was expensive. I still have the memory of paying 70$ from airport to hotel in Washington DC.
As I arrive, the young owner of the hostel and her mom work on a shoes drawer. They are nice, they seem happy in general and also happy to see me. Everything is clean, there is AC, huge bathroom that I share with only 4 people, lockers twice as big as the ones from last hostel, with keys included, free breakfast, free tea, free bananas and free candy for 6$/night. China was “the vegetarian’s nightmare”. I was relieved to find a vegetarian restaurant close to the hostel. The food was delicious, I ate like a king and paid 1$.
Four days and four trips to two different shops was my reference for getting a SIM (in India). In US it would have been 40$ so I passed. Did not even tried in China. I was prepared to invest a couple of hours and I asked my cheerful vietnamese host for directions. She comes with me across the street and 10 minutes later I have 12GB of mobile internet for 6$, already working on my phone.
Everything I want seems to be easy, cheap and good here. People are helpful and smile a lot. Now I can catch up with my writing. My head explodes with things I want to write about … some important and some just like this one :-)