Landed in San Francisco with my passport and EVERY document I thought we might possibly need to show in the event that they questioned whether I needed the visa immediately or in a day or two.
Ate breakfast (and got lunch) at Starbucks at 3am in the Seattle airport. $15
Alaska Air safely delivered me to SF. $210
Took my first cab trip (by myself) to the consulate. $40
Ordered my visa with rush status. $170
Took my first bus ride on the BART system. $2
Took BART to the airport. $8
Ate dinner in the airport. $12
Flew Virgin Air (with my own personal tv) back to Seattle. $206
Paid for Seattle parking. $28
Learned many lessons... including that people are VERY kind when you need help... including the bus driver. I always seemed to have some college student or 20-something helping me get where I needed to go.
In the end, this mistake cost us about $700. Would I do it again? If I knew that it meant the difference of holding our little princess in our arms or not.
MORAL: Get your passport stamped for the country you are traveling to at minimum a couple weeks before you go. You can Fed-Ex your passport and info. to a carrier and they walk it in to the consulate. There were several carriers, and they all seemed to be well known.
The Chinese consulate in San Francisco can give you your rushed visa the same day if you have your paperwork processed between 9am and 11:15am. You will get it back in your hands by 2:30pm whether you go in at 9am or 11am. Don't go on Mondays.
It was an amazing race! I felt like I had won the price!
Thank you Jesus for watching over me and getting me back to Seattle in time to fly with my husband to China.