I´m going to Russia in October. 1 week first in Moscow then in Novosibirsk. Yes, SIBERIA. Anyone who knows me, know that I don´t handle the cold very well. Let´s just say that Siberia is not the ideal place to go to if you don´t handle the cold very well.
Why I go?
Because it´s one of the few places I´ve never been to with my work. I try to travel internationally more rarely these days, unless I go for leisure, since the stress that travel brings is less and less worth it, but I still find it hard to turn down new places.
What will I be doing in Siberia?
Teaching spinning and yoga (+ a yoga & pregnancy workshop).
Anyway, the reason I tell you this, is the fact that you need a Visa to go to Russia. Off I go to the Russian Consulate here in Gothenburg. (Luckily, I´ve been once before so the strange procedure doesn´t surprise me.)
Here is a quick 10-step guide on how to get a Russian Visa:
1. You queue.
2. You get served by a Russian man who probably hasn´t smiled for the last century or so. (Actually I believe he had fangs...). He looks at your papers. He then repeats what date you are to arrive and leave Russia and says (in a very scary, robotic way): "Visa will be ready September 23. Next Wednesday. Now you go to cashier, give note, go to bank across the road, come back to show reciept of payment."
3. You take two steps to the left to another hole in the wall.
4. Inside the black bunker of a room, a woman (at least I think it´s a woman, the room is so dark and so badly lit) pulls your papers through one of these bank teller´s "draw boxes", which seems odd since there is no cash involved. Maybe they´re just afraid of germs?
5. Woman person gives back a pay slip.
6. You take the pay slip, leave the consulate to walk across the road to the bank.
7. You queue in the bank.
8. You pay the Visa fee + the banks extortionate fee of 65SEK (it´s "MY" bloody bank and I STILL have to pay!)
9. You walk back to the Russian Consulate.
10. You hand in the receipt from the bank to the Woman Person in the dark, little room.
Excuse me? It is 2008. That´s all I´m saying.