Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Don't Speak Russian

I will be adding "Getting a Russian Visa" to the list of Things I Never Want To Do Again. (Also on this list are "Snowshoeing", "Drinking Jagermeister", and "Hitchhiking in the Rocky Mountains".)

My first trip to the Russian embassy resulted in slight panic as a crowded room full of angry Russians was just a little disconcerting and they kept calling out numbers in Russian. I don't speak Russian. So I just guessed when it was my turn to face the Russian official who I had just watched turn away several people with the exact same forms I was clutching with a fierce "Nyet!" After an hour in this mayhem I was lucky enough to hear, "Okay. I give you visa today." Except that I didn't actually get my visa that day.

Then the TTC was partly to blame for my frustration. My receipt said to pick up the visa from the embassy between 4-5pm yesterday. No subway? No problem. Except that it was 42°C on the day the TTC workers decided they didn't feel like working. I walked 40 minutes there in the 42°C heat only to find the embassy closed and had to walk 40 minutes back. Today you cannot see my feet from the blisters on them (usually on the first sandal day of the summer season I am not trekking in swamp-like conditions). So I return to the embassy today and wait in an unairconditioned room (44°C this afternoon) for an hour and a half and finally got my visa. Doesn't it look all scary and official and Russian?

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