Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Russian bureaucracy and loss of departure of immigration card

For the first time and to do it at no better place than Russia, I had to lose the departure half of my immigration card.

I suppose I lost it in the chaos of buying train tickets at slyudyanka - poor sleeping for two nights, followed by trying to communicate in Russian to buy tickets.

Yeah, of course as Felix heard from another tourist, it is easy and there are vacant seats on Russian trains. But trying doing so when you don't speak Russian. It helped a lot though when I used the lonely planet and wrote down the Russian spelling of the towns .  Only thing undone? Writing down the class of train. We were also very lucky to have Czech students who could speak some Russian to help us with the tickets.

After worrying about that loss of departure migration card for days, after reading that you can be fined up to USD 150 ( though I am reminded of what Zeezee said - 能用💰解决的就不是问题) at the border police, I finally managed to find a way to sort it out at Krasnoyarsk.

That in itself is also an adventure:

First, I was referred to the wrong address in the outskirts by the Singapore Embassy - that was fine as I got to see the tall, duplicated residential flats of the Russian.

Second, at the city centre Mira Street Federal Migration service, there was no one who spoke English. Though a random stranger, found someone whom I paid 1000 rubbles for just to help fill up a form. He was asking for 5000 rubbles initially - I told him I would rather pay the fine at the border. Crap. Especially crap when I missed the Stolby nature reserve hike due to schedule for a trekker like me and perhaps, just perhaps, losing the damn thing while trying to sort out the train tickets at the counter for 3 of us.

This is where the real experience of Russia bureaucracy comes in - I had to do not thumb print, but 10 fingers print with 2 palm prints, followed by a complete photocopy of my passport including all the empty pages. Interesting stuff.

Well, that I guess is a true experience of Russia!

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