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08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)
08(01)
10(01)

Mon, 12 Apr 2010
nostromo in mother russia land, day 01 (0 comments)
since the day i decided to go to russia only olga and dima, the people i stay with/at for the next few days, gave me a feeling of being welcome to russia. russian authorities so far totally did... not. applying for visa was a pita. at first, olga had to send me an invitation, because you must be registered to some place where you stay - be it a hotel or some private accommodation, as in my case. once this was done, i additionally had to bring a travel insurance, so that russia can easily get rid of me if i get sick on my journey. once you have all the stuff (which means besides all the previously mentioned stuff, things like a printed out request for the visa, two current pictures of yourself and some other stuff and forms i already forgot about) you can apply for a visa. in my case this means going to the consulate in salzburg. the totally annoyed and unmotivated guy behind a thick glass window then sent me away again with a postal money order, because they don't accept cash there. so, in a foreign city you have to fulfill the quest of searching for the nearest bank to pay the 35EUR for the visa request. notice, this is all just for the request - no guarantee you visa will be granted so far. i already have booked my flight, bought my travel insurance and would have most likely already booked a hotel, if i would be staying at one. funny thing is, the only word the guy at the consulate said to me through the two-way intercom was "no" when i asked if i could pay cash. the rest of the "conversation" was pointing at some notes that were put up somewhere in the room, or nodding or shaking his head. but, as you can guess, the visa request was approved - yippieh, lucky me! this also means i got my passport back again, after ten days in which it was kept in the russian consulate. of course i had to go to salzburg again to fetch it. the visa itself is a one-page entry stapled into my passport with a nice awesome hologram. people here are totally into this hologram-thingie it seems. besides the address where i stay it also has a line that represents my name in russian letters, so that people know how to pronounce my name - nice. at the airport i pretty felt unwanted again, as all the people that arrive at the airport are heading for passport control. but there were only two counter windows, and one of them was for diplomats only. so people were queueing up, me amongst them. it took an average of two minutes for the lady at the check-point for each person to check the visa and passport. although loads of other staff people were frequently running around, no other counter was opened. this way i spent one hour in a queue that was slowly getting smaller. when i was the fourth in queue, the lady at the counter decided to take a break now, leaving about 30 people waiting. finally it was decided by some other guy there that we were allowed to queue up at the "russian citizens" counter. this was speeding things up dramatically, because the average time per person suddenly was around 30 seconds. two lessons i got here: firstly, russians are never in a hurry, secondly, i am convinced by now that they really do not like visitors. fortunately the warm welcome by olga and dima made me forget about all these troubles pretty fast. we got fetched from the airport by olga's uncle and drove to some flat pretty close to moscow (though i really don't know how close it is to the center or the city limits). first thing i got to see here was a mall and an IKEA[10] (though the "I" was russianized to some strange letter). the opening hours here are from 10:00 to 23:00 o'clock. pretty cool. inside the mall were loads of shops you can find in austria too, like H&M, C&A, esprit, salamander (the shoe shop), MANGO, zara, and of course some McDonald's[03] (with some very, very weird russianized spelling).
since olga and dima (from now on referred to as o&d) were hungry we went to some uzbek restaurant called "kuschmusch"[09]. they had stuff like mutton, sheep, lamb meat and other stuff i've never heard of. so i was recommended some great soup with lamb meat, vegetables, potatoes and fine herbs ("shurpa"), and some dumplings with mutton meat and onions ("manty") as main dish. i was also allowed to taste a little from o&d's meals ("dolma", some rice mixed with meat, herbs and stuff wrapped into a grape leaf, and "chebureki", some dough with meat filling). everything tasted really nice - i now know that i would survive in uzbekistan. at least when it comes to eating. after dinner we were strolling around at the mall. besides the shops, restaurants (sushi and the like), a cinema, and cafes, there's also a big ice rink[04]. but it seemed everyone was fed up with winter in the meantime, so no one was skating. i was told the ice rink is opened even in summer - i think this is great fun. afterwards we went to a cafe[05-08] to have some exotic coffee (mine[08] was with white chocolate and other stuff) and sweets[07].
at the flat[01-02] we had some tequila (yop, no vodka - i was surprised myself), some russian sausage, bread, and russian chocolate (pretty dark one). so far, i think russia is a nice place. a bit brownish, swampy, and vast - but maybe that's just because i just came back from my ireland trip. so quite the opposite to what i had seen in the last few days. tomorrow we will go to bryansk by train. train tickets are registered to your name again and - of course - have a hologram. the trip will last for over six hours, and we share a compartment for four people, so most likely there will be another person with us. oh, and olga and me have to go to some police station(?) to have my stay here confirmed (or so?). i think this is just to make sure that i really stay with the person i named in the visa, and that i got fetched by the person that will be responsible for me during my stay here in russia. did i already mention that i sometimes do not feel welcome here? btw, today russians celebrate the "cosmonaut day". from now on it will also be known as "the day the starship has landed in russia". well... at least for me.

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