Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 27: 'Size Really Does Matter'

'Mistakes are a fact of life, .... and in some cases the casue' ......... Anon

It's actually a lot bigger than I thought it was. Unfortunately, I'm referring to Russia. We've been planning our route by concentrating on various 'Road Maps' which all seem to use different scales and don't reflect the true distances that we'll be travelling. For example, our map of the UK is exactly the same size as our map of North America but if they'd printed them using the same scale, the USA map alone would fill a large room. Now that Alan's sold his soul and bought a Garmin Satnav, his world's become encased within a 4" by 3" screen and that distorts the perspective of distances even more. Looking at the map to the left with Russia conveniently highlighted in red, ..... you begin to get the impression that it's quite a long shlep from West to East. Even if the roads are far better than we expect, it's still going to take some time to ride from Sochi in the west to Vladivostok in the far east. Then once we arrive in Vladivostok we'll need a degree of flexibility in order to arrange our exit to either Alaska or Japan before our Russian visas expire. We'd always planned on obtaining 3 Month Business Visas which would allow us to ride through and explore Russia without having to break our backs completing high daily mileages a'la Long Way Down. A Great Plan, ...... but unfortunately, ... Crappy Execution. (No change there then).

In my defence, I've never visited Russia before, I don't speak any Russian and the Cyrillic Alphabet is a bit of a bugger to learn. Add to that the fact that whilst I've had some limited experiences with Russian Websites, .. the particular Russian Visa website that I was using on Sunday evening didn't have the usual number of helpful pictures. However, I'd previously used the website to discover that we couldn't apply for the visas until 45 days prior to their commencement date and I'd already managed to find a solution to that little problem. I'd then worked out a cunning plan for getting our passports to and from the Russian Consulate in time for our departure from Dover on May 1st. It was all going so amazingly smoothly, ..... and then I moved my mouse over the icon and clicked 'Send' on the first visa application. It was 8pm on Sunday evening, an 'Error Message' flashed annoyingly on my screen, it had all gone horribly wrong and I had another 12 hours before I could contact a responsible adult for guidance. Unfortunately, following a night of restless panic, I made my frantic telephone call on Monday morning only to find that my 'Responsible Adult' was actually away on vacation, ..... bugger. I'd overlooked a little detail in the 'small print' and was short of two documents for the visa applications. Further adding to my defence, I'm dyslexic and within the visa companies service schedule the word 'including' could easily be confused with 'excluding', .... cough.

To cut an embarrassing administrative omission short, a familiar organisation leaped to our rescue and saved the day for Poor Circulation. (This adventure is beginning to resemble my daughters primary school homework: 'Is this your own work Miss Thomas?, ........ 'Of course Sir'). All praise to CitySprint, ..... the worlds favourite worldwide logistics organisation. They provided the responsible adult necessary to pave the way for the acquisition of two beautiful three month entry visas for Mother Russia. The timing is still going to be very tight, but if my memory serves me well, 'tight' is not always a bad thing.

1 comment:

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