Russian Insomnia

Never ending days. Never ending issues. Never ending hassles?
This is about a bad experience.
Not the saddest. That was in Vienna, in a train that took forever things that I’ll always look for.
Pressure from the police: asking for bribes to tourist and for registration in the city (some soviet legacy, where you have to go to the OVIR (tourist police) to register in a city when you’re more than 72 hours in it),a thing we didn’t do just because we don’t want to spend that much money is said to be common in Russia.
This was a plus for my nerves. But the trigger of my bad mood was the Russian trains.
Russians don’t speak English. No English at all. None. It’s really hard to make yourself understand here… I like adventure, but sometimes… just sometimes… I just want things the easy way.
And trains are hard to get. And we’re planning to do like 10000 km on train. A quarter of the world in one trip: the famous Tran Siberian train. We tried to take several tickets, several options, but they didn’t get it. We had to learn Cyrillic to try to understand. Anyway, we didn’t get the tickets we wanted to. We just gave the paper saying ‘one ticket to XXX’ to the girl on the counter; she gave the paper back and said -“niet!”.
So we finally spent our second day in Russia just making queues, going to the bus station, train station, making calls and starting to feel more and more worried.
We also spent the night doing online researching and looking for tickets. On our third day we didn’t sleep at all. We just stayed on the internet looking for your tickets. All our tickets because as we noticed, cheap tickets are really hard to find..
So we finally made lot of options, combinations, we look for our Tran Siberian train and how to get to Mongolia.
On the other day god helped us a little bit more: we got the tickets. We did our homework in a flawless way. But the Mongolia ticket was not there yet. The only one left… we’re going to do the Tran Siberian train soon but we can’t find that trip in particular.
Anyway, we should be happy. We managed to do little ‘technical scales’, and with tips and tricks we managed to get our Tran Siberian (or Trans Mongolian) tickets for about 100 euros. The average is more than 200 and tour companies can sell them at even 600 – 1000 euros.
So now I feel more ‘realized’ though we still don’t know how we’ll get out of Russia. We’re just going to the Russian border with Mongolia.
But crossing is not as easy as it seems. Scams, corruption, policeman stealing, trying to get something from tourists and eternal customs border waiting (4 hours minimum until 8 hours just waiting for your passport, visa checks, registration checks, etc) transform going out from Russia an Epic adventure. We know how that works. But it’s not easy.
It was just a not so warm welcome on the beautiful yet still communist (from my point of view) St Petersburg. We also had good experiences there. And we know all the plazas, squares, or whatever they called them: we’ve been sleeping in them all…

    • Yulia
    • July 22nd, 2006

    Espero Que en Krasnoyarsk no haya nada tan malo:) Saludos! Yulia.(Yo leo todas sus notas del viaje)

  1. Agree with everything you said about us and Russia…except – “Russians don’t speak English. No English at all” :))))

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