Saturday, January 9, 2010

Behold, I wait at the gate and ring

I have my visa to Kazakhstan.

When we dropped off my application on Dec 29th, the Consulate people assured us they were open January 8th (the day after Orthodox Christmas) and to come and get my passport and visa then.  They are open from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Caught the 12:40 am train from P'yatikhatki.  Had my mattress unrolled onto the berth, bed linen laid out and was asleep by 1:00 am.  They wake us at 6:00 so everyone can use the washrooms, get ready etc for 7:00 am arrival in Kyiv.  People get off the train looking like they just left a hotel room: clothes neat, make-up flawless, hair brushed.  I get off the train looking like I just spent the night on a train.

By 7:30 I was sitting in McDonalds having breakfast, just a 20 minute walk from the Kazakhstan Embassy.  There was snow everywhere, left over from last week.  Packed snow makes for slippery sidewalks, I found when I headed out at 8:40 to walk to the Embassy.  But shoveled sidewalks make for black ice. I was tiptoeing carefully thinking how dangerous it was when my feet went out from under me and I slammed my head on the sidewalk.  My cap took most of the force; a young man helped me to my feet and I trundled on, arriving at the big orange metal Consulate gate of the Embassy at precisely 9:00 am .

It was quiet.  Too quiet. They always attack just before daylight. Sorry, wrong story.  I rang the bell.  Nothing.  Several times.  Nothing.  9:15 - phoned Tanya.  Tanya reached Security who said hang tight, he might be coming in a bit late.  9:45 - nothing.  Call Tanya.  Tanya calls Security, who phones the Consulate Officer, who says he is coming in to work.

I am waiting outside all this time.  Nice day.  0C, no wind.  I am not cold and keep pacing to "relax".  10:15 - phone Tanya.  Tanya phones Consulate, speaks to officer, who tells her they are closed, I should come back Monday. Tanya "opens mouth" which is the direct translation from the Russian.  Threatens to phone President Nazarbayev if she has to because last week, this same guy told her they would open on Friday 8th.

10:30 - Consulate Officer answers my ring, opens gate, takes $50 USD passport fee and gives me my passport c/w visa.  Takes 5 seconds.  11:00 I am back in McDonalds drinking a well deserved cup of coffee. 12:00 noon - am back in Train station lounge, killing 5 hours until train time.  Isn't it fun?

9 comments:

  1. You didn't tell me about your fall, pops!! Sounds deadly!

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  2. Ouch, that sounds like it hurt.

    Was the sidewalk okay? :) (Ima hide now)

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  3. Sorry to hear about your fall. The sidewalk would surely have suffered!

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  4. Oh daddy! That sucks about the fall. That'll teach the sidewalk to be slippery.

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  5. Good thing you had Tanya to roust out the bureaucrats. I hope you are not feeling any aftereffects from the fall.

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  6. It's starting to get ugly here if you need a drivers license. They've closed all but a few offices. I hear you can do it online but info does get hacked and mail can be stolen.
    Hope they don't send you a bill for the damage you did to the sidewalk.

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  7. No after effects. The snazzy cap Tanya bought me cushioned the fall. I may have damaged the sidewalk but it would be difficult to distinguish from previous damages - cracks, holes, tilted blocks of cement, missing blocks of cement.

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  8. Just checking in — you still OK?

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