Thursday, May 21, 2009

this one time (Part One)

I was in Russia and I got the raw end of the deal. The little smiling wanker who took my ticket on my connection from NY to Frankfurt chose to remove my RETURN ticket instead of my ... whatever the right part of the ticket is called. SO, I get word that my Grandpa is dying and that one of my best friends just killed himself. Bad week. Anyway, I decide to bail Siberia early and come home. I go to Moscow with my friend Max (Maxamillion was fab U lous, in all ways, even though his strict religious environment required him to hide his OH MY GOoDness OBVIOUS tendencies. But that is for another discussion. Ah, God bless him wherever he is.) 
Ok, so I was pretty really broke at this point, having spent extra money to keep the mafia dudes from sending me home with a more horizontal posture. We got to Moscow, stay at his Grandfather's house and go to work out the tickets. I shop around, buy a dog fur hat, some Matruschka dolls, some black jade (why I will never know) and look at the Pushkin (which is pretty rad, except all the freakin huge paintings the size of gynormous walls that are of these stiff, boring scenes...). Anyway, it was fun. UNTIL... 

I haul my (then) skinny butt up to the airport (a good seventeen hours away from the city by any means of transportation) and due to the long trip have to spend the night on a little chair inside the airport. In the morning I say goodbye to my buddy, Max, then walk with a slight swagger up to the guy in the little cage to give him my ticket. He takes it and says "Passport Pujalsta".
I hand it over and stupidly ask him to stamp it on a new page (not  huge request, right?). Which causes him to look closer. At my EXPIRED visa. SON OF A...

At this, his hand literally went to his sidearm, then he looked up like I was smuggling a brick of hash in my crotch. He yelled to another dude with a bigger gun and then I watched as my passport and ticket were handed off down a chain of gun wielders until they both vanished. 

Panic not showing its face yet, I kind of roll with it and ask if anyone in the airport speaks english (my russian consisting of directions to bathrooms and quantities of beer). I wind up talking to a cute girl around my age (maybe 18 or 19) and she tells me that my visa (which had been ordered for me by the organization I was paying to volunteer with) was only a Two Week Visa and I had been there for maybe two months. This was really bad news and required that I go find Max and wait until the weekend was over to visit the American Embassy and pay this huge fine and get a renewed visa for longer and apologize to the tomb of Lenin, etc... Which I did. I waited the two days at Max's Grandfather's place (which by then was getting very annoying with its fuzzy paisley wallpaper). Out of money, I begin to not eat meals and save up every cent for the one trip to somewhere cheap to buy a little snack. When I get to the visa office, they issue me the correct one but at a big price. Finally, some progress.