Wednesday, September 01, 2010
1. people camped out at 7am in a line that stretches to infinity just for the minute chance of getting to the front gate of the Consulate.
2. People pushing and shoving SO hard that a very old woman got trampled and broke her toe.
3. A group of wealthy men step out of their Mercedes (with driver) and proceed to cut past me as if they owned the place. When I told them I had been waiting three hours they told me to shut up in Russian and laughed at me.
4. The consulate affords NO shelter outdoors from the heat and sun and yet expects even the elderly to stand out there for HOURS just to send then away at the end of the day.
5. Only by God's intervention did we get in, but once in you see a different kind of hell -- a roomful of people waiting for the ONE consulate person who is there to assist with passport issues. One man tried to sneak to the front and had a room of thirty people screaming and swearing at him.
6. No rhyme or reason to the order. We watched over 50 people (obviously wealthy) get ushered past us to go to the head of the line.
So much more I could tell you, but I think I better shut up for now. I have a new appreciation for the stamina and patient of the average Russian. Yes, many lost their cool and screamed, etc, but most just sat there for 8 hours as if it was normal to be treated so abominably.
But the good news? We ended up with a VERY helpful Consulate agent. He offered us lots of advice on what could be done and, after I shared our long tale of woe (with tears) he promised to find a way to get Nastia an emergency dispensation to travel on her expired passport. Its not ideal and comes with some tough decisions for both of us, but at least we get to GO.
Posted by Keri at 6:11 PM