Well, that is it. Nearly a year has been completed in the motherland and I am back in England. I have been back for over a week now and in all honesty, I am surprised that I am back.
One sunny Wednesday morning (Yes! We still had sun and hot weather in Moscow) I was showing my girlfriend my passport, as she was chuckling over the dreadful photo of me 5 years ago. When it was returned to my pocket, two days later when I needed it to attend a concert it wasn’t there... Bugger! I know Russians have a reputation for many things, but I don’t think my girlfriend wants my passport to get to England. I think she’d struggle to look like a Northern teenager with a spotty face and strange hair!
Northern Lad Top Tip #17363 – Never EVER lose your passport in Russia. It’s a long, tedious and frustrating process.
I spent the next day retracing every one of the million steps I had done over the previous two days, phoning up restaurants and anywhere I had been (well I didn’t. I always knew a Russian girlfriend would have it’s advantages somewhere!) But, no joy. My heart sank as I thought of telling my employer. I bit the proverbial bullet and went to work to confess. Rather than the disappointment and anger of my boss and sympathy of my colleagues, I was actually greeted with laughter and harsher words than ‘idiot’. I would like to point out that this was all 8 days before flying back to the U.K.
So, the next day a trip to a sauna. Not to relax, no, it was actually a police station, but I’m pretty sure it was a health spa sauna at the weekends. This was due to the decor and to the unbearable temperatures. Luckily two Russian staff members accompanied me to the station to report it lost. Even with them writing the forms for me and dealing with it, it still took over two hours. I walked out looking like I had took a swim in the Atlantic ocean, sweat entered places I didn’t even know existed. This was followed by a trip to the British embassy, a place to get a ‘spravka’ and then my work sorted out my new visa to allow me to leave the country. My emergency passport only allowed me to fly on the 5th July. The wonderful visa people then decided to tell me that it “might be back on the 4th July”... Fricking great. A week of stress later (and many hangovers – It was our last week in Moscow) the 4th of July arrived, with no passport.
Uh oh!! As I sweated like a nun in confession, I received the joyous email I had been waiting for. My passport had been delivered! I ran down the stairs with my hands in the air and screaming like I had scored the winning goal in the world cup final against the old German boxheads’.
Passport control in Russia was fairly straight forward, but even they laughed at me as they asked if I had lost my old passport. I wasn’t even allowed to keep my nice white emergency passport as a sign of idiotic behaviour, as UK Border Control took it off me.
If you don’t want the hassle, stress or laughter... Don’t lose your passport. Although if you want to make Russians smile... Lose it. The decision is yours! I do suppose that some Russian mafia man is furthering his sex slave business to the UK using my passport as the cover. God bless the future Russian prostitutes of the UK if they are made to look like me.