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Old 05-02-2014, 08:38 AM   #1
solentlife
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Location: Ex UK Brit now in Latvia west coast - Ventspils
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Default My travel plans scuppered ...

As some know - I am in Crimea ... what used to be part of Ukraine. I travelled out early April on assignment ... I needed Russian Visa as Russia closed down all flights into Simferopol except their own Aeroflot... and any local airline that agreed with using Russian transit ...

I flew through Moscow and the sad act started ... I was told that I should transit via the Domestic part of Moscow Shemovo Airport ... reached the desk and promptly told to leave and report to International section. I trot along there and girl looks at Passport ... Visa ... and looks totally bewildered. I'm told to go to side and wait.

This is not good ... methinks.

Later I am invited to another desk specially opened up for ME !! Same girl, my passport in one hand, telephone between her shoulder held to her ear, other hand typing into computer. I stand watching this ... girl keeps glancing at me .. I try to occupy my mind on other things and not worry ... her shapely legs help with this !!

Finally she stands up .... says : Follow ...

I trot along behind her admiring ... well you know what !

She sits at original first desk computer, tells the long queue to wait .. types in something ..stamps my passport and says - Go.

I stroll to the departure gate and find plane is full load ... blimey - I can't believe it .. you'd think people would avoid such a trip .. but no .. its full.

We arrive at Simferopol Airport .. which I have been through a number of times in past ... Its like a Ghost town ... all desks are empty ... no customs ... no immigration ... nothing ... not even porters. Driver is waiting for me and I leave to drive to Kerch ... about 3hrs.

Kerch is a nice sleepy town which I like ... the drive across is as usual ... odd crazy driver ... mini-buses and trucks. But normal. No military or signs of anything except the Billboards proclaiming the Referendum on Russian annexation.

I have to spend the usual night in the Hotel on seafront before I can travel out to the ship I have to supervise.

Next day the saga starts again. I board the launch that should take me out to the ship ... we wait hour after hour for Border Guards ... they finally arrive ... all insignia and flashes removed from their Uniforms. Only name tags left. The Velcro tabs empty.

The Russian and Ukrainian guys going out with me are processed quickly ... then my Passport comes up ...

I hear Border Guard talking ... What do we do with this ? Do we stamp Visa closed or leave open ... how is he going to get back ashore ? Anyone know what we do now ?

It's finally partly answered by the fact that they then realise they have no Stamp !! It's been taken away because its Ukrainian and they are waiting for the Russian stamp to arrive !! Seriously !

Launch leaves and out we go ...

I am now doing my job .. Loss Control and supervision of Oil Transit ... That's ok ...

I have asked respective agencies and offices - Hey Guys ... how are you going to get my off ... how will I get out of Crimea ... The silence is deafening !!
No-one can answer .........

So dear Wattflyers ... it was nice knowing you all ... I'll try and let you all know what happens ....

Nigel

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