Today 22nd  Up early and off to Abu Dhabi. Riding today was the first time in 6 years of riding in the middle east that I was cold on the bike as it was 10 degrees. Arrived at the Kazakhstan embassy and the visa was there waiting for me so handed over my passport collected the payment form went off to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi handed over 116 dirhams 111 for the Visa and 5 for the bank changes, back to the embassy to get collect the visa. So the first visa is in the bag, with a big smile on my face I thought as I was in Abu Dhabi I would check on the progress of the Turkmenistan visa but it is still being processed. 
Today 23rd went to the Russian embassy to hand in the paper work for the visa, or so I thought. I stood in a queue then at the other side of the counter was met by Mr Happy (see week 15th-21st cheerful Russian guy) well I take it all back. I handed in the forms he checked them with a big smile and say “give passport please take a seat” so I sat for 45 mins he then calls me over and we are off upstairs in the back of the embassy to his office. Now when filling out the Russian visa application form be very careful what you answer to questions like have you ever been in the military (yes) have you had training with fire arms and explosives (yes) what was your last 2 jobs (British Army, UAE Army) what branch of the Military you served in (Parachute Regiment) Have you ever been in a Military conflict (yes). When we were in his office he was very cheerful and really he was. He asked me what my business was in Russia and why I wanted to travel there, so I explained the trip biking think etc. and he was very interested he told me his wife would not let him have a bike (how many time have we heard that). He then stopped smiling and said “about your Military service” I had to explain all what I had done dates I joined etc. Thinking there was no way I was getting a visa. Now this guy is about the same age as me. He stands up with a stern face and says “I was also in the Russian Army I was Special Forces”. Now this had all sorts of thoughts running through my head Cold War etc.  We then start chatting about our Days in the Army. He then changes the visa entry and exit dates for more time in Russia and says “800 dirhams” tells me to come back at
1 O’clock and I can have the visa today. Off to the bike café for a brew back to the Russian embassy nod and a wink a hand shake and says “take care on the bike it will be very cold”. So I take it all back from last week the Russian embassy in Dubai is a great place to hang out.
Today 26th Collected the Uzbekistan visa, uneventful apart from the fact he thought I was flying to Uzbekistan so had to explain the trip. Well I explained he had no idea what I was talking about or why I was doing it. 



 

 
This week is being taken up with Embassy visits I now know why people get tour companies to do it for them today 16th Jan I got up early rode 150kms from the hotel in Al Ain to Dubai to the Russian consulate stood in a queue for an hour and we Brits love a good queue shame no one else seems to get the idea. Only to be told by a very cheerful Russian guy (NOT) that I did
not have the right form. Oh well all part of the fun. Next stop was the Uzbekistan Embassy and yes they do have one in Dubai just nowhere near the address on the internet in fact 20kms the other end of Dubai only to find it closed, but at least I know where it is. That will save time later when I come back to the Russian embassy to visit Mr Happy. Tomorrow off to the Kazakhstan and the Turkmenistan embassies. Lucky enough I have been to the Kazakhstan embassy before so fingers crossed.
Today 17th Jan went to Abu Dhabi to the Kazakhstan Embassy to hand ion the visa application I had already been to see them last week so all went ok with the paper work, in fact what a great guy he was to deal with although he really didn’t get why I wanted to travel to Kazakhstan. He told me it was cold and miserable at this time of year. I thought great just the
place to go.
Next stop was the Turkmenistan Embassy again handed in the paper work had to wright a letter in the embassy to explain what I was doing and why etc. Funny I have not hand written a letter for a long time and being dyslexic the brain went into melt down, but all was ok and again the guy was very helpful.  19th Today I went to the Uzbekistan Embassy in Dubai to apply for the Visa very helpful, (Russia take note) filled in the forms etc. will let you know when it is ready.

 
This week as been very busy with starting to prepare to leave the UAE packing up the house with the shipping company and moving into a hotel for my last 6 week of the contract many thanks to the UAE armed forces its really rough being in a 5 star hotel all the staff keep offering to park the bike!

 
I applied for the Iran Visa today 8th Jan through Samira Zare at Persia tours; she has done many visa applications for over landers travelling through Iran and has been a great help will keep you informed on the progress. The rest of the Visas I plan to do myself at the Embassy’s in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

 
Some bad news this week while I was having a conversation with Mitch he told me that he would no longer be able to come on the trip or at least riding through the Stan’s, there may be a chance that he will join me somewhere in Europe. (I hope so). So I am now on my own.