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. 


1/25/2012 00:25:29

Pete, calling A.N.Other, mr happy!!! Ha ha, im sure a few of them recruits on the first day of training have said something similar! Hows iran looking with the problems of hamousa?

Simon Pavey
1/25/2012 06:02:48

Hi Pete,

Good luck, have fun, and see you when you get here.


Keith Cunningham
1/28/2012 04:52:03

Hi Pete, I just clocked your post on UKGSer this morning. Followed your link into my dream, your reality. What an epic journey you have planned, and what memories it will bring. I will be following your blog with eyes wide. Best of Luck.


Steve P
3/4/2012 00:38:51

Reminds me of the Russian Airborne Sigs unit that got located just down the road from me in Bosnia - got a shout from one of the JNCOs on room jobs that there was a bloke in the showers - this at 0930hrs was not on - went to investigate and it was a Russian soldier in full kit covered in soap suds doing his dhobi while he was showering - and who says men can't multi-task - Rock on the AB brotherhood ;)


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