Samara KUF Russia Passport Control Problems

Samara Passport Control

I always found Moscow a bit of a pain to connect internally through (although I gather it has improved since I last went through there), and the flight is shorter from the UK to Frankfurt and from there to Samara. Plus the FRA-KUF route is served by Lufthansa and not Yuri Air so is usually on time and half decent. And being a German airline, the luggage usually arrives at the same time as me. Added to which, the UK to Frankfurt and then Samara is almost a straight line on the map. It only involves a 2 hour flight to Germany and a four hour one to Samara.

If you time it right, and are lucky, the connection time can be 40 minutes. I couldn’t get these times at all this time, so I had to wait a dreary six hours in Germany. Still, they had free wifi and I can manage Bratwurst and black coffee. And I bought a nice shirt at half off. I have schoolboy German so know pleasantries, numbers and basic transactional speak in German, so I can get by without looking like a dumb foreigner who must desperately seek out an English speaker.

And while we are in Germany, what’s with all the German guys with little oriental women suddenly? Its like an explosion. For a while I thought I was in Scandinavia by mistake. :chuckle: Not sure if they are Thai, Philippine, Korean or Chinese. Those ladies don’t look all that different to each other to my eye. But for sure, German men, like their Scandinavian cousins have gotten a taste of the oriental woman. To be fair, some of the women looked pretty good catches for the average square-looking badly dressed middle aged German guy. Some of those women have pretty good fashion sense and they seem to take care of themselves. Pity the same cannot be said of the men with them.

Samara has always been a drag to enter Russia through. One agency website a few years ago specifically and emphatically advised against it and said ONLY use Moscow and connect internally to avoid being rolled for a bribe or given a hard time there.

On my old topic from a few years ago, Olga recounted a would-be corruption tale here and they tried to roll my wife on a visit in recent times too. Only that she recognised the customs guy as an ex student of hers did she get out of it – the guy ended up carrying her bags to the car outside. :chuckle:

I have always found them to be slow but you get there in the end. The more old visas you have (and they look), the more they see you are not a newbie and let you by without grief. That has always been my experience anyway.

However, in 2008 it took an age to get in. But I got in.

But last time I went there was some sporting event going on. They had nice English speaking female staff out in the foyer helping foreigners, handing out pens and helping with immigration cards. At the time, I cited this as “changing Russia” and assumed the old days had gone.

Nope. Regression has occurred.

I had no pen. I always have a pen, but this time I didn’t. I needed to fill in my immigration card as they hadn’t given them out on the airline as usual. No problem, pens will be on the counter. Nope. No problem, I’ll borrow one…….

But nobody else seemed to have one either. I identified an American by sight (and non American travellers will know how I did that – ask if you want me to elaborate). He had the big fanny pack with pens. He gave me one. It didn’t work. 😀

Not to be defeated, I asked a passing customs guy. He had one in his hand but wouldn’t lend it me. (:)

So I wandered past the queue and asked a border guard. He had a pot of pens but said no. :duh:

So I went to the next cubicle, and that guy lent me one.

Then I noticed on the immigration card, one could choose between being a “Male” and a “Famale” – I mean my god, – on an official document? If they cant get basic stuff like that right, is there any hope? :'(

So eventually I arrived at the cubicle to find a very bored and angry looking woman. The usual Russian bureaucrat behind glass. I make a point never to understand a word of Russian in such circumstances unless it behoves me to do so. But I slipped up.

“Gavarit pa Rooskie?”
“Nyet” – shit. :'( “Ummm. I don’t understand?” :innocent:
Her: 😀

Then we have the usual five minutes of her reading all my old stamps and visas.

She then starts to write the usual War and Peace on her computer whilst intermittently intently staring at the screen. After a few minutes of this, I am thinking ‘Really, how long does it take?’ I am bored by now and say “problyema?” and quickly cough, and say again “is there a problem?” (Hours in Germany plus the flights had dulled my reactions and I was ready for sleep)

She says “Da, probleyma” and then something else garbled that I didn’t get about the issuing of my visa. Well, I know this gag, this is the old in a side room and invitation paperwork and $50-$100 gag I am being primed for. So I changed tack.

“Do you speak English?”
“Nyet” (Touche – well played, love.)
“I think you do. You must in your job. My visa was issued in London, I know there is no problem with it. However, I have people waiting outside to collect me, one of whom is a lawyer, I can call him and you can speak to him on my phone to clear up any misunderstandings if that helps?” (Complete bollox by the way, but worth a shot – and I cant do that sentence in Russian.)

Long delay with no eye contact……………..

Suddenly, feverish stamping happens. 🙂 (When the stamping starts, you know you are in and its done). She pushes my visa and half registration slip back at me and looks the other way without a word.

I take them and go to move through the gate. But it is still locked and the lights are still red. Silly game huh?

“Dyevooshka?” I said mischievously while pointing at the red lights. She does this face (:) together with a big dramatic sigh (like she had released it three times already but I was too stupid to walk).

“Welcome to Russia” I said back to her as I walked through the gate. I can feel a Tweet to Medvedev coming on…….

What do these people get out of this? Surely it takes less energy to not do all the sulking, sighing, delaying and just do your damn job! Check the visa and stamp it, What two minutes tops? Why should it take fifteen minutes and fifty overheated people behind you?

New Russia indeed……….

The Importance of Good English When Communicating with Foreign Women

Whilst some foreign women are open to the idea of foreign guys, the language issue is a major hurdle to overcome. Many Russian and Ukrainian women surf the internet seeking foreign guys on forums and such in search of them.

However, the thought of a group of foreign guys discussing them en masse is a bit of a turn off for many. Many think some of the conversations are not entirely tasteful or respectful. At least, that’s the feedback I have had.

People on internet forums speak casually, with many errors and with much slang, it is not an ideal place to practice or develop English. There are also many variants of English language (and spellings) here from across the world. Occasionally, Aussies must translate something for the Brits; or the Brits for the Yanks, etc. How does a non-native speaker go on unless they are beyond fluent? And few are.

Our sharp humour and side-splitting repartee (where it exists) seldom translates literally; rather, it requires interpretation. Software cannot interpret; only people can. So the women who read here using a translation programme often read gobbledygook where the English variants, grammatical and spelling errors, slang and second meanings form a jumble of words that are far from what was intended by the respective authors.

Can bad English damage your communications?

It can. Many people try to cobble together a relationship with poor communication fuelled by free software translation. Software makes many errors; but more importantly, software is only as good as what you put into it.

As many will know, my wife does a lot of translation for guys in this pursuit. A few weeks ago, a guy sent her something for translation that she read, and read again, and much of it made no sense to her. The reason? No paragraphs, little punctuation or capitalisation and atrocious spelling and grammar.

She asked me if I would mind running quickly through it with a spell check, putting in a few paragraph breaks, and correcting the big howlers and try to turn it into something in a few minutes that she could comprehend. I did, and from that, she was able to make it in Russian, be what it was intended to be.

Missing punctuation leads to much ambiguity; meaning that one must ask the author what they meant, rather than it being clear in the first place. Get the punctuation right and the message (not to mention the translation) will be clear. Here is a good example of how altering punctuation can change the meaning:

A woman without her man is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

I guess the point of the topic is to highlight to guys the importance of using the best English you are able to, when in communication with Russian, Ukrainian and FSU women.

The Russian “Mail Order Bride” Industry in 2011/12

The so-called “mail order bride” industry, which primarily is focused on Ukraine, and secondly Russia, has been changing in recent years. The days of American guys rolling up in any Russian or Ukrainian city, flashing a US passport and being swamped in model-quality girls are long gone. This is 2011, not 1991. Women are not desperate to leave any more.

Men seeking a Russian or Ukrainian wife need to understand the dynamics of the society they delve into. Men fixated on the idea of importing a model-quality wife, twenty-five years younger than themselves are likely heading for disappointment. It has passed into internet folklore the “fact” that any obese, older guy can snag himself a super sexy Eastern European wife with little more to offer than his country of residency and his wallet. He can still do that as long as he accepts that the marriage will likely not last longer than the time it takes her to get a green card or permanent residency in his country.

The sensible guys nowadays need to accept their limitations. This does not mean that a guy cannot delve into Eastern Europe, if he knows what he is doing, and end up with a well-intentioned and beautiful wife. He can. But occasionally, reality checks are in order.

I was recently communicating with a British man who had made over thirty trips to Ukraine in search of a wife. After several years, and all these trips to Ukraine, he is still wifeless. No good prospects on the cards either. In these circumstances, we must examine not only him, but what he is looking for, and ascertain if it is realistic.

The gentleman in question is in his fifties, and has one or more ex-wives in the UK. He has a number of children; some of whom are either resident with, or spend significant time with him. One of these children has some type of special needs requirement. He is a nice guy; intelligent, witty and personable from what I can make out. He is affluent enough to afford the whole foreign wife endeavour (which many men are not).

What is he seeking? A large breasted, yet extremely slim and very beautiful woman in her twenties; that is twenty to thirty years his junior. Is that realistic? No. Here was my advice to him:

Your situation isn’t what local women seek to embrace; they already eschewed it. Why would a two decade younger, beautiful one, with a large chest from a poor country embrace it? Times are a changing. Desperation is fading. Your lack of success is testament to that. A reality check is needed. Late 30’s and early 40’s is the group you should be looking in. Perhaps with a kid or two.

My advice was not well received.

What many men in a similar position fail to realise is that desperation in these countries is fading. Finances are improving and women are less likely to choose self-export via marriage as a life choice as that happens. This is underlined by the fact that the “mail order bride” industry pretty much doesn’t exist any more in the affluent corners of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and proliferates in the more impecunious corners. Scamming also proliferates in the impecunious corners as desperation breeds corruption and dishonesty.

As proof of this, if we look at some FSU countries, we will see that the “mail order bride” industry has vanished altogether. In relatively affluent Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic, women are not seeking self-export via marriage as a life choice. There is not a single foreign-facing marriage/dating agency in Estonia any more. There hasn’t been for a decade or more.

Compare that to Ukraine. Ukraine is still bristling with foreign-facing dating and marriage agencies; new ones are opening every day (the honesty of many of these is open to question but that is not the subject here). Russia still has many agencies based there, but fewer in the more affluent corners like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Russia, the agencies reside in places that fewer foreigners venture to. Places like Rostov, Samara, Togliatti (Tolyatti), Vladivostok and Barnaul.

The link between women’s desire to export themselves and average income is an undeniable fact.

On the other side of the coin, I was recently communicating with an American man who also complained about his lack of success in the Eastern European dating arena. He told me:

I am good looking, healthy and relatively young. I have a good job and make good money. I know how to treat women very well. I am enjoyable to be with. I am interested in starting a family and having children.

Most women on learning this will think, “What’s wrong with him then?” and will muse on why he can’t find a woman at home. They simply will not believe the accounts given by Americans of the bad dating environment in the US; the “entitlement” attitude they encounter, and the subsequent lack of availability of appropriate and slim women.

His “benefits” of being young, in good shape and of a normal state of mind may actually work against him in some circumstances. I would be inclined to explain to the women I wrote, in a very careful manner, why I was seeking a woman from abroad if in his shoes (without disrespecting my local women). Its like sales training for those that ever had it; overcome the customer’s objections before they are even raised. Marketing oneself long-distance to women is a skill that takes honing and development.

The introduction letter is a vital tool; a first impression that cannot be left to chance. One must hire a competent Russian interpreter and translator to help craft and hone your introduction letter. Preferably a female one, as women understand the target market: Women.

Understanding the society you are delving in is also essential. You cannot rely on the twaddle written on dating sites. Russian dating sites are geared up toward telling you what you want to hear. They will wax lyrical about how these ladies “love to make cosy home” and “love to cook tasty meals” – which may be true sometimes. But not all the time. You will find the same guff written on the profile of many “professional daters” (scammers to you), often from Odessa or Kiev, who entertain a different foreign guy each weekend, and have a Prada and D&G fetish. Preferably at your expense.

To get to the real facts about a Russian or Ukrainian wife, and how, in 2011/12, you can find one, you need to educate yourself. This means learning from those who have spent much time in the former Soviet Union; and who are in a cross cultural marriage already.

The road to a beautiful Russian or Ukrainian wife is still possible to travel; but you must enter the arena educated and with a good idea in advance of what is possible and what is not.

The “mail order bride” industry is changing. Marriage agencies are not the future. As Russian and Ukrainian women embrace the internet at home, social networks are the way forward. Sites like Planet Love Match have recognised this already and are responding to the changing environment. Mix the dating site together with a social networking site, in both languages – brilliant but simple.

Foreign dating is changing. Get ahead of the curve by educating yourself.

Stuart J. Smith is the co-author of the Russian Bride Guide: How to meet, court and marry a woman from the former Soviet Union. He has guested on many radio shows on the “mail order bride” subject. He runs the busiest Russian women information discussion forum on the internet today.

How to choose a Russian interpreter or translator

A translator/interpreter should be a really good psychologist, should be able to predict or detect any Red Flags, should be able to encourage or comfort, to clarify any cultural or meaning misunderstandings, should not be afraid to do it not once if need arises till 2 parties understand each other to the end.

An inexperienced translator sometimes chooses incorrect expressions that can change the meaning of your words completely, or make your letters sound stilted and clumsy; the last thing you want when you are building up a delicate relationship with a lady. In situations like this, it is as important HOW you say something as WHAT you say.

Relevant experience is essential. It is very good if a person actually lives in the USA, UK or Canada, to really understand all the cultural realities men live in; be able to explain the differences between the two countries.

If a translator came through the fiancée visa process herself and knows all the details, how to avoid some difficulties, save time and how and where to get necessary documents, then she can share all this information with the lady when the time comes, and give advice on that, based on personal experience.


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