As a child, I dreamt to travel. Many other people dreamt of the same. As a child, I imagined traveling differently. On a ship, on a train, by foot… somehow it meant pure freedom. You go where you go. You are free and there are no obstacles. How naive!
I traveled relatively a lot. As a beginner-traveler I didn’t even know of bureaucracies around this business. There were certain people taking care of visas, tickets and the rest.
For the first time my real mundane journey from Europe to Russia proved to be different than all my fantasies and journeys before.
I decided not to fly. If I flew I would have been in 2 hours already in my destination point. Through traveling ‘live’ I spent over 35 hours en route. Beautiful!
Visa. there are different types of visa. there was one I needed for crossing through the certain territory. It is called Transit visa; in my case it costed 35 €.
In Europe it is much easier to get any type of visa. In Central Asia people treat it as seriously as entering a university or getting a job – something very special. Many go on a pilgrimage to ask God to influence the decision of the Embassy in their favor. If they receive a visa, they gather friends and relatives to celebrate the event.
The most interesting part of my journey was the attitude of the customers to my passport. The customs officer enters the bus asks to show passports. Everybody does so immediately. Nobody speaks, everyone is silent and obedient. The man in a uniform with absolutely no expression on his face examines the documents and gives them back. My turn: I smile and fetch mine. No response to my friendliness. Wow, what sort of passport is that! Need far more careful examination, I see him thinking. He turns and leaves the bus, with my passport. The whole bus, with about 30 people wait about an hour for my only passport. The same scenario repeatedly happened on all the following borders. What do they check for? Would my passport say I am an islamist, terrorist or a suicide bomber?
Somewhere on the German border a very cheerful customer made some jokes. I dared to ask him why my passport takes so much time to be checked. He answered:
“You never know how much value it has. Take a good care of it.”