53 Hours Doesn’t Sound Like A long Time…

…..but it is when you are detained at the Kavkaz border port by the Russian authorities.

I arrived at 12.30pm on Wednesday.

“I am serene like surface of the lake at dawn…..I will be as the rock, immune to the breaking of the waves over me……Like the willow tree I will  not break but bend and sway to the rhythms of the wind”

Yes Grasshopper…

Close eyes, breathe deep and recite,

oh I dunno…maybe 9000 times?

Fuck me this lot would try the patience of Job.

In the UK…there is no separate registration document for a private car trailer…..you just put the same registration plate as the tow vehicle on the trailer and off you go.

In Russia there is a separate registration document.

When I entered Russia at the Murmansk border in February they asked for trailer documents….and since the registration was the same as the truck…you may recall that they merely noted and photographed everything…..and cleared me thru.

With every police stop, at every checkpoint….no trailer document? No problem…….trailer/truck registration the same.

Get to Kavkaz…..

Trailer documents?….I explained as I did in Murmansk.

“Nyet!….you cannot enter….you must go back to Ukraine”

“Excuse me?”……WTF?

If this was my first entry to Russia I would have  surely complied….but I explained that I had already entered Russia at Murmansk…and had been driving the length of Russia for 6 weeks!

“Nyet…..you must go back to Ukraine”

As I mentioned in my post on the Shraf, my confidence in dealing with the authorities has risen as the trip has progressed. At this point most people would meekly turn and leave.

Not your intrepid correspondent….not anymore.

“Nyet…I’m not returning to Ukraine”

“Nyet?”

“That’s right Boris…fuckin Nyet.”

There was a woman border guard who spoke fluent English (thank god)…I explained that even if every police department, every government department in Russia had different rules…..that at least the Customs and Immigration rules MUST be the same for the entire Russian Federation….so if I was cleared thru Murmansk they better just do whatever Murmansk did and let me enter…..my 12 month visa and all my other documentation was in order.

They said they would call their regional commander.

I settled down to wait.

After a few hours they said they had 6 bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs and would I like to have a wash and a rest as I waited?

This was more like it!….that inherent Russian aversion to stubborn/bolshie/confident foreigners was kicking in……

Upstairs…..nice comfy double bed……hot shower…..and its free?…there was even a 24hr kiosk and café outside for food!

They come back a few hours later…the regional commander says….

“Nyet”

Free bed and hot showers?

24 hour food?

I explained now that I had settled in I wasn’t going anywhere but into Russia and with these conditions I reckon I could out wait them….checkmate.

“Back to Ukraine?…still fuckin Nyet”

I told them if the regional commander said no…they better call Murmansk and if that don’t work I don’t care if they have to call Moscow…..I’m staying here until this is sorted.

“Oh”

“I’ll be in my room if there is any news”

“Da Adam John”

Ok so the way this way unfolding I didn’t expect this to be over quick.

Nice sunset over the border port though

dscn2696

Off to bed.

Next day…..no news but lots of conversations about what to do with me….read my book all day…..had a nap….cleaned the inside of the truck…repacked the trailer…..

The truck was still parked smack bang in the middle of the compound with every other vehicle having to negotiate their way past it

“Adam John…..can you move machina (vehicle) over to the side of the compound?

“Nyet”

“Nyet??”

“Yeah Nyet…..I figure while its there, in everyone’s way, right in front of the boss’s office…..you won’t forget me….you’ll all stay on the case”

“Oh”

By now I know all the guards by name……Mikhail Ivanovich has just rushed home as his wife has gone into labour……I wonder if they will call him Adam John?

Nice view of the Azov Sea from my border post bedroom though..

dscn2695

and another nice sunset….

dscn2692

Off to bed

Next morning its action stations.

Moscow called Murmansk….told them to sort this out …Murmansk called and told them what to photograph what to write…..so I spend the morning unpacking the truck for another photo session and then fill out dozens of forms…in Russian.

They’re doing it but they ain’t making it easy.

Their boss then notices that the truck has a white registration plate on the front and yellow on the back……

Apparently he said he had watched British movies and that this was not correct….so I showed them the photos of my Mercedes cars back in the UK…..

“Oh”

“Yeah Boris that’s right….fuckin Oh”.

After arriving at 12.30pm on Wednesday I passed thru the border gates and into the Russian Federation at 4.45pm on Friday.

The mantra had worked

Bizarrely all the border staff jostled around the gatehouse to wave me goodbye…

“Dosvedonya Adam John…..!”

“Yep…Dosve-fuckin-donya Boris”

(Mikhail Ivanovich called his son Ivan Mikhailovich)

….and yes….i still love this place.

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