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Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Sunday Photos Part I: Russia, the Final Frontier

A travel group called Extreme Trifle recently organized a trip around Europe which included a brief stop in Russia. Here are their reactions:

From Helsinki the teams head for the Russian border near Vyborg from where they will head for St. Petersburg. This would prove to be a turning point in the trip...perhaps we should have taken the hints from the Finnish who merely shook their heads when we said that is where we were headed...4 hours later we would find out why...

  • The Russian Border sign, roughly translated as "Total and Utter Bastards"


The border crossing seemed straightforward enough...until you tried to cross it. First the Police checks, then Passport Control, then Customs...and none of it in a hurry - you play by their rules or you don't play at all - you got the distinct impression that these guys were not to be pissed about with...

After literally hours of waiting it transpires that the Delorean, Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky & Hutch are refused entry...they do not have their car registration documents with them and without this they can't get insurance for Russia and are turned away. The rest of the teams eventually get through and everyone agrees to meet up in Estonia in 2 days time.

Hoo and Jane in the Delorean head back to Helsinki but the Duke Boys and Starsky & Hutch refuse to admit defeat and contemplate running the border - until a wise local informs them of what will happen to them if they do..Siberia was not on the route...

  • A pretty awful noise from Starsky's rear end prompted an inspection...


Still undeterred they check in to a hotel in a nearby Finnish town and next morning would set about finding some "insurance" documents. Meanwhile the other teams braved the rain in St. Petersburg...

  • The column on the right is carved from a single piece of granite weighing 600 tonnes!


* *

Determined to get in to Russia the Duke Boys and Starsky & Hutch hunt around the town looking for anyway they can get some insurance documents. Unbelievably they happen upon a travel agent who can provide these and who fortunately has no idea what a UK registration document looks cut a long story short we walk out of there with stamped and sealed Russian insurance - we are going to Russia after all!!!
  • Haven't we been here before..?

All is going well - through the Police checks, through Passport Control... until Mr Customs notices that our entry visas have been stamped the previous day...he calls his superior who mutters and walks off for half an hour...he comes back with his chief who takes us in to the Customs office and leaves us outside the door for half an hour...he then takes us to the Police Commander who confiscates our passports and disappears for 3 hours..

  • These guys have enough firearms to stop a tank...

The Police Commander finally comes strutting back in to the room...only to throw our passports in our faces and point to Finland. End of story. Total and utter f**king wanker.

By this time we are so fed up we don't even stop at the Finnish border and drive straight through - we needed a night out in Helsinki...


eelgoois said...

I don't know Finnish, but the Russian inscription on the border sign reads simply, "A checkpoint", not "Total and Utter Bastards". If your translation was an irony, it was founded only on the story of people trying to cross the border in an unregistered car, not on the sign. The ironical "translation" is diminishing my trust in your other articles.

I admire your column that brings up interesting points about Russia's policies and events. Good luck and keep up with your serious work.

La Russophobe said...

It's not my translation, it's copied from another website where it was published in English, as clearly indicated in the text. And it IS an ironical criticism of Russia. Everyone understands that is not really what the sign says, but what it SHOULD say if it were honest. To put it more simply, it's a JOKE.

Anonymous said...

if they trying to cross border with fake insurance documents then surely they are 'total and utter fucking wankers'. your story shows opposite of what you want. it show russian guy doing his job efficiently, english guy behaving like asshole.

La Russophobe said...

What makes you think that wasn't our point? Of course it was! Russians are always right, and foriegners are always wrong! Russia doesn't need friends, it needs enemies, and to teach the rest of the world how to live!

You see, as is often the case with Russia, the point isn't whether the country has the technical legal right to do something, the question is whether it acts in its own best interests or not. Russia can sell weapons to Venezuela, it has the right. But it is it wise to exercise it? And if it's going to exercise it, there are ways and there are are ways. But it seems poor Russians, just like you, will never understand this. That's why they're becoming extinct.

PS: Also, you could use a bit of work on your ability to take joke!

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's nice in a way for forums or blogs to have their very own troll. I'm afraid LR is just a bit unfortunate that Anonymous is so dull. (So dull and so lazy he can't even invent a name for himself.)

However, Anon, you do nonetheless add a certain piquancy to the daily reading. I try to guess which entries are going to get your goat and elicit a comment from you. So far I've usually been wrong but, now that a few days have passed, I think I'm beginning to see the algorithm.

For example, there's no trolling of your useless non-views in the serious stuff: you have no comment to make about the Matvey Ganapolsky essay "The Lie as National Idea", the "Sounds Like Stalin" article, or the Illarionov material that has been appearing recently.

Of course. These are actually difficult to argue against: they hit the bulls eye with sound argument and facts and would be difficult (impossible) to refute.

No, your level is a cheap shot at a joke that in your petty humourlessness you mistook for genuine error...

And that's the algorithm. And - sadly - the level of most Russophiles.

Couldn't a serious one, a worthy opponent, join in?

Or is it perhaps that there is no such beast and we are simply faced with countless numbers of Russophiles of the level of dear Anonymous and that for each one struck down, endless replacements move up from the rear? A depressing thought.