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clueless_in_usa

News from the motherland

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So, yesterday I returned from the motherland of my fianceé. Besides wanting to spend time with her again, I also went there to prepare her for the upcoming interview at the beginning of September, and provide her, in person (I was afraid to do it by mail), with all the documentation that she will need on her big day. Following are my thoughts about the current state of the affairs ...

1) Sheremetevo terminal 3 is very much a reality. The inside is still lacking, but the structure is fairly complete. Soon it will be better to fly to Sheremetevo than to the congested Domodedovo

2) Aeroexpress is a great way to avoid inflated prices from greedy taxi drivers at any of the airports. Unfortunately, depending on the time you arrive, some times the schedule does not work on your favor and you have to decide what is worth more: your time (waiting up to one hour), or the cab ride

3) The Aeroflot shuttle is not the only way to transfer from Sheremetevo II to Sheremetevo I and vice versa. You can also use the free bus linked to Aeroexpress

4) Going to the consulate in Moscow in person is better than trying to access their phone visa service. I got all the answers I needed in just five minutes

5) Air France managed to finally change the bad opinion I had about them. Of course, it helped to have Skymiles Elite status. But despite the difficulties (a broken plane when leaving the USA and lack of chosen food coming back), this time they handled it great. I am not ready yet to take them from my narrow list of travel providers to Russia

6) I would have stayed longer if I did not have to work to get over this crisis :no:

If you have particular questions that I can answer, feel free to ask.

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Thanks for the update.

Agree about the shuttle or bus service between SVO2 and SVO1; if you arrive late or very early-you may need to wait for the shuttle to save the $40 taxi charge for the 2 mile trip

Agree about Air France also, they are at the bottom of my list of airlines, below Iraq Air; Iran Air, Dubai Air, etc

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I flew Air France to CDG and was impressed. Of course, that's kind of like taking Aeroflot to SVO. They better get it right.


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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On my last trip to Russia in May-June 2009 I flew round trip on Singapore Airlines non-stop Houston / Moscow. I was impressed with the entire experience. Great service and a $600 round trip ticket price is hard to beat. In March 2008 my wife and stepdaughter bought the same tickets for $750. Both trips were spur of the moment trips to take advantage of special fares advertised in our local Russian language newspaper, Наш Техас.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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Air France destroyed Svetlana's computer when she came here.

Luggage looked like it had been attacked with a bayonet.

Even though computer was dead, the hard drive was salvageable. Idiots at Circuit City (rot in Hell) and Best Buy were useless. But we were able to get the old hard drive installed into an inexpensive machine at a computer store in Sunny Isles Beach (aka Moscow on the Atlantic).

Svetlana loves being able to go into these stores and converse in Russian and buy things she cannot get in typical American places.

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Air France destroyed Svetlana's computer when she came here.

Luggage looked like it had been attacked with a bayonet.

Even though computer was dead, the hard drive was salvageable. Idiots at Circuit City (rot in Hell) and Best Buy were useless. But we were able to get the old hard drive installed into an inexpensive machine at a computer store in Sunny Isles Beach (aka Moscow on the Atlantic).

Svetlana loves being able to go into these stores and converse in Russian and buy things she cannot get in typical American places.

This story sounds familiar (and the reason for my doubts about Air France). On a trip over the Atlantic in 2005, my duffel bag arrived in pieces inside a plastic container. Because of the lack of Air France personnel in the USA, Delta took care of my initial claim.

I was told to send a list of lost items and appraised value, which I did. To my surprise, Air France replied that they were able to pay my claim ONLY if I provided ORIGINAL receipts of the lost items ... who in the world keeps receipts of clothes purchases?

I expressed this to Air France, and they blatantly denied my claim saying: "we are sorry, but without receipts we cannot honor your claim." (I was more than p.$$ed). Not only did they destroy my bag and the majority of its contents, but they were leaving me high and dry.

I decided to take it to them, and was preparing to start a small-claims suit. However, before taking that route I decided to explain my case to the BBB. The BBB replied that Air France had said that there was no problem, and Air France sent the BBB all correspondence, except the one claiming that without receipts they were not going to pay.

I went to court to collect the forms to start my claim, and that same afternoon I received a new letter from Air France. It said: "usually we do not pay claims without receipts, but after careful consideration we decided to make an exception in your case. Soon you will receive a check for $XXX (half of my original claim, but enough to pay for my clothes, considering depreciation).

That day I understood how important is to use all resources available to us, especially the BBB. Also, now I take pictures of my bag before I check it at the counter at every airport I get it checked. This is very important, in case your bag disappears completely.

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Luggage looked like it had been attacked with a bayonet.

Now that's serious!

I take pictures of my bag before I check it at the counter at every airport I get it checked. This is very important, in case your bag disappears completely.

I had to do the "point and grunt" at SVO when my bag disappeared. What was interesting to me was they were well prepared for this and had a color coded, numbered placard with all types and makes of luggage. Dude said something in Russian, I pointed at bag and color, he filled out a little more, said some more in Russian. Next day someone called me to pick up my bag.

No pictures required! (Although I do really like your idea, just not sure if it would work in a country like Russia.)


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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Luggage looked like it had been attacked with a bayonet.

Now that's serious!

I take pictures of my bag before I check it at the counter at every airport I get it checked. This is very important, in case your bag disappears completely.

I had to do the "point and grunt" at SVO when my bag disappeared. What was interesting to me was they were well prepared for this and had a color coded, numbered placard with all types and makes of luggage. Dude said something in Russian, I pointed at bag and color, he filled out a little more, said some more in Russian. Next day someone called me to pick up my bag.

No pictures required! (Although I do really like your idea, just not sure if it would work in a country like Russia.)

Last time I flew somewhere I didnt notice the pretty ribbon my wife tied to the luggage, so I sat at the baggage claim thinking that looks just like my bag but it didnt have a ribbon on. Doh!


Thom n Elena

Arrived Grand Rapids 12/13/06

Finally Home

Married 12/28/06 Husband and Wife finally

AOS

Card Received 7/23/07

Aleksandr arrives 8/29/07 7 lbs 19in

ROC

Filed April 21, Received NOA May 5,2009

Biometrics 7/7/2009

Biometrics Cancelled 6/29/09

Reschedule 7/22/09

Biometrics complete only 2 people in office wifey done in 15 min

Letter received New LPR Card in 60 days WOOHOO!!!!

LPR Card Received

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Luggage looked like it had been attacked with a bayonet.

Now that's serious!

I take pictures of my bag before I check it at the counter at every airport I get it checked. This is very important, in case your bag disappears completely.

I had to do the "point and grunt" at SVO when my bag disappeared. What was interesting to me was they were well prepared for this and had a color coded, numbered placard with all types and makes of luggage. Dude said something in Russian, I pointed at bag and color, he filled out a little more, said some more in Russian. Next day someone called me to pick up my bag.

No pictures required! (Although I do really like your idea, just not sure if it would work in a country like Russia.)

Last time I flew somewhere I didnt notice the pretty ribbon my wife tied to the luggage, so I sat at the baggage claim thinking that looks just like my bag but it didnt have a ribbon on. Doh!

On our last trip to Russia in May-June 2009 we put rainbow colored straps around our luggage (mostly to help keep them from busting open when hurled into the cargo hold or the luggage claim beltway). They also come in handy to identify your luggage. The straps made it through to Moscow on Singapore Airlines and then through Ulan-Ude on Siberian Airlines. Unfortunately somewhere between our Ulan-Ude to Moscow non-stop return flight on Siberian Airlines they were stolen off of both suitcases. Fortunately the luggage was still locked and intact without anything stolen. Go figure! Kind of weird.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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They also come in handy to identify your luggage.

When I was in the Air Force and would go on deployment somewhere we'd all pack our stuff into big green GI bags. Nothing like arriving at the destination and wading through a sea of several thousand identical pieces of luggage trying to find the one that's yours. Those who had brightly colored straps or ribbons or something attached to thier bags (some folks even put silver duct tape designs around theirs) fared slightly better, but then they'd have to wait on the truck until the rest of us finished anyway. Uniformity is cool and all, but not very practical in some instances!

The straps made it through to Moscow on Singapore Airlines and then through Ulan-Ude on Siberian Airlines. Unfortunately somewhere between our Ulan-Ude to Moscow non-stop return flight on Siberian Airlines they were stolen off of both suitcases. Fortunately the luggage was still locked and intact without anything stolen. Go figure! Kind of weird.

They weren't stolen, they were "confiscated" for security purposes.


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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They weren't stolen, they were "confiscated" for security purposes.

Once a friend of mine packed a bottle of Patron tequila I gave her for Christmas. It was "confiscated" somewhere between Memphis and Las Vegas airports. No note of explanation, or anything.


05/04/09 -- K1 visa, NOA-1

09/18/09 -- K1, NOA-2

01/26/09 -- Interview passed in Moscow

03/02/10 -- POE, JFK airport

05/23/10 -- Wedding!

11/16/10 -- 2-year green card approved

04/01/13 -- 10-year green card approved

11/23/13 -- N-400 mailed

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My crazy luggage story was documented here. That was my first trip, and I've been real fortunate not to have had any other interesting luggage-relate stories since then.

The last time I went, my daughter was traveling with us. I had prepared her in advance that "from the minute you step foot in Russia, there's about a 40% chance at any given time that something bizarre will either happen to you, or around you." As we pulled up to the gate, I leaned over to her and said "let the craziness begin!" And sure enough, we wound up sitting at the gate for about 20 minutes because the mobile ladder they hook up to the plane to let people off was broken and they had to go get another one. And over the next week...that's pretty much the most interesting thing that happened. Or, I should say, the most unexpected thing that happened. Every other trip I've taken had surreal moments at least daily, and this trip was like a trip to Chicago or London. Very tame. Not boring by any stretch of course, after all eta Rossiya, but my daughter was understandably a little disappointed. :D

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You'll have to take her again, mox. It's not fair that she visited Russia and got no craziness.


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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There was one interesting moment, where we were in a museum and she (my daughter) was taking pictures. We had paid extra for the little tag that certifies you paid extra to take pictures, but the old woman sitting in one particular room didn't see it because it was covered by her (daughter's) coat. So she's just walking around, I'm on the other side of the room, and the woman starts saying "devoshka, devoshka!" to ask to see her pass. Of course my daughter didn't realize the woman was speaking to her. So by the time she caught up with her, the woman thought she'd been ignoring her, and starts to completely jump her #######. Scared the ####### out of my daughter, who one minute is just blithely snapping photos and the next minute has some old hag in her face. Fortunately we got it all squared away quickly, but the look on my daughter's face was priceless. :D

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Once a friend of mine packed a bottle of Patron tequila I gave her for Christmas. It was "confiscated" somewhere between Memphis and Las Vegas airports. No note of explanation, or anything.

Despite having told her not to place anything valuable inside the checked luggage, my sweetheart decided that she knew better and placed a roll of all her money (don't ask how much, but it was a lot) carefully hidden inside of one of her panties in the bag ... one flight -> Moscow - Antalya

... then in Antalya, when she wanted her money to buy souvenirs, I hear her crying like crazy and asking who could have done it ... she could not understand how somebody could have found and taken her perfectly hidden roll of money, without even leaving any evidence of opening the bag.

Needless to say that she had a rude awakening, and I had a very sad vacation in Antalya :crying:

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