due to complications i'd rather not go into, i wasn't able to leave vlad like i thought i would this week. so we'll see what happens in the upcoming week. everything leading up to my departure was preplanned well in advance, however i let one detail go unchecked and it cost me when i tried to go through immigration. but through the whole process of leaving the country for vacation, i have to say i felt more frustrated with myself than anyone else.
so after my visa problem, i started working damage control. i was still at the airport. i had to grab my checked bags, change my ticket, work out the details on my visa, find a phone, and get a ride back home. getting my bags was no problem since i had my claim check. after that i walked outside to think for a minute and find a phone. a taxi pulled up and the driver asked if i needed a ride. i knew i would but wasn't ready to leave yet. my first mistake was asking how much to go back to the city. he was a little too quick with the reply and said "2000 roubles" which works out to $80US. i thanked him and passed. unfortunately, he wanted to haggle. now i was not only upset i wasn't on a plane for the states, but now had to deal with a cabbie that followed me on foot everywhere i went. after several minutes of me looking for a public phone i happened to walk by someone speaking english. i asked if i could make a local call to my office. they lent me the phone and i put a call into work. after telling work what had happened, i also asked what's the going rate for a cab from the hotel. 750 was a rate used by the hotels, but i knew that was a deal between the cabbies and the hotel. so the next time i bumped into my cabbie (i didn't have to go far) i told him i pay only 1000 or $40US. i should mention here that the cabbie didn't speak english so i have only been speaking in russian. well, 1000 wasn't the answer he wanted to hear and he began the argument anew with the cost of benzine and parking fees. after awhile it dawned on me that 1000 was going to be fine, if it was that much of an insult he would have walked away long ago. i even asked another cabbie for a quote and got the standard 2000, so much for competition. the bus is only 70 ($3US) but would take a couple hours. the cab ride would take an hour. as i started contemplating the bus, the cabbie finally said ok, 1000. i didn't believe him and thought there's gotta be a catch. maybe i'll get halfway home and he'll ask for more. well, i had to get a ride eventually so i agreed. after i got in the cab with my bags, i realized i hadn't changed my ticket yet. now i'd have to get the cabbie to come with me or haul my bags back to the korean air counter. it was easier to just tell him i forgot something with my ticket and we needed to go see them. fortunately, i caught a break and found the same woman from KA that helped translate between immigration and myself eariler. she changed the ticket to a later date and i was off with the cabbie again.
the last item to figure out was telling the cabbie where i needed to go. i gave him one of the hotels as a reference and as we got into the city, i said i want to go to a different destination instead. he was a bit confused but i got the point across that i would just show him with saying left or right in russian. since my street is an unpaved road, not many cabs know where it is. so it's easier to go with the main road and then just tell a driver where to turn.
i finally made it home. the driver tried once last time to ask for 1200. but i said no 1000 was all i agreed to pay. what i paid him would net him at least 4-5 round trips to the airport for more fares. so he was doing alright.
after i dropped my bags off at home, some friends, understanding my disappointment, took me out for a few beers and i got to take my mind off the problem for awhile.