13 August, 2005

A Russian honeymoon and an immigration office

My wife calls this a typical Russian honeymoon:

In case you can't tell, I'm sawing wood for her parents' garden. The white thing on my head is a bandana to protect my forehead from the sun.

We arrived in New York a couple of days ago. The worst part of the trip was Immigration; riding Czech Airlines (excellent!) we were unlucky enough to arrive after planes from Moscow, Berlin, and Rome, and just before a plane from Jordan. First we had to wait for scads of Europeans to go through the non-US citizen line; then, because of the visa, we had to go to the special immigration office so someone could fill out some paperwork (they've had her paperwork for months, so who knows why). While we were waiting in the immigration office, a lot of Arabs came in after us, and they were obviously mad, because they were worried about catching connecting flights. Many, however, were high enough priority to receive attention before we did, so we had to wait two hours. I suppose some of these Arabs had names that were confused with names on a terrorist watch list; I know that others had lost their green cards; etc. One of them tried to bribe an immigration officer, and not very subtly either: Can I do anything to speed up the process? anything? Yes, sir; you can wait your turn like everyone else, so that we can do our work. That remark, along with the indefatigable humor of some employees made me proud to be American.

I can't fault the Arabs much for their annoyance, though: most of the immigration officers did seem to be working as slowly as possible. Some of them were eating junk food, standing around, talking, and yucking it up, etc. Don't get me wrong: they were working alright, but it was a rather leisurely approach to work.

As expected when one travels from one country to another, one of us has acquired a rough case of travel sickness: me. Apparently my body didn't like something I ate in a restaurant (crepes, I think), so I was running to the bathroom all day yesterday. My wife and her (our) son are just fine, except for the heat, humidity, and the smell of America. Apparently America smells different from Russia; maybe it's the plants. (Yes, a son: this was a buy one, get one free deal.)

Now that I'm married and gainlessly employed, I won't be blogging quite as frequently as I might like, but service has resumed, more or less :-) I want to write something about life in Russia, and I prepared a draft, but it needs work.

I'm a little worried about health insurance for the next two weeks, though. My employment health insurance won't kick in until 1 September, so none of us can get sick until then. Oh, wait — I already have gotten sick...

1 comment:

qkl said...

Don't tell them till the first... :}