I’ve talked to the Russian Consular in Seattle, United Airlines, and a Russian man in Moscow with decent English.
I have a confirmed (but not booked) flight from Seattle to Dulles (UA916) to Moscow (UA964) leaving at 7:30am on June 2nd and arriving at 10:45am on June 3rd…15 travel hours later.
I also have the return leg booked (a la “Open Jaw” magic) from Frankfurt to Chicago (UA945) to Seattle (UA929) leaving at 8:25am August 3rd and arriving at 2:24pm August 3rd…13.5 travel hours later.
All for the low, low cost of $95.00 plus 105k airline miles 🙂
As for actually getting into Russia, the process goes something like this:
Figure out dates to be in Russia
Find hostel that will issue you a tourist voucher and confirmation
Book hostel and acquire tourist voucher
Fill out Russian Visa application form
Turn in original passport, a xerox-copy of it’s vital pages, the original tourist invitation voucher, one passport size picture of applicant (that would be me), a cover letter explaining who is going, where to, when, and with what purpose
Pay $131.00 for 6 day processing (cheapest)
I currently still think it’s worth it to go to Russia. But there sure are a lot of hoops to jump through. I currently have an email into the HM Hostel Moscow (US$36.05/night) in Moscow and I may end up contacting the Olimpia Hostel (US$17.35/night).
Chicago1 was awesome. I drove out with my Uncle Kit on Thursday and we got in Friday night. The was pretty much uneventful, lots and lots of flat land. We did stop by the Mississippi and take a picture!
We spent most of Saturday working on building a bookshelf, with a side trip to buy a $102 extension cord. The extension cord was actually only $7, the pet rabbit and cage was $95.
We went into Chicago proper on Sunday. I saw The Bean (aka Cloud Gate) and we stopped at Wired’s NextFest. Giordano’s World Famous Stuffed Pizza for lunch. We made a quick stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art before heading back.
On Monday, I rode the L the airport (took about two hours :-/). Not entirely sure where I’m going, I walked over to a United Departure screen and looked to see what gate my flight was departing from: Gate B17.
I go to the ticket kiosk and get my ticket, which says gate C25. So, thinking that the gate was updated, I went to gate C25. I get there and the gates been changed, predictably. So I check the monitor again: Gate B17. So I walk over towards gate B17. I get to about Gate B10 when I realize that I’m an idiot! I’m not flying to Seattle, which is what Gate B17 was for, I’m flying to Denver! So I go back to the monitor and the flight to Denver is at Gate B22; disaster averted.
Fall break is in a few days I’m taking off to visit Chicago. Well, actually Evanston, “an affluent suburban Chicago municipality on Lake Michigan on the North Shore in Cook County, Illinois directly north of the City of Chicago.”
My good friend, and fellow Miner, Ben and his girlfriend, Kim, have taken up residence there as Ben earns his Ph.D at Northwestern University.
What does this mean for you? Absolutely nothing.
For me, though, it will be a welcome reprieve from the life of a college student in a town where the stops lights change to flashing yellow at 9pm (no joke).
Any suggestions on what to see or do while I’m in the Windy City?