Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
W E DRIVE perhaps fifteen minutes out from the center of Ishim—which didn't look like
much of a center, as it was—and suddenly pull off the two-lane road onto a bumpy path. Our
driver is swerving around what appear to be small factory buildings and abandoned trailers,
then pulls to a stop in front of what resembles a farmhouse. It's a small building with an
A-frame roof.
“David, we're here.”
“Okay, Sergei.”
We pay the driver and pull our luggage along; the roll-aboards are cutting a path through
deep snow.
A pleasant young woman inside the Hotel Tranquility tells us she has a room for two
people, for eight hundred rubles (twenty-seven dollars). She shows us the shared bathroom
and shower in the hallway, then brings us to the room—it is about the size of a second-class
train cabin, with two single beds within spitting distance of each other and a nightstand in
the middle, with a vase of flowers. All I can think is, what an upgrade from our sleeping
quarters last night! I settle in, while Sergei handles the always-elaborate check-in process. I
hear his boots clunking along the empty hallway returning to our room.
“David, we have a problem.”
“What's up?”
“I asked Oksana to register you as a foreigner with the local immigration authorities. She
said she has no idea how to do that.”
“Well, we decided this is important—we need to do it at every hotel, right?”
I am sure it has as much to do with the weather and being tired, but Sergei and I are
both pretty annoyed about this. Perhaps Sergei even more so. He walks back up the hall, and
I hear him speaking—sternly but respectfully—telling Oksana that every Russian hotel is
supposed to be able to do this, and that I could be in big trouble with the authorities if it's
not done. Sergei then returns.
“David, all she can do is talk to the owner. And she gave me the owner's e-mail address.
I will try to e-mail her. Her name is Nadezhda.”
“Great. They have Wi-Fi?”
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