a big beautiful mess


It’s not all sunshine and roses in this gorgeous springtime town. I’ve decided last minute to try to visit Randi in Syktyvkar this weekend, which means buying train tickets my own self for the first time in Russia. You can’t do this online, really, because it’s scary, or something, and they might not take my credit card (though that’s unconfirmed). So instead you have to go to a travel agency or a kassa, a kind of Ticket Master Outlet, but for planes and trains. Here’s how that went down today.

I went to the kassa this morning and spent literally an hour standing there while the devushka figured out an itinerary that would get me to Syktyvkar. Then, it turned out I couldn’t buy it without a copy of my visa in addition to my passport, and I’d forgotten my documents at home. I had to run to two other commitments right in a row. I wasn’t really that into either of them (though they both turned out to be interesting/fun), and one of them went an hour longer than expected.

That meant I didn’t leave the library until like 6:20pm, and the girl at the kassa had told me they closed at 8. I took the bus home, grabbed my passport, called a taxi, and took the taxi to the kassa to avoid the traffic jams that the buses always get stuck in. I arrived at the kassa at 7:05 and the devushka was all like, “We only sell train tickets until 7:00. It’s written right here.” And I was like, “You told me until 8:00.” And she was like, “We’ve already closed the cash register.” I was so pissed I just walked out without saying anything else.

Then, still having not eaten anything since breakfast (which explains my rage more than the actual quality of the service), I went to the grocery store. On my way back from the grocery store, a tiny boy on an even tinier bicycle literally ran into me, but he was so adorable as he said “Forgive me, forgive me please!” that all I said was “It’s nothing” even though earlier I’d been rehearsing some serious scolding for some other hooligans on bikes (“You hooligans! Pay attention! There are grownups here!” was the best I could think of that I knew how to say in Russian.)

Anyway, I’m gonna go to the train station itself tomorrow morning to see if I can still buy these tickets, because I’m not going back to that kassa. They wouldn’t even take a credit card.

The end.

Happy picture for an unhappy story. This is the Railroad Bridge, so it's appropriate.


  1. 25 April 2012    

    buying a railway tickets via kassa it is hard for foreign. Devushka from kassa is not like ‘cute girl’, she like ‘Vedma’, and you need think like she: they make me angry, they nothing to understand, Argh.. )) And it can be – they can say one thing, but make some other. In another time, you go to kassa – read ‘working time of kassa’ by yourself. (It’s near window). I try to find ticket using rzd.ru site – it’s impossible to do, so its only way to buy a ticket – go to kassa ))))

    • 25 April 2012    
        haha yes! I had the same feeling! Ничего не получается. Oh well.
  2. 25 April 2012    

    That really brings back memories of travel *cue scary music* behind the Iron Curtain.

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