jueves, 27 de octubre de 2011

Entering Russia's Backdoor

(click image to enlarge)

Well, well, well… What a stupid idea. But it’s a possible and maybe also a cheap idea also, depending on you needs and pretensions. Have you $600 and time to spent to do all the paperwork? You will get a round trip seat to Providenya fliying 1:00-1:40hs each leg. Put another $400 and you’re in Anadyr in 2:00-2:40hs. Put another $7,200 and you get your own 9-seats Navajo round trip charter to Providenya instead than a seat. If you’ve a heavy load, a Navajo can’t be enough (up to 1400 lbs. all included); you need a King Air (2200 lbs.) or maybe a Raytheon Beech 1900 D (4000 lbs.). And keep an eye watching how much the bill amounts.

But if you’ve $600, you’ve a seat. Round trip to Providenya. Departing from Nome, Alaska, and arriving in Providenya in 0:50 to 1:40 hs. depending on the type of plane the fate has given to you. And you can only arrive to Nome departing from Anchorage daily in Alaska Airline ($450 round trip as of 10/28/2011). And Anchorage can be reached from San Francisco.

The above data was provided to me by Leslie Contreras, Russian Charters, Bering Air, Inc. as of 01/10/2011.

But be cautious: Both Providenya and Anadyr are in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (district). This means you can’t enter with a simple (?) Russian visa. Nope. You must remember that Russia isn’t simply “Russia” but the “Russian Federation”, a complex nest of republics, regions, districts and so. To enter Chukotka you need to fill an Entry Permission Form (Chukotka Pass) in addition to a Russian visa before departure. Be prepared to discuss hard with Boris, filling out forms, correct, resubmit, seal, wait days, back to discuss with Boris, and so on. Remember also that entering Russia and/or Chokotka requires the infamous LOI (Letter of Invitation) depending upon your passport nationality to obtain the visa. That means you need a letter from a registered local (Russian/Chukotkan) company (usually a tourism company). We Argentinians were exempted from such LOI+Visa mess at least for Russia from 2010 on (Thanks Cristina!)

But let us suppose that you took the time and desire to do so and finally got both the Russian visa and the Chukotka Pass, pay the seat in advance, go to Bering air, chat with Leslie, find avail seats and takes off from Nome. What next? Both Providenya as Anadyr are out of any path to anywhere. No a single road arrives or depart from them. Only you can leave it by plane charters, State copters or some supplies trucks that randomly arrives or leaves them.

Is to bear in mind if you really decide to travel this way. If you do it anyway, better not book in advance inflexible dates or inexorable objectives. Be prepared to change plans on the spot. What's better than knowing what you not expected? If you do not like to travel the hard way, think better to fly Aeroflot and book a room at the Kosmos :)

PS: Berin Air fly Magadan and Petropavlovsk also, but I have no fare quoted. You can reach Leslie Contreras in Nome (Bering Air) to update price and conditions at lucy@beringair.com

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