Well progress continues. I made the last payment on the trip and also sent in the visa application. Today, exactly two weeks later, I received the visa back. Apparently they do not think I'm either a spy or a nuclear weapons engineer or planning to spread a communicable disease. Wooo-hooo. It's getting closer. Nine weeks I think.
So in my head I'm starting to sort out things I need to do. I'm thinking about getting a checking account with ATM card at a second major bank, just to have a second ATM card. I don't know why I would, I never have before, but I think just to have access to a second account would be smart. I'm also considering getting a CapitalOne credit card, because I have read that it does not charge currency conversion fees, which can be exorbitant.
I want to buy a new coat for the trip, something not violently fuschia. I also need to rent a cell phone that will work there. Again, not something I usually do on a trip, but I want to be reachable by, as well as be able to reach, people at home. I can get a very reasonable rate on one using my AAA card.
My pre-trip reading continues. I'm reading Colin Thubron's travel narrative now. It is interesting enough, but he drove around Russia back in the early 80s, so in this book he is encountering just about every conceivable fear or stereotype one might have of Russia. I need to keep reminding myself that that was 30 years ago! He still had fun though.
Finally, I've found the latest spy scandal intersting but more ironic that it would happen now. Honestly, there's been more news about Russia since I booked this trip than I think we've heard in the last 10 years.