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If you are going to another destination from Moscow, it is highly likely that you will be taking a train.  I went from Moscow to Yoshkar-Ola, and there is about a one hour ride from the airport to the train station.  The train is another 15 hours.  The chances are slim that anyone else on the train will speak English, unless you are lucky enough to meet another English speaking person before you board the train.

Make sure that you have taken with you some house shoes or bedroom slippers, as it is considered impolite to enter another’s home without removing your shoes.  On the train, sharing you compartment with other Russians is just like entering their house, so you take your shoes off in your train compartment too.  On a train, you can travel either in a private car, which is very expensive.  You can travel in a first class compartment, which cost $110.00 when I went, including dinner.  (If you go through a travel agency, you pay more for the ticket.)  I was fortunate enough to have friends in Russia that purchased my train tickets ahead of my arrival.

In a first-class compartment, you may share it with up to three other people.  There is a door to close the compartment; however, there is no gender separation in the compartments, so you may be sharing sleeping space with members of the opposite sex.  You can also travel in an open berth, which is less expensive, but you do not have any door to separate your compartment from any other compartments on the train.  My Russian friends here in America warned me to be careful on the train of strangers who might try to rob me, but I had no problems (other than the language barrier), on the train.

If you have been to Russia and have already met a lady, you might want to travel in a deluxe compartment.  This is a compartment for only two people, but it is considerably more expensive.  Also, if you travel around a major holiday, such as New Years and Christmas all the prices for train tickets are increased.

If you travel after the Christmas/New Years Holidays, into late January and February, you will probably save a lot of money on airfare, train tickets, etc.  Just be prepared for the cold.  When I was there in January the temperature was consitently -10ۜ°C to -15°C, and it got as cold as -29°C during my stay there.  Make sure you have a warm hat, a warm scarf, and warm gloves.
If you don’t know where you are supposed to get off of the train, make sure you know enough Russian to ask one of the attendants to tell you when you are at your stop. If you don't know any Russian, it would be a good idea to learn some ahead of time.  Click on this hypertext link for Russian Language Courses. Fortunately, once the train arrives at Yoshkar-Ola, it goes no further, so it was easy to know when my stop was.  (I also learned enough Russian to ask the lady sitting across from me in my compartment.)

So, now you are in Russia, and you are in the native city of the lady you have come to meet, so what do you expect now?  Maybe she is meeting you at the train station, but if you are smart, you are meeting more than one lady on your trip if it is your first trip.  It would be better to have an interpreter from one of the agencies meet you at the train station.  You might be staying in a hotel or an apartment.  I would recommend an apartment, because then you have your own refrigerator and stove, and can prepare meals at home instead of having to eat all your meals out.  If your lady(s) is/are good women, they will be happy to cook some of your meals for you.

So, maybe your first stop on your arrival at your destination city should be the supermarket.  Be advised that in rural areas not many businesses accept credit cards.  There are ATM machines at many banks and in many supermarkets and restaurants though.  But, don’t expect to use an American Express card anywhere.  Yes, you CAN leave home without it!!!!!

Not ALL ATM or Check cards can be used at ATMs in Russia, so first off make sure you can use your card there.  Second off, make sure that you notify your bank that you will be in Russia and will be using your card there.  If you don’t, and you use an ATM it is highly likely that your bank will close down your account and you won’t be able to make any more withdraws until you contact them.

Some personal observations that I would like to share with you now, are these:  If you are over 50 and expecting a lady under 35 to have a genuine interest in you, you better be either extremely rich or extremely handsome.  The reality is that Russian women are looking for men relatively close to their own ages, unless all they are looking for is a sugar-daddy.  A 10 or 12 year difference is not so unreasonable, but a 50 something man who is looking for a 20 something bride, is likely to be very disappointed.

I hate to tell you how many 50 something men I have written to that were so certain that some 20 something Russian girl was in love with them,  when all the girl was trying to do is get him to send her as much money as she could before she disappeared into thin air.  Be REALISTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One big difference between Russian women and American women, is that they walk a lot, so they are usually in good physical condition.  Many Russian women who are over 40, do not look like they are much over 30.  Now, you should be practiced on your chivalrous habits.  A Russian lady would like for you to treat her as if she is your princess.  However; they are not too big on PDA’s (Public Displays of Affection), so don’t expect to be sucking face with her in the middle of a busy street.

You should have a good awareness of Russian (Recommended Readingcustoms too.  If you are blessed to have your lady cook for you, if there are any foods that you can’t eat tell her ahead of time.  If she cooks something and you don’t eat it, she will be insulted.  Never turn down an alcoholic drink unless it is for health reasons.  Russians are very big on Vodka and Champagne.  If you are drinking Vodka, it is likely that your drinking companions will drink until the bottle is empty.  One thing you can do to prevent yourself from over-indulging, is to fill your glass with water when no one is paying attention.  But, make sure that you use bottled water.  I don’t recommend drinking the water anywhere in Russia, except maybe for coffee and make sure it is totally boiled.

Here are some things that you should NOT do while in Russia:

  1. Don’t whistle in the house.
  2. Don’t shake hands across the threshold.
  3. Don’t wear your shoes in the house (or in your sleeper car on the train).
  4. Don’t refuse to drink with your Russian friends.  (If you are worried about consuming large amounts of Vodka, when your friends aren’t looking fill your vodka glass with water.)
  5. Offer your lady your hand getting in and out of the taxi, trolley-bus, etc.
  6. Help your lady on and off with her coat/jacket.
  7. Carry the bags for you lady, but don’t ever twist the handles of the bags together.(These ladies always save those plastic bags.)
  8. Don’t allow the bottoms of shoes to be able to be seen.
  9. Don’t visit your lady and/or her relatives without bringing a small gift.
  10. Don’t cross streets against the traffic signals.
  11. Don’t forget to register with the police or post office when you arrive at your final destination.  You have 3 days from the time you arrive in Russia to do this.
 So, maybe now you have met the lady of your dreams and you have decided to propose.  Think about this seriously, because it is going to cost you a lot of money.  You will probably need assistance from either an immigration attorney or someone who is familiar with the process to fill out the paperwork.  This is going to cost around $500.00 or more.  Filining the papers with USCIS is going to cost another $455.00.  Be prepared for unexpected obstacles.  Keep in mind that some Russian ladies are very desperate for a better life, and they might not tell you everything that there is to tell.  What you don’t’ know CAN hurt you.

After I made a proposal and had returned to America after my second trip, I had some surprises thrown at me out of left field.  I learned that my lady had come to the United States four years earlier and gotten married.  She realized that she made a big mistake, and her husband was abusive.  After only three months she left him, and within four months she was back in Russia.  That in itself would not have been so bad, but she did not get divorced before she left.  That also, would not have been such a big deal, but her former husband got remarried (yes he was a bigamist), moved to China, and then died.  We don’t have a definitive outcome to our difficulties yet, because now we need to provide legal documentation that she is a widow.  The only way to do that is to send a copy of her marriage license to the American Embassy in China and request a “Consular’s Report on the Death of an American Citizen While Abroad.”  Now, the two problems that still confront us, is that the court in the county in which they were married in America can not find their marriage license, and if the fellow renounced his American Citizenship the American Embassy may not have a record of the death. 

Update on the above:  After locating someone that knew my wife's previous husband who had information regarding his last known address in China, I wrote to the American Embassy closest to the area in which he had been living.  I explained in detail the reason that I needed the "Consular's Report on the Death of an American Citizen While Abroad, " and fortunately, within a few weeks I received via Federal Express the document that I had requested.  That was the final obstacle in preparing the K-1 Visa paperwork, and everything from there proceeded smoothly.

So, take my advice and QUESTION, QUESTION, and QUESTION.  Make SURE she has never been married in the USA or any other country other than Russia before.  Just the documentation she will need from Russia will be enough work to get together.  She will need a birth certificate, divorce decrees or death certificates (to prove she is free to marry), passport, photos of the two of you together within the past two years, letters between the two of you, telephone records, plane tickets, train tickets, etc.  Save anything and everything that proves that you have been together in person.

Now, I am sure that your are thinking the woman that you are corresponding with is very beautiful.  Guess what, so do lots of other men.  The chances are that she is writing to many other men, not just you.  So, if you make a plan to go and meet her in Russia, HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t stress this enough.  You know, everything might always sound great when you are writing, but writing isn’t the same thing as a personal meeting.  You might both think your eyes will meet the first time, and it will be instantaneous love.  It might be, but it might NOT be either.  Be prepared for both the best case scenario and the worst case scenario, because you don’t want to spend all your time in a strange country all by yourself.  If things don’t click, there are TONS of other woman.  Maybe you won’t make your love connection, but you should have no problem getting plenty of dates.  Just be aware that you will have to pay for interpreter costs during your dates in most cases.

You May find it helpful to read the eBook "How to Find and Marry a Woman Like Me" written by a Russian woman to help foreign men understand what it takes.

Don't forget the possibility of Ukrainian Girls too!!!!

I offer you my best wishes for your success in your quest.

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