The Gothenburg trip is working out better than planned. At the Russian consulate this morning the man behind the window seemed quite pleased that I spoke Russian, and even smiled and made pleasant small talk, something I never experienced in my many trips to the Russian consular office in Washington. Even better, he said that it would be possible to get my visa tomorrow, rather than having to wait a week. Of course, that was phenomenally expensive, but actually, I don’t know how much it would have been had I waited a week, because on the consulate’s website it listed prices for Swedes only. Prices for Russian visas vary in an incomprehensible way depending on your nationality, the country you’re applying for the visa in, and how fast you want the visa processed. I didn’t want to confuse the issue by doing the price comparison right there in the office, I just wanted to get the visa tomorrow if I could. If I had waited a week I would have had to pay for another trip down here anyway. And worry for a week about whether the visa would be approved or not. Now I only have to worry for a day.

I visited the city library in the hope of finding free wireless internet, and although they had it in theory, I couldn’t find a reliable signal. The library itself was really nice – you would expect no less of Sweden. I found myself surrounded by American students – whether they were in high school or college I couldn’t tell. 

I’ve returned to the hostel where I spent last night. Because it’s so nice, I’ll recommend it: Slottsskogens Vandrarhem

I really like Gothenburg. I like the architecture and the feel of the city, and, as I mentioned, the trams. I think Kostia and I need to look for jobs here.