International Jet Set Woman (Not)

I am quite the global chick these days. I’m like…International Jet Set Woman, only without the jet setting part. I merely deal in phone and email terms with the rest of the world while sitting in a cold, although pleasantly lit, New York office while occasionally venturing out to Embassies (or liquor stores).

For instance, yesterday I had to arrange a bunch of stuff with someone in Brazil, convey the information I gleaned from them to people in London (Hi London!) and then work out a bunch of visa stuff with our Moscow office. Can I just say now that I am humbled and grateful beyond belief that we native English speakers are as supremely arrogant as we are in forcing the world to speak our language, because while I could mumble through in French or really stilted Spanish (providing they like salty phrases and things like “the postman is called Juan. Here is Juan!”), my Portuguese is a bit on the rusty side in that I know exactly two words in Portuguese – one is “thank you” and the other wouldn’t be of much use in polite company, but is of paramount importance when driving on Portuguese highways. I can read Russian (although I have no idea what I am reading) and I know a few useful but again, not really eloquent, phrases I learned on a drunken evening in St. Petersburg – I said that like there is any other kind.

Now two of my bosses are heading off to Russia in early 2008 for some meetings. And probably copious amounts of vodka strong enough to sterilize a truck-stop toilet, although I didn’t actually see that on the itinerary.

Naturally, to prepare for this trip they need things like visas and in order to procure these visas, as well as requiring a letter of invitation from someone in our Russian office, Russia would like us to provide them with some DNA, the entire Sopranos box set on DVD, someone’s first born son and maybe some planes that don’t crash. Because really? Tupolevs? Not even if I was high on crack.

And that’s just for a single entry visa. For a multi entry visa you better have a damn good reason why you’d want to enter the country more than one time, comrade and then be prepared to be interrogated at the Russian Embassy by Mr. Big (first name “Boris”) in a sparse, gray room lit only by a bare light bulb. If they don’t like you you’ll still get the visa, but the condition is you’ll have to fly on Aeroflot – the only airline that requires you be hammered before boarding (this also applies to the pilots incidentally) and have a screw driver on your person at all times in case the wings should come loose during the flight.

Honestly, the questions on the form are pretty funny. It’s all “Where will you be going, staying, who will you be seeing, why are you seeing them, will you steal our big, fur hats and what will you be watching on our 1970s black and white state of the art television sets?”

As a side note, I worked for a month in Latvia in 1994 when I was still young and relatively innocent and my hotel room featured a TV from about 1967 that got one channel, was black and white and grainy, you had to arrange an antenna on the window sill to pick up that one channel and the TV didn’t have a stand. It had LEGS. And buttons. That you turned to switch it on. Insane. I had a room next door to a Latvian prostitute who had her TV on 24/7, so on reflection maybe it just wasn’t the best hotel. She once smiled at me in the corridor, said something incomprehensible and gave me a rhinestone hair clip. I never quite got what that was about…but I digress.

International Jet Set Woman needs lunch. And maybe a keg under the desk and a very long straw.

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12 Responses to “International Jet Set Woman (Not)”

  1. Suze Says:

    You are absolutely hysterical. If Russia needs anything else besides DNA, I would be willing to offer up my boss as collateral.

  2. The Guv'ner Says:

    We should send all our bosses to Russia. Siberia in particular would be nice. For an “extended work period” lasting about six years. I’d be willing to start a union for that…. 🙂

  3. pistols at dawn Says:

    Do you think that woman’s still in the hotel? I hear once you go Latvian prostitute, you never go back.

    That rhymes in my native language.

  4. The Guv'ner Says:

    I believe even your standards are a little higher than that particular girl, however I can give you the number if you’re desperate! or in the market for some rhinestone accessories. Which I know you usually are.

  5. Leonesse Says:

    Latvia sounds like such a wonderful place full of interesting people who give you things. It is the total opposite of where I live.

  6. The Guv'ner Says:

    I liked it a lot. It was honestly one of the weirdest places I have ever been (and I’ve been to Los Angeles!) It was a culture shock in the beginning but then I loved it. After I worked the month I continued traveling through Estonia and Helsinki and went back to Latvia on my way south again. I really did like it. Lithuania too. I’m sure they’re more “western” these days though. Couldn’t understand a DAMN thing anyone said however…

  7. WendyB Says:

    HEY EVERYBODY! Kegger under Guv’ner’s desk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. The Guv'ner Says:

    Dude, if I get in in the morning and my keg is gone, there will be TROUBLE, WendyB!

  9. The Idea Of Progress Says:

    I never thought of installing a keg under my desk–I have room for maybe two. That way I can have some variety.

    You are invited to my desk party..

  10. The Guv'ner Says:

    Why, thank you! I already like your desk VERY MUCH. Two kegs! That’s EXTRAVAGENT!

  11. gizmorox Says:

    Obrigado! That’s the only word I know in Portugese as well. I have similar random foreign word skills. I can say “I like” and “I don’t like” in Russian. I can count to four in Japanese! I’ll get far 😉

  12. The Guv'ner Says:

    I have made a friend of the girl in our Brazilian office and she’s taught me a few actually useful phrases so I can honestly say I know maybe…ten now. So long as someone wants to know who I am, how I am or “hugs” “Kisses” or “It is hot!” I’ll be set! :):)

    Most languages I can swear quite proficiently in. I feel that’s the most necessary requirement. That and “Where can I get cake?”

    Obrigado for the comment, hun!

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