The birth certificate I ordered for my passport reminded me that my father was 27 when I was born. My oldest son is now 27. By the time he was my younger son’s age my father had been to war in the South Pacific, gone to college on the GI Bill, married my mother, and was expecting my older brother. The WWII veterans were in a hurry after the war.
I need visas for China, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Russian Federation. Each poses bureaucratic challenges. Russia’s requirements are particularly Byzantine:
Under Russian law, every foreign traveler must have a Russian-based sponsor, which could be a hotel, tour company, relative, employer, university, etc. Even if you obtained your visa through a travel agency in the United States, there is still a Russian legal entity whose name is indicated on your visa and who is considered to be your legal sponsor. … If the sponsor named on your visa is not the person or entity you intend to visit, you may encounter problems with Russian immigration authorities.
I plan to take the Trans Siberian Railway – is that my sponsor? The Railway’s website header greets the visitor with this:
Seeing new cities and meeting new peoples is one of the joys of travelling … This phrase is ascribed to Genghis Khan (Temüjin)
Genghis Khan’s propensity for the “systematic slaughter of civilians” in the regions he conquered makes him an unexpected choice for Russian travel industry spokesman. Who knew Russian officialdom had a sense of humor?