Saturday, 2 May 2009

Of shoes and ships and Apostilles, of ribbons green and seals...

Monday morning at the Notary - when someone says to you 'We've been here for 40 years and we know what we are doing' but very clearly doesn't, there is the making of early disaster .Sergei, my friendly translator, who knew exactly what was required, was polite, precise and ultimately abused by the front office staff and we left - not without dudgeon - never even getting to speak to the Notary. An astonishing experience.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), on the other hand, our next stop, were competent, efficient, friendly and helpful despite there being only one official dealing with a big queue and complex issues - and several languages. The necessary Apostille was applied and ready by special request at 0830 on Tuesday.

Later on Tuesday morning getting the documents stamped by the Russians became another interesting lesson in perseverance, patience, politeness and persistence. A huge misunderstanding nearly clobbered the whole venture without even the tiniest box ticked - the difference between 'certification' (impossible without paying $40 per page for translating 60 odd pages of what is already translated...) and 'legalisation' - a simple matter of running down the street to the bank to get not insignificant cash to pay the fee and then waiting while the DFAT Apostille was 'legalised' with appropriate stamps and green ribbons. And a delighted and happy smile - which made my day - from the official who first misunderstood but listened and it became possible.

I watched a couple of other Australians - young and arrogantly assertive - pass through the same room and leave, abusive, in anger and frustration because they had not done their homework and expected the officials to do it for them.

The photos show the application - supporting letter in Russian and English, the full English texts and the Russian translations with 5 copies of each - one for me and the rest for Moscow - and some of the seals, the DFAT Apostille and Russian legalising stamps. About 2 month's work and lots of thanks to RORC and everyone else who helped, especially Sergei, who translated with meticulous attention to the precise meaning of the technical bits and Ian here in Okehampton who did the copying this morning with enormous care.

That seems to be the first box ticked. Now to get it all to Moscow and wait. And wait some more. A courageous bet might be even money from here.

Meanwhile, there is Berrimilla's internal ecosystem to be harvested and removed and the rest of the list to be sorted before we can launch.

I'll keep y'all posted.