ahh! we went back to the Russian embassy this morning and saw the visa section. After waiting an hour and a half, they decided that despite what they said a few months ago, they couldn't in fact issue us a Russian Visa.
We e-mailed our travel agent, who suggested that when we get into Beijing she would Fed-EX our documents overnight to Hong Kong and try to get a guy in the other office there to get our visas processed by express service. Unfortunately, all that was going to cost about 180 pounds and we were not guarenteed to get our passports back in time.
Apparently Hong Kong is now just about the only place in the world that will issue a Russian Visa to UK citizens(although the Russians don't tell you that sort of info before you traipse around the world trying to get a visa), as, being an old territory, we are granted 180 days stay on arrival, circumventing the Russian rule that says that an applicant must have the right to spend at least 90 days in the country they are applying in.
But, it's not guaranteed that they will issue the visa in our absence!!!
So it looks like we are off to Hong Kong. We cant go in from China, despite the fact we are currently booked on a flight that lands 10 miles from Hong Kong as we would then use up our Chinese visa getting out of China and couldn't come back in without getting a new visa, which we don't have time for!
Thus, it looks like we are going to have to fly from Bangkok to Hong Kong tomorrow, just to get a Russian visa, then hang around in Hong Kong for a week until we are allowed into China.
A very expensive and time wasting process indeed! Oh well, it wouldn't be as much fun if it was easy!!