Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moscow

We left Kyiv at 7:00 pm on 25th and crossed the border into Russia, stopping for Immigration at 1:00 am on 26th. So we could have left a day earlier. Our best information was that if we left on 24th we would hit Russian immigration at 11:30 pm, which was 30 minutes before my visa was good on 25th. They could have refused me entry, kicked me off the train, if they wanted to be ignorant about it. Ignorant being the prime requirement for duty as an immigration officer in all countries, we decided not to risk it. Better a day late than kicked off the train.

We got to Moscow at 9:00 am, checked our bags and killed time till 1:00 when we went to meet our friend Galina who teaches English at an Institute near a metro stop so was easy to get to. After coffee, we went to her Institute and met some of her colleagues and students, then headed for the airport at 4:30, via Metro and Express train.
Moscow has a huge metro system with quite a number of fabulously decorated stops. It is a tourist attraction in its own right. But also complicated to get around on if you are not familiar with it. We took 40 minutes by non-stop train from the Metro to the Domodedevo Airport.

The last time I was in Domodedevo Airport was 1991 on my way to Kazakhstan with Tim Marshall, Sydney Palmer and several others on my first international venture. Tim had warned us about Domodedevo. Imagine a bus depot in the poorest part of a big city and you are close. Air and rail travel cost the same in Soviet times so planes were full and anyone who could get a seat could afford to fly. Bus depot, full of bus people. And a toilet to discourage anyone from any unecessary calls of nature. Imagine the worst outhouses ever and multiply the smell and filth by 10 or 20. Tim just laughed at us. There were no seats in the waiting area, so we sat on our bags. No plane, so we slept on them too. Five hours late we were finally in the air, about 4:00 am. Soviet flights were at night, so no one could see anything out the windows. Security you know.

Today, Domodedevo is a shiny new international airport of world standards and world scale. In all respects. Our plane left at 10:30 and by 7:30 am we were in Krasnoyarsk. Five hours flying and four hour time change. Valerie and Luda were waiting for us. It took an hour to get our bags, an hour to drive from airport to the city and an hour to get my presence registered by a hotel at the local OVIR so I met the terms of my tourist visa. Then off to Abakan.

6 comments:

  1. Well, seems like you had a good beginning.

    "Five hours flying and four hour time change." Sounds like Canada.

    So the airport wasn't a plain box painted gray. That's an improvement.

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  2. Pretty picture. Sorry I missed your call the other day.

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  3. Nice photo of the Moscow Metro. I understand there's a private train and tracks somewhere down there that the leaders used during the war.

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  4. That is THE most beautiful architecture I have ever seen! From an old woman who got lost in Tampa for a few days, I cannot imagine what country I would eventually end up in if I traveled like you do. Tanya is the GPS in your life.

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  5. Tanya truly is the GPS of my life. My Navigator. In so many ways.

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  6. HAPPY CANADA DAY (even if you're not in Canada -- especially if you're not in Canada!).

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