Planes, trains and automobiles…oh those Russians!

We have arrived, after 10 very long hours on the plane, in Russia. I’m amazed at how much the airport and the area outside the airport, looks like Pearson in Toronto.

Kindly put, the Aeroflot Boeing 767 that brought us to Moscow as vintage. But not good vintage..rather, the kind of vintage that shows up on the Salvation Army $1 per pound bin.

Seats that have literally seen more butts than the sidewalk outside an AA meeting. Not sure my flotation device/seat would have in any way, shape or form, allowed me to float in the icy Baltic Sea or even provided a modicum of cushioning on the way down.

The cutting edge entertainment? Not a back of the seat media centre but old style screens hung down the centre of the plane. Vintage viewing, The Wedding Singer (circa 1997) followed by a delightful Russian Three Stooges type thing (circa 1978).

I tried to sleep. No such luck.

The food and drink were good, though. If not a little…odd. Coleslaw with my breakfast waffles? A first for me.

But a nice guy with a sign met us at the airport and with only a few words exchanged in strained English and Russian, we followed him into the parking garage and loaded all our possessions into his Hyundai Solstice. Oh the traffic in Moscow! I’ve never experienced anything like it. It took over an hour to travel the 30 km to the Best Western Hotel Vega. And the driver said that wasn’t bad traffic at all.

By North American standards, our room is tiny. Mother has taken over almost every nook and cranny…but has generously left me two small cubbies for my clothes. The size of which pre-school children are allotted for their shoes and mittens.

Tired and hungry we ventured into a Russian market. Everything is behind the counter and everything requires a conversation with the shopkeeper. I think we did pretty well getting our breakfast for tomorrow — oj, milk, buns, yogurt. And all under $10.

Dinner at Subway…despite being in Cyrillic, the logo is eminently recognizable….what of course I failed to remember is that at Subway, you must pick out every single element of your sandwich…in Russian. Crap. Such good fortune that the Asian looking guy working there spoke fairly understandable English. Turns out Subway tastes like Subway, regardless of where you are in the world.

Such a good idea...until we had to order in Russian...
Such a good idea…until we had to order in Russian…

Now that we’ve located the metro station, tomorrow’s adventure is to head downtown to Red Square (I trust the fellow who nailed his testicles to the ground there will be gone by now…) At the moment we’re sort of in the sub burbs — I’ve NEVER seen so many high rise buildings. Literally no one lives in a house or even a town house. All gigantic, grey, oppressive looking buildings — some newer, some very clearly from the Soviet era . Those ones look as the some of the balconies might crumble away at any moment. But downtown, just 5 short subway stops from here, is the Russia we all dream about and recognize.

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