Monday, June 16, 2008

Remembering Moscow - Days 1 and 2

I've decided that while we wait for our court date, I'm going to write posts for our first trip on May 10-17. This way, you can read about our trip (even though it happened last month) and more importantly, we won't forget some of the details as time passes.

Our flight left about noon on Saturday and Dick and Ginny (Steve's parents) had the first leg of watching the boys. Our flight itinerary was pretty great because we only had to change planes one time in Washington, D.C., but since we were changing airlines, we had to completely leave security, check in, and re-enter security. Thankfully, the two airlines have a baggage agreement, so our bags were checked all the way through. Also, we had a 4 hour layover so we had plenty of time to do everything. We flew on Aeroflot (Russian airline) to Moscow, which was a new experience for us. With Alex, we flew on Delta, which is the same as flying in the U.S. except it's longer and all the announcements were repeated in Russian. We didn't feel as though we were in Russia until we landed in Moscow. However, this time we felt like we were in Russia as soon as we stepped on the plane. The majority of the passengers were Russian, and when the announcements were repeated in English, the accent was so thick that we understood about every third word. There's something disconcerting about not knowing what the flight crew has said when there is turbulance and the seatbelt sign comes on. The seats were clearly not made for anyone over 5'2" so we had a hard time getting comfortable. I would have read my book, but my light didn't work, so since it was already dark after we finished our meal, my choices were to watch the Russian movie with English subtitles or sleep. Sleep wasn't possible with the small seats, and I could tell the man behind me was just as uncomfortable because I felt his knee in my back every time he moved. We did have two American movies -- Just Like Heaven and Spiderman 3 -- in addition to the two Russian ones, so we passed the time by watching movies and occasionally dozing.

We landed in Moscow around 1:40 on Sunday, and after going through Passport Control and getting our luggage, we met up with Andrei and he took us to our apartment. It was a small apartment, but it had everything we needed including high speed internet, international phone calls, and a DVD player. Here is our living room and kitchen.

We soon discovered that since we bought our DVDs in America, they were Region 1 and this DVD player only played Region 2 DVDs. Therefore, we were glad we had packed some books! After getting settled in our apartment, we walked around and found a supermarket to buy some groceries. We were on our own so after alot of grunting, pointing, and sympathetic smiles, we bought things that looked like cheese, turkey, and salami. I don't think the turkey was really turkey, but it tasted good nonetheless. It's hard feeling illiterate, but that's exactly how we feel over here.

We were getting ready for bed, but the sun just was not going down. It finally set around 9:45, but then the street lights were just about as bright as the sun had been. We ended up sleeping with our eye masks on that we got on the airplane and with earplugs in to cover up the traffic noise -- and all our windows were closed. This is the view from our living room window that first night.

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