Trip Start May 01, 2010
33Trip End Jul 10, 2010
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Well we flew from Heathrow to Moscow in what seemed like a very short 4 hours on an old and dirty British Airways plane. Russian immigration was exactly like I had imagined: huge crowds, no queues and people just pushing everywhere. When we finally got to the front, we were barely given a glance by the depressed looking immigration officials before they stamped our passports. All that work to get our Russian visas and they couldn't care less!
From the beginning we could tell that travel in Russia would be hard compared to our other destinations. From the moment we got off the plane we were hassled by men asking if we wanted a taxi (Although not as bad as some other countries). Usually the taxi drives at least pester you in English but not here in Russia. They just keep pestering you in Russian even though it is obvious you can’t speak Russian and don’t want a taxi! I managed to buy train tickets for Ly and I (Even while buying train tickets I was still hassled by taxi drivers) and we got on a train we thought was the right one. There are very few signs here and even less that show English. In fact, outside the airport you won’t really see any English. After being feasted on by hard core Russian mosquitoes (bitten through two layers of clothing!) the train arrived in Moscow.
It seems almost no-one here can speak or even understand basic English, even the young people. After walking down some dark Russian streets for a while we found our hotel just before midnight. Obviously I must have looked extremely awkward carrying the luggage because we were given a hotel room for disabled guests. This meant the shower flooded everything (no walls around shower) and the toilet seat was no existent. At least we had plenty of space and a seat in the shower!
I ventured out to find us some food. There are small food stands / grocery stalls everywhere and they seem to be open most of the night. They are very small but packed with stock mainly made up of snacks, beer and fast food. Even though it was around midnight there was still lots of people hanging around on the street smoking and talking in small groups. Ordering without Russian was awkward but I ended up with a beer, a Russian pastry sort of like a sausage roll / pasty called a çibörek which I have had before in Australia and a sort of coleslaw burrito with Russian sour cream. Oh and the driest chicken skewers I’ve ever eaten, all micro waved. Not the tastiest start to Russia but glad to be somewhere new none the less.
Hope your dinner was better than ours!
Daniel + Ly