Friday, February 7, 2014
Almost there... with a pleasant experience to boot
My first glimpse of Moscow looked exactly what many people (including myself) figure Russia is like.
As we descended out of the clouds towards the Moscow airport on the Air France flight from Paris, the neighborhoods looked gray, cold and honestly, a little bleak.
And as the plane touched down, it became obvious that it was snowy and windy. I posted a photo of the Moscow terminal online and my cousin Justin’s comment was that it was exactly like every movie scene from Moscow. I have to admit, he was pretty much right on the button.
However, after the long flight from Boston to Paris and then the flight from Paris to Moscow, I was pretty wiped out. I had some fairly big fears about what the Moscow airport experience would be like. I figured it would be a lot like my first look at Russia… gray, cold and bleak.
But, count me pleasantly surprised.
As we left the plane and headed toward the baggage claim area (my bags had to clear customs in Moscow and then be rechecked for the domestic flight for Sochi), there was a group of smiling Russian girls, holding Sochi signs. I showed them my credentials and they directed me through the proper passport checkpoint. On the other side of that checkpoint, there was two more girls with signs and one of them led me to the correct baggage claim area and from there, about four girls led a group of us through the airport from the international terminal to the domestic terminal and right to the ticket counter.
I couldn’t have been more impressed. These girls were smiling and friendly and spoke decent English. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Not knowing what to expect, I walked away from my first experience in Russia with a good feeling.
It goes to show that first impressions aren’t always the best way to judge something.
It is currently 6:35 p.m. in Moscow as I sit in the airport, awaiting my 9:50 p.m. flight to Sochi. As I mentioned above, I couldn't have been more impressed with the experience so far. I had a few issues finding the right gate in Paris, but once I realized I had to get on a train to the gate, I found it without a problem. I was able to get a little sleep on both flights and though my body still feels like it's 9:30 a.m., it's dark here, indicating it is certainly not 9:30...
I am guessing that the local alpine ski teams are about to take to the slopes for their final regular season races... While I love covering ski races each Friday, this experience is certainly going to be high on my list of things I love covering.
The Sochi experience is off to a good start... Here's hoping that that continues when my next flight lands...