Friday, January 15, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears... part two

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
Okay, so we're waiting at the airport for our flight to board. Like I said, it's a nice new airport with A/C and a relatively clean potty, so I'm pretty happy. It's started to rain outside, so now we're getting nervous about the flight leaving on time. That fear will be re-visited several times in the next few hours......

Right on time they start boarding the flight. Now we've read all about the crazy rush to get on the plane, so we're cool, we wait for the first mass of humanity to jam themselves on the little bus. We walk over and get right onto the second bus. It's at this point that we notice that all the rain has done was turn the atmosphere into some semblance of Vietnam... hot as heck and humid. Now factor in the Russian dislike of bathing, fondness for wearing the same clothes for days in a row and the relative underuse of deodorant.

Oh yeah... it's like a baaaaaddddd deodorant commercial. Armpits raised high, funk floating around and we sit on the tarmac in the little bus as the windows fog. The driver hollers something in Russian and we take off for the plane. The a/c on the bus cycles for about 15 seconds and then we're there. We run across the tarmac to board. We've been warned the plane is small and space is tight. They weren't kidding. Add a little oil and we're like sardines in there... knees jammed against the seat in front, cheek by jowl with your fellow passenger.

We're in the plane and we're waiting... and waiting.... and waiting. No one tells us why. Why would they? 
 As we wait, there is no air. None. Nothing coming from the little blowers over our heads. I'm sweating like no woman should while I'm sitting still. One and one half HOURS later... I've sweated off at least ten pounds. My husband makes the comment that all we need is a few birch branches to flay ourselves with and we've got a nice, if not smelly, Russian sauna!

We take off and head for Kemerovo. The air comes on, the plane cools down, life is better. I lean down to get something out of my bag. Right, I didn't really lean down... I just mooshed my face into the seat in front of me and flailed blindly in the direction of my bag. As I'm leaning I smell something absolutely appalling.... it's ME!! Dear God!!

One thing I give Siberian Air full credit for is the food. Dinner on the flight was absolutely delicious!! I had the fish. Yep, that's right folks, I had FISH on Siberian Air. It was awesome!! We adjust our watches another four hours ahead... now we're a full twelve hours off our time zone, and feeling every minute of it.

As we land in the airport, and trust me when I tell you that airport is a fairly generous description of the building, we see this little metal shed. This shed is baggage claim. This is also the first time our luggage is inspected by anyone, and she took her job VERY seriously. We meet our coordinator and head for the hotel. I don't think I mentioned that the flight left at around 11:30pm Moscow time and now it's 7:30 am Kemerovo time. We're due at the orphanage in an hour and a half. I smell like I've been cleaning road kill off an Arizona highway, and DH is still sweating like some sort of farm animal!!

Off to the hotel we go.....


  1. Totally cracking up over here! We flew to Izhevsk and the whole plane meory came rushing back. Poor Troy got jabbed in the sides constantly by some dude who insisted on keeping both elbows up on the armrests and pointing them out. And the metal shed...yes I remember thinking "Did they just take us hostage and land us somewhere strange?"

    So glad you made it safe!!!

  2. Soooo glad we got the "new" Siberian Airline planes. Nice and comfy with the same great food! I couldn't believe that hole in front of the shed was where they shoved the lugguge onto the conveyor belt inside.

    When we arrived in Kemerovo so EARLY last December morning, it was still pitch black outside and -27 degrees. The shuttle bus had no heat and was blarring Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" on the radio. That song was been burned into my memory and will forever conjur up memories of the sight (and smells) of Russian armpits in the cold, dark, snowy twilight!