They say it takes half the number of time zones you traveled through to recover from jet lag. Do you think this is true? Nizhny Novgorod to Portland is ten time zones, which would mean five days, but I'm still feeling a little out of sync. And already the whole experience feels more like it happened seven months ago than seven days ago.
The hopscotch trip back, though, was infinitely more pleasant than the non-stop trip there. Since there were five flights, I had planned on one night in a real bed (Aeroflot turned this into two nights). Travel is definitely easier when you're not exhausted and scowling at everyone. This time it seemed like interesting people were everywhere!
Sveta came to the airport with me. She hasn't been on a plane yet, so she's never been to the local airport. This meant, of course, time for one more foto sessiya. ;)
We hung out in a comfy airport coffee shop for a while, watching people carry their luggage out to the parking lot. Two American Intel employees came by, escorted by a local Intel rep. Sveta was super excited- "Did you hear that?! They're speaking English!!"
The Nizhny airport was quite modern and had a very friendly staff. As sacred Russian ремонт tradition dictates, there's massive construction going on as the city prepares for the 2018 World Cup. It looks like the airport will be a lot bigger soon.
After security, there was a long wait at a downstairs gate. As the room filled up, the girl next to me pulled out a foreign passport with a fancy script. "Is that a Georgian passport?" She answered, "No, it's Armenian." And that's how I met an Armenian girl named Qrist. It was one of those random, instant airport meetings. We quickly took selfies together before cramming ourselves on the shuttle out to the plane. I still get anxious about boarding planes in Russia. It's not a safety thing. It's an inability to elbow myself to the front- or even the middle- of the crowd, meaning I'm always one of the last people to board and score overhead luggage space.
Originally, I didn't have any time in Moscow... and that was fine. Moscow is crazy intimidating! But then the airline canceled a flight and suddenly I had a night in Russia's capital. Sorry, no exciting Muscovite tales, though. Got a room, slept, and caught up on work a little.
Speaking of places to stay in Moscow, did you know Sheremetyevo has a capsule hotel on the airport grounds? I would like to try that in the future, but opted for something with a view this time.
The next day, all remaining rubles were exchanged for gifts and one last delicious овощи гриль...
... before getting on the giant Aeroflot plane to New York.
Turns out a day flight across the Atlantic is way nicer than a night flight. Instead of darkness and loud snores, we got two full meals and all the TV we could watch. I had time for four movies! One was even in Russian, based on that game everyone loved to play at Ukrainian parties- Мафия. (Here's the trailer.) My seatmate this time was another New York Russian. She asked if I could cook, then pulled out a picture of her son to see if she could set us up. ;)
|New York, maybe?|
This is probably a not very exciting portion of the trip for most readers, so I'll keep it short. There was one night in New York City that I almost spent at the airport itself. The hotel shuttle never appeared- one hour went by, then the next- and this whole time the woman at the front desk was promising the shuttle was on the way. In fact, the other shuttle drivers started to recognize and greet me on their rounds. It looked like I would stay at the pickup area forever, long enough for the drivers to eventually retire and come back and play checkers with me every afternoon, haha.
And then there was a long flight from Indy (hi Polly!) to Phoenix that left us circling the skies for a while when the Phoenix airport closed because of bad weather. (Cue slight panic.)
A fifth flight (and 2.5 hours of discussing Korean toilets vs. Russian toilets with a seatmate) got me to Portland, the city where a very smart husband had Thai food and lots of fresh vegetables waiting at home!
And yeah, that's it. I feel totally blank at the moment. Going to Nizhny Novgorod was such a big goal- what will take its place now?
In good news, the suitcase passed Return Inspection. (Remember this?) All is well in the Кит world!
Have you ever flown a long distance?
What was your experience like?