13. Why it’s easier in Russia to drive 10 miles than make a phone call
My connecting flight to Ekaterinburg was at 01h00. According to the document that Dmitriy received my flight was leaving from another airport and not from the Sheremetevo domestic airport. My plane ticket and documents stated Sheremetevo domestic airport. It was still two hours before my flight was leaving and he said we must go to the airport that was indicated on his document. If I had to leave from Sheremetevo domestic airport then we still would have sufficient time to get there. I suggested that we phone but Dmitriy said it was better to go in person and find out. He said that he did not mind to drive all the way. According to him the airports were not far apart from each other and he could use one of the circle high ways around Moscow. I later learned that in Russia it is really easier to get there and find out in person than phone and talk to officials. They just don’t want to help you over the phone! They are too busy for that; they are working and you interrupt their busy working day when you phone with your stupid questions. This is of course if you were lucky enough to get through. Most of the time the phone is engaged, and you will probably spend the same amount of time to just connect to some human being at the other end as on driving there. You can try if you speak good Russian but I did not, so I decided to trust my Russian guide.
On his way to the airport Dmitriy told me that there were six airports around Moscow. The busies one was Sheremetevo and then the one that he was taking me to; I cannot recall the name now. At the airport Dmitriy again did all the talking for me. He managed to find out very quickly that we were at the wrong airport. On our way on the circle high way it was raining and we came across a truck that washed the roads. I was amazed by the fact that it still washed the freeway even when it was raining. Dmitriy’s answer to this was that these people had a job to fulfill at a certain time of the day and they must perform this job at that time irrespective of the whether conditions.
We arrived at Domodedovo domestic airport an hour before the departure time. You also need to know that at Russian airports you should be there at least 45 minutes before the flight. They register you first, and then you go through another gate for the security check and then wait for your plane at the lounge. If you arrive at the airport less than 45 minutes before the flight, the registration desk will be already closed and it may happen you won’t be allowed on the plane at all.
I found out with Dmitriy’s help where to go made the whole process very easy. Twenty minutes before the departure we were called to go through the departure gate. It was my turn to present my boarding ticket and the lady asked me something in Russian that I could not understand. I responded in English but she responded back in Russian. I could not figure out what she was looking for. I accepted that she could not speak English at all and was very uncomfortable because I did not know what to do. Luckily the guy behind me heard everything and in broken English told me that she was looking for my visa and not only my passport, which solved the problem. There and then I realized that it would not be easy without any knowledge of the Russian language.
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