Leaving Russia

Sunday, August 27, 2017
Roissy-en-France, Île-de-France, France
Today our flight departure was 2:05 pm, so we didn’t have to rush in the morning. Our stomachs were still unsettled from the night before, but it was manageable. I ate very sparingly at breakfast but was fascinated to watch the morning news in Russian, especially to see how heavily the military was portrayed in the news lineup. A new machine-gun was featured, fighters and bombers at work and so on. The military music festival, the preparations for which we had seen in Red Square, had started yesterday, and that was also prominently featured.
The electronic swoosh transition from one story to another featured a fighter plane screaming past. This is a militarized society.
We packed our bags, checked and rechecked our affairs, and I checked out a settled our account. At 11:00 we caught a taxi to the airport. Our driver’s name was Anatoli, and for the first time we had a driver who spoke workable English. So we enjoyed talking to him about life in Moscow. He was a business man who’d been wiped out by a bank failure, so he was starting over, driving for Uber as he tried to build up again. He explained some of the difficulties small business people faced. We discussed tourism and the origins of current visitors (mostly Chinese), and how he had managed to learn English. He was better educated than average which explained much. He was very pleasant and thoughtful in his comments so the drive to the airport passed quickly.
On arrival at Sheremetyevo, I gave Anatoli a tip, and we walked to the Aeroflot counters and checked in. I had bought the tickets on Air France, but Aeroflot codeshares with AF and it part of the SkyTeam Alliance which also included Delta. I wondered if we’d fly on a Russian-built liner like a Tupolev or a Sukhoi, or another Cold War name.
After check-in we cleared immigration without any trouble and then went through the standard security check. Once in the departure area we found the Aeroflot lounge which was quite full. The food selection wasn’t to our taste so we sipped beverages while we waited, and read.
As boarding time approached we made our way to the gate and boarded. The plane was an Airbus 320, so no exotic Russian aircraft on this trip. I must admit, I was also a little reassured. We took off promptly at 2:05 and started the four-hour flight.
Lunch consisted of a tuna salad with lemon juice, followed by a dish that caught my eye: “Caucasian style lamb and rice with parsley.” Of course in this case Caucasian was a not a reference to race or cranial shape, but to the Caucasus region, between the Black and Caspian Seas. That style of dish was close to what we’d call a curry, and it was quite good.
Other than experienced a higher than average number of crying babies, the flight passed without incident. On arrival in Paris, we deplaned and went through the formalities of entering the Schengen zone for the night. Picking up our bags we caught the hotel shuttle bus to a hotel in Roissy-en-France for the night.
One more night away, so tomorrow if all goes as planned we should be home.

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Mary Hendren

Thanks for the continued update, and we pray your last leg of travel goes smoothly.

joyce stoner

thank you for sharing your trip with us.quite exciting visiting russia