Friday, October 14, 2011
my last day in moscow, i thought it would be a good idea to have one last breakfast with my russian friends, even though the car i had booked was leaving around the time breakfast started. figuring it would wait, i ate a rushed (but lovely) last meal and booked it to the hotel lobby. i ran outside with my friends and my stuff, looking wildly around for my car, only to find that it had already left. i called the service number and learned that it had been a group ride and had had to leave to make sure everyone else got to the airport on-time. remembering the traffic on the way to the hotel from the airport, i started to panic. i had visions of being trapped in russia... of getting into trouble for overstaying my visa and not being allowed back... of having to buy another plane ticket with money i didn't have... talking to the receptionist did nothing to assuage those fears, as she said she wouldn't be able to find me a taxi in time (the hotel was outside the city center). luckily, my knight in shining armour arrived in the form of a heavy, chain smoking (as many of them are), russian man who spoke little english, but frequented hotels looking for tourists just like myself, who were in a bind and needed to get to the airport no matter the price. after looking his papers and id over, i found he had a contract with the hotel and a sparkly new bmw, so i accepted the quoted price (which actually wasn't nearly as much as i would have paid at that point), and hopped in the car.
the morning traffic was terrible. TERRIBLE. and because he drove a nicer car, he wasn't as adventurous on the road as my earlier ride had been... i really didn't think we were going to make it, but he kept making reassuring noises when he saw me looking espesially concerned.
and he did get me there... and after a couple of final language barrier mishaps with airport staff, i made it to my gate 10 minutes before boarding.
on the ride to the airport every once and a while he would point to a building and give me a one or two word explanation like, "lenin sleep," or, "putin work." it was nice to get one last tour in, and it was very clear he was proud of his city. i was kind of glad i had missed my group ride to the airport in order to have this more private goodbye to moscow.
... and i was glad to get one last meal in with my friends.