Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Da, Moshna! (or how did we manage to get on vacations)

Friday - July 3rd
The morning started with a short verification call to Transaero TLV office
"Hebrew or English"
"Iivriit efshar" (I guess it's the liiteral translation of 'Ivrit Moshna')
"Our tickets say we can take 20Kg of luggage each. What's the maximum per luggage piece?"
"Haaa…with us there is no maximum weight per single piece. You can divide the way you want want the sum of your allowances"
"Thank you. Another question if I may - we have a new passport and the number on the ticket is of the old passport."
"Where are you going ? To Moscow only?"
"So, there is no problem. The number is not important"
"Thank you"
End of call. I guess she intended to say 'have a nice flight'.

As always, our vacation started with an exhausting week of tedious tasks that we had to finish before leaving and on top of that new tasks that kept popping as if someone was enjoying watching us running like rats in a lab's labyrinth.
After two consecutive nights with little sleep, we hopped into the taxi on our way to the airport.

The GetTaxi driver was chatty and once he heard we are flying to Russia he was quick to share with us his experiences from his Moscovite snobbish novorich family. It was a funny ride. +1 to GetTaxi and our driver. We also found out that if we order a GetTaxi ride before we take off back to Israel it's ok**. 

The security screening went swiftly and we approached the check-in counter after little queuing. NB insisted on holding his passport, which provoked the check-in lady to order J to take it from him 'because he will destroy it'…. - A Soviet touch some would say.
Later she got soft and preached us about how good it is to teach children different languages, tried to speak Spanish to NB not before declaring - "I'm Russian!" (well… actually no my dear. You are an Israeli who knows Russian from its parents…and manners god knows where from)
She liked us very much and the check-in went smooth too. Lucky us.

By that time, we already knew that the flight was being delayed by one hour, which meant we had more than three hours to enjoy at the airport. NB was (again) excited from the fountain, from the moving walking rails and was in general running all over the place. D tried to do the impossible and buy a music CD, but it was impossible - the 'sale' price was $18….WTF1: Didn't these people hear about digital music delivery?  iTunes anyone?  WTF2: Who pays them and how do they maintain their business?

Dead tired and with a child that needs to get his noon nap we found out that the main treat of the lounge in the airport is that it is significantly quieter than the main hall on a July Friday noon. An important observation about the lounge: they don't have hot cocoa - nor they have any games for children...  So, we had a blast convincing NB that the luggage carrying cars are sooooo exciting.

We finished that part of our day, with a quick boarding to the flight.
As we were waiting to board - a Hebrew speaking stewardess was hysterically shouting  with a teacher intonation "Mr. X and Mr Y, this is the last time we are calling you to board Alitalia flight no…. - the flight is going to take off without you and everyone are waiting for you"
We felt pretty happy not to have to meet that lady….

The seats on the plane were re-organized (more rows were added), so NB got lucky and got a view of the wings.
The space for the legs was the greatest we have ever seen in an economy class flight ever. Kudos to Transaero. Service was good, we got drinks several times, food arrived quickly  and NB slept half of the time. Rest of the time he found a buddy one row behind us and played who best roars like a lion.
In the little spare time we answered questions like "Como va el avion?" "With engines under the wings" "and how does engine work…" and so forth. I'm sure you got the idea.

We started getting the enjoyable part of the Russian experience when people let us skip the queue so that NB gets to the toilet. Another toilet related note: when you see people queuing for the toilet in TLV's airport lounge - don't wait with them, just try to open all the toilet doors - it's seems some people tend to queue even in front of empty toilets…

For the boys reading this post - the aircraft was a shiny new 737-800, that took off impressively quickly and also landed with a very short runway. It also cut a 1:50 hours delay to 0:50 by speeding up the flight.

We landed in an airport we never visited before. Vnukovo airport is renovated and all the operation was very efficient. Stuff and border police were nice and by the time we arrive  to the luggage picking area our suitcases were already there. Nice!

The family picked us up for a short ride on the rush hour of Moscow (rush hour is from 8:00am to 22:00) and it took us about a hour to get home. We got a glimpse on the cutest new baby. Later we had a great Russian Sushi*** meal (Nubi was the happiest on earth to have Kasha\buckwheat) and plummeted asleep.

That was our first yellow day in Russia 2015. Spakoyney Nochi.

* There are WiFi networks everywhere in Moscow. And by far, there are more open networks than in West Europe (even if it means there is only one open WiFi…). In the Metro there is free WiFi courtesy of the Metro company if you just mind to share with them your country of origin and phone number.
** Regulations say  you cannot order a pickup from Ben Gurion airport from a company other than the one working with the airport. There was a big fight about it with GetTaxi and it seems they've found a way to circumvent it.
*** Russian Sushi has some variations and combinations not seen at home. Very thick rolls with lots of cream cheese and smoked/baked fishes

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