Saturday, February 27, 2010

Step 1: Getting to Russia

We lifted off from DTW, at approximately 7:20pm, and landed in Frankfurt between 9am and 10am. Our flight didn’t board until the afternoon. During the interim, I went off on my own to explore the airport. So, smack dap in the middle of the terminal was this café, the Goethe-Café. I sat down at the bar and in under a minute, the bar-maid hands me my order and says something to me in German. I don’t speak German and I thought she was asking me if the beer was mine. No. apparently she was asking me if I wanted it, and answered me in fantastic English when I awkwardly said that I didn’t think that the drink was mine. A cup of coffee and a plate of bratwurst later, I was ready to go. However it was nowhere near time to board the plane. So I returned to our group meeting point and fished out the book that I am supposed to be writing my midterm paper on (Future note: It’s late, but there’s no readily available Wi-Fi or internet like there is in the states).
I read for a bit until it was time to board the smaller plane to get from Frankfurt to the Leningrad (Saint Petersburg's still abbreviated LED, after the Soviet-era name for the city). After we landed we had to go through customs. I was the last one through the migration check point, but only after I stood there for a bit looking confused (until an immigration officer-woman, who was leaving her desk yelled at me to go through). After we got through the check-point we made a brief stop to exchange money to rubles (at approximately 30 rubles to 1 dollar). We were picked up at the airport by a bus (a extended white van with a tall roof) from the Pulkovo, driven by Anatoly (check spelling later). We were driven to the Centr Sporta. This facility is a sports training center with an attached dorm complex for visiting athletes. Some people from the group were planning to go ice skating, but after the wonderful dinner in the café (which was in the sports center) we were just too tuckered out from jetlag to go for it, and we retired to our respective dorm rooms. I roomed with Ethan and Pat-Joseph (another Pat, wow), and for of the girls lived next door (Jill, Emily, Bryn, and Joanna), and two girls lived down stairs (Chelsey and Danielle (Chelsey showed up before we did, as she took a different string of flights to get to Saint Petersburg). I regretfully didn’t have my camera in a convenient bag for the trip, so I have no pictures of this day. We turned in eventually, and I fell asleep trying to push through my midterm book.

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