Sunday, February 9, 2014

We have arrived.

Marc is writing.  We landed in Moscow around 10:30am local time this morning. It is a cloudy/gray winter day, not much different than most days in Chicago.  For a large airport, it was pretty empty.  Ours seemed to be the only international flight arriving at the time.  Passport control was a breeze, we were through in about 10 minutes.  On to baggage claim, where our bags were already out on the belt.  We exited through one more set of doors and the driver I had arranged was waiting to take us to our hotel in downtown Moscow.  

The ride in took about 30 minutes.  There were a couple of things that stood out to me during our ride:

1.  The cars and city in General is very dirty, so much so that you can hardly read most license plates because they are covered in grime.  

2.  There was a noticeable police presence everywhere.  Some had cops pulled over, others were just looking in as drivers passed by, especially leaving the airport.  

3.  There were a ton of soviet era apartment buildings that looked very run down, almost inhabitable, at least from the exterior. 

Once we arrived in the center of the city, everything looked a lot nicer.  Our hotel is within walking distance of the Kremlin and other sights.  The staff at the hotel is fantastic.  We were welcomed by at least six different people and everyone spoke English well (thank goodness).  

We are relaxing for a little bit, and then we are going to go for a walk and get acquainted with our surroundings.  We aren't very hungry, since we ate enough bad plane food to keep us full for the time being.  We are watching some
Skiing now, but the broadcast is not in English of course :)  

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