My trips are never dull or boring for the audience, and always have a moral to the story. I should start charging for all the valuable advice I provide in this essay. So let's begin.
It was the 13th of April 2008, a calm Sunday morning; I had packed the previous night. All set to go to Moscow and then on to Turkey.
I checked if everything was in order and I checked and rechecked the list. I charged all my devices, camera, electric shaver, I carried my chargers and I also call up hutch to get international roaming activated.
The check list was complete and I was very satisfied. I left at 3am, I hired a Meru cab, and I reached the airport, and was greeted with a lot of smiles. As soon as I arrived things started to move quickly in less than an hour I had checked in and gone through immigration and was all set to board the plane.
I usually click snaps from the plane, but since this was a night flight I did not bother. I boarded the plane and I was seated next to a Russian lady, who I later found out had bladder problems.
She would get up every hour like a cuckoo bird and go to the loo and since I had the aisle, I had to get up.
I managed to train myself to sleep for 55mins and then wake up for miss pees a lot to get up. It was a 7.5 flight and towards the end of it we were synchronized.
I reach Moscow, I was all set to leave the plane I switched on my cell phone and I got connected to beeline the local service provider, I went through customs and I wondered what I would do for 14 hours.
I sat down at a local cafe and ordered an orange juice and packet of chips; I then decided to text message my family and a few of my friends that I had reached. I typed out a message and clicked send.
"Message Failed" I looked at my phone and there was no network, so I switched off the phone and went through manual settings and looked for network. "No network Found" I must have tried it 100-200 times, and it did not work. So I had no phone no way to contact anyone.
I walked around the airport a couple of times and after about 3 hours, I felt qualified to be an airport guide.
The clothes, food, souvenirs were apparently made by, "out of work celebrities" as the quality sucked and they were way overpriced.
A bottle of coke cost $5, a T-shirt cost only $25 and I am talking about the cheap stuff.
Moscow is boring as there is nothing to do, I spent 14hours at the airport and I found out ways to improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs.
There are no money exchange points in Moscow and if you want to buy something from a local vendor at the airport, they only accept Rubles you cannot as they do not accept Dollars or Euros, so you are forced to go to the big restaurants.
If you are traveling via Moscow always carry at least 3000 rubles approx 5000 rupees,
Make sure that you go to the loo on the plane, as the toilets are filthy, thinking about it no wonder that Russian woman was going to the loo so often.
If you know a little Russian, just be happy and do not show off.
I always seem to provide valuable lessons for people. However I've learnt the hard way.
I walked around the airport again and visited every shop, it's the 1st time I just window shopped. Things were just too expensive.
After circling the airport a million times, I started to make myself useful by helping lost passengers find their gates, or immigration.
I did this for a couple of hours and then I decided to go for dinner.
After a frightfully expensive dinner chicken nuggets and fries, oh let not forget the coke ($60)
I stared at the departure board, it was almost 11pm, I was about to fall asleep, when I saw Istanbul 2am.
The flight to Istanbul was short, and uneventful...
Atatürk Airport was nice, much cleaner, but I did not want hang around too much as I wanted to get to the hotel as quickly as possible, so I rushed to get my bag...
I waited... and waited and waited some more ....for my luggage to arrive, nothing. I went and spoke to some airport staff and they checked my ticket.
My luggage was still in Moscow! aargh all I had was a bag filled with shoes, a track pant and a tshirt.
I met a very friendly Indian couple on their honeymoon, we started to talk and we realized that we were staying at the same hotel "Umay"
I offered to give them a lift... the husband didn't seem too pleased, I guess he was already in the honeymoon mood, and probably wanted some action as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately his newly wed wife was already sitting in the car, he was left with no choice but to accept. If looks could kill, I'm sure I would have never made it back.
The hotel was clean, I unpacked my handbag, I had a shower and changed into my ... yeah you guessed it " A track pant and a tshirt"
I was scheduled to go on some some cruise, I honestly didn't care, as my camera and everything I owned was sitting in Russia, I guess my bags didn't want to come.
So I was alone, without a camera, admiring the beauty around me...
I headed back to my hotel after a quick tour...as I entered the hotel I felt a sharp pain around my left shoulder and it got worse.
I went up to my room and now the pain was unbearable. I had no clue what to do. I just sat for a while, until I got used to the pain.
I changed in my shorts and went to sleep. I did not get up for dinner. The next day the pain had subsided and I was happy.
I tried to mix and match, with whatever I had and went out, I bought some key chains and went out to a local cafe.
The people in Turkey are friendly and make the effort to help you. After a quick lunch I went back to my hotel.
So strange but true, I felt that same sharp pain as I entered the hotel. This time the pain was now tenfold.
I did not make it to my room, I waited in the lobby for some time, trying to shrug off the pain. I could not take it anymore.
I had no travel insurance and I did not want to take a chance. I called my travel agent and got a flight booked for that evening.
I packed my bag and left for the airport. I did not have to wait for a long time. I do not remember boarding, I only remember landing in Russia and waiting for my flight back home.
I reached Bombay and I was just happy to back home.
For all those who love to travel ....get travel insurance.
Till then Adios!