I have to laugh a little bit about my life right now. We have made it to Voronezh, Russia finally... the travel to get here was like I was trying to get to Turkey all over again. We got on a bus to depart to the Antalya Airport at 10 AM and got into Voronezh at 330AM. Prior to our departure there was rumors that the flight was about 2 hours and then we had a 4 to 5 hour drive to get to Voronezh... I want to know who translated those rumors because they were either saving me from the truth or they were dead wrong. The flight was 3 hours and the drive after was about 8 hours. Needless to say I was very unprepared for a ROAD TRIP. I think anything over 6 hours is called a road trip, so this was definitely a road trip.
However, this travel experience taught me a few very important lessons:
1) Be Prepared for Anything...
Well we left beautiful Antalya (as you saw in all of my pictures) in our shorts and t-shirts with our mandatory sweat suit in our bags in case it was cold when we got here (mostly when I say "we" I mean "I"). I bought "The Hunger Games" so I would have something to preoccupy myself during the travels and I was so engrossed in the story I started reading just after we took off and I didnt pick my eyes up until we hit the ground in Moscow. Thats when I looked out the window to see what I thought was someone holding a sheet over our window.... as my eyes adjusted I realized that sheet was not linens, it was endless miles and miles of snow. Welcome to Russia!
I learned this lesson the hard way 3 different times.
a) When we got the Antalya Airport, because I had all of the bags I moved from home with (2 rollie bags, 1 backpack and my guitar), while everyone else just had their one bag and maybe a backpack. This made me a bit slower and a lot more discombobulated than everyone else. But I finally got myself situated enough to make it to the check in line with everyone else. I was in the back of the line of our team just before the line of muggles started (for everyone who doesnt know, "muggles" is the term in Harry Potter for those who are not Wizards...we have since applied that term to people who are not with an athletic team). Anyways, I was standing just before the muggles when the first achilles tendon chop happened by one of those stupid bag carts people who have a purse and a tiny bag use to carry their "heavy" bags. I turned my head to look backwards (like Ellen DeGeneres' "universal sign of 'Thats Annoying'") when I see the crowd who is pushing to get to the front of this baggage line. They were encroaching from every direction and I was going to have to step up my line game tactics.
Everything went fine after I checked my bags in because as we all know, we are all going to the same place and there is no need to encroach on the heels of the person in front of you, but we do anyways... What ever... after we landed I was much more successful at gathering my things and getting quickly to the bus, but I was still one of the last on the bus. Thats when I saw the havoc on the bus.
b) I felt like I was walking into a log cabin getting onto the bus. There was pillows and blankets everywhere and everyone was scrambling to get their seats and their blankets (as I told you, Russians like designated spots) Its probably a good thing I was last because I would have taken someone's spot.
I got an open seat though, right across from one of our oldest players, Nana. This is when I learned my second lesson... she established ground first by putting her feet out across the gap on to the back of my seat. Not a big deal... but that let her know that I was ok with her feet in my space. Again, with the encroaching, her feet moved their way down my seat until they were literally taking up one of my seats and I was left to 1.25 seats, and she has 2.75. The picture below is her feet completely on my seat. I kept trying to push back but her ground was already established. Every time I would move her feet off of one part she would find some other part of the seat to take over... By 330 AM I was exhausted and I think she had the entire seat for her feet. I dont know how it happened.
c) I am still slightly shaken by the third story... let me just say that if you are in Russia on a road trip make sure your bathroom breaks are at a McDonalds where they pride themselves on clean and orderly bathrooms.
3) You are in Europe...
Everything is so different here, not in a bad way but different for sure. Getting onto the plane there was a few things that struck me as very odd. The plane was very wide and tall, but not that long. There was 3 rows of 3 seats each.
What amused me about this was that when they went through the typical protocol for the safety procedures of their planes they just had a woman talking into a speaker that was barely audible in the plane. Even if there was an accident, there was absolutely no way anyone would know what to do because they cant hear what the instructions are. Seriously it was as though someone was talking just 1 volume notch above the average conversation level... whereas in America, I have been yelled at several times for whispering during a safety demonstration and I could probably recite it to you backwards and forwards.
Lastly, it is obvious that the fashions around the world are very different and it is no secret that Europe prides themselves on being fashion forward. When I looked in the seat back pocket at the assortment of magazines they had I found this magazine, which should look familiar to most of us. Sky Mall Magazine, which is usually filled with random and useless inventions that we could buy as a joke to someone, but they are so expensive that we would never actually purchase anything (unless your Halley Kreminski who actually purchased the frozen yogurt maker)...
When I opened it and saw this was what their Sky Mall was selling, I knew I was officially out of the US and in Europe....
We slept until late into the day because we got in so late last night... so I will show you where I am later!
Cheers from Russia!