Now in a normal international airport it is generally pretty clear cut what you have to do next, you fill in an immigration form, hand it to an immigration officer they scan your bags or ask you to open them up and then you are on your way. Well Moscow is no normal airport, here you only fill in a form if you have over $US10,000 cash on you to declare, if you do this you go through the Red lane and they obviously check you out, but if you don’t have this amount of money on you, then you don’t need to fill in a form, you then choose whether to present your bags to the customs officers or just leg it through the door, so we just made a bee line for the door and slipped on out into the chaos that is the arrivals lounge. We were met by a couple of the girls Angela will be working with and whisked out the door. It was a rainy day in Moscow that day and unlike most other significant international airports we have encountered in our travels, there are no awnings or shelter at Domededovo Airport once you walk through the door, so it was straight out into the rain.
Welcome to Moscow….
One thing that struck us in the car park which was a warning as to what life in Moscow was going to be like was the utter chaos, there seem to be rules in Russia but only if you can be bothered to follow them. There was no set route for vehicles entering and exiting the park or for picking up and setting down, it is just a free for all. A driver will park a car where ever they can find a space and the rule of the road seems to be done by horn, so there is a constant cacophony of horns as everyone demands to be let through, in, out, around or wherever. Anyway after waiting about 20 minutes in the rain for our bus, there is a 1 hour ride into Moscow along roads crowded with Muscovites returning from their weekend Dachas.
Finally we arrive at our apartment block, an imposing looking Stalinist style monstrosity, and are taken up to our 4th floor apartment. Our little lift shaft serves 4 units on each floor, there are 17 floors and I would estimate at least 4 such lift shafts in our building, so I am guessing there are over 250 separate apartments in our complex alone. We go up the lift and enter a little lobby where we have to unlock this solid steel door, enter another lobby and lock the first door behind us, the second lobby serves 4 units, we unlock our door, walk into our apartment, drop our bags and head down to the nearest Supermarket to pick up some food for tea. Here we find that we can’t understand a word anyone says, can’t make out what 90% of the items on the shelves are, and anything that we can recognise has generally passed its use by date by a couple of weeks (or more). So we settle on a Pizza that had only just expired. Back up to our “furnished” apartment and assess our situation, our furnishing consists of;
- 3 beds with 1 thin duvet, a bottom sheet and a pillow each
- a sofa and a couple of chairs in the lounge
- dining room table and chairs
- TV’s with Russian channels only
- 4 forks
- 1 knife
- 4 dinner plates
- 4 pudding plates
- 4 cups
- 4 table spoons
- 1 teaspoon
- 2 fry pans and 2 large pots
- 4 handtowels (to be used as towels…)