Time to say goodbye, I guess.
I slept at around 8:30-9:00AM today and asked reception for a wake-up call at 10:30. I got up for like 2-3 minutes and slept again. Thank god I had my cellphone alarm set to 1PM so I got up at around that time.
I spent the next hour doing random things, like calling Federal Express to follow-up my pick-up (I’m sending a box to the Philippines with some of my leftover clothes that didn’t fit in my luggage), going down to the business center to get some forms filled out in Russian, call my parents, blah blah blah.
I then took a nice little walk to the supermarket 2 blocks away from the hotel. I spent around US$417 on caviar (4 jars of black, 1 huge 500gram jar of red), Russian Vogue magazine, 3 packets of chewing gum, a bottle of Evian and a bottle of Russian Standart.
Jane picked me up at around 4:30PM on our usual meeting spot, right in front of the hotel in Tverskaya-Yamskaya. Our plan is to hit some of the shops at Stoleshnikov Pereulok.
We probably spent a good 45 minutes – 1 hour on the streets because of the traffic. It’s just as bad as Manila. I took a couple of random pics using my camera phone because I forgot my camera at the hotel.
First stop was Christian Dior — loving it! I bought another gambler bracelet, this time in fuchsia, and a pair of navy blue corduroy pants with a stainless steel Dior patch on the back and Dior stars chain and safety pin on the sides. The prices at Dior are actually consistent with the worldwide market; bracelet was around US$310 (I got 2 in Bangkok for around $295 each) and the corduroy pants were like around US$860. Not bad at all.
We then took a quick look at Hermes because I’m looking for a wallet for my dad, but I ended up getting him a green epi leather wallet at Vuitton. Jane went to Burberry because she’s looking for a croc/alligator shoe.
Our last stop was Rostik’s on Tverskaya. I love Rostik’s! It’s the Russian version of KFC/McDonald’s (cause they’re everywhere) and they sell chicken, potatoes, etc. It’s pure junk/trash food but what the hell… I love it. Jane got me a cab from Rostik’s cause she’s running a little late — she had to visit her mom on the other side of the city because her mom was about to give birth.
When I went back to the hotel, my driver and I quickly went to the airport for my flight to Bangkok.
My god, Sheremetyevo 2 has got to be the WORST airport I’ve been to EVER. There’s lines everywhere, from checking-in, to customs and passport control.
It took around 15 minutes to get my boarding pass issued because I had 50 kilos worth of excess baggage. The excess baggage counter was closed so they had to call up some woman to come over there.
Guess how much I paid for excess baggage?
19,646 rubbles, which is around US$700.
I begged and I begged and I tried to use my charm to the old, late 30’s bitch on the excess baggage counter but she won’t give me a discount.
Bollocks, I thought.
I swear to god…. with all the money I spent on excess baggage going here and returning back, It would’ve been much mucho better if I just bought my bags a roundtrip ticket — at least they get seats inside the fucking cabin!
Anyway, thank god I booked the Airport Fast Track service at www.aerotour.ru, otherwise, I’d be spending hours in customs and passport control. The girl who assisted me when I first arrived in Moscow was the same one who helped me today. It took me no more than 10 minutes to pass customs and passport control. In fact, the only thing that the customs person asked me is how much cash do I have/bringing out to the country. I said around US$100 because I used my cards… and then that’s about it.
The real horror however isn’t the queues at customs/passport control but the huge, gigantic queues at the gate! I have never seen an airport where there’s a security check prior to boarding/going to the gate. Usually security checks are done before you even check-in… or after checking-in.
Thank god I arrived quite late so when the airport people were doing a final call for passengers to board the plane to Bangkok, they gave us priority to pass the security check. Even if you’re flying business or first class, you still have to fall in line with the masses before going to the gate.
My Moscow airport experience was truly weird — and was a miracle. No wonder a lot of people advised me to be there at least 3 hours before the flight.
I left the hotel at 6:30PM, got into the airport at 8PM because of the traffic and my flight was scheduled to depart at 8:45PM (although it got delayed to 9:15PM).