Adventures on Aeroflot
We are well known for traveling by the cheapest possible airline whenever possible. Air travel is so expensive and we have to save a buck when possible. As it turns out the cheapest flight from Tokyo to Cairo is on Aeroflot by way of Moscow. Andy headed down to spend the night in Chiba the night before the flight, so Todd and I met up with him down there. I had packed for a D and Kuma trip. One bag, carry on only, with most of my clothes being disposable, either due to wear and tear, or being 4 dollar shirts from Workman. We met up at the airport and made our way to the gate to wait for our flight.
We were a bit surprised to find ourselves on a nice clean boeing, we sort of expected to be on a Russian plane, but it was a welcome surprise. The not so welcome surprise came later when they announced that the flight was over 10 hours! I never knew Siberia was so huge! And then another unwelcome surprise. No Movie. No radio. Nothing. Just 10 hours of sitting in your seat. What an excruciating ten hours. I swear, that plane must have been flying at a speed of 65 Mph. It took forever.
When we landed in Moscow, it was snowing and white and cold. We only had a 2 or so hour hold over so it was no big deal. As soon as we got out of the plane we got into line for transferring (which was confusing and poorly marked) and then waited. We tried to take a picture of the weather, but a russian guard came up and barked something in Russian. I looked confused. I held up the camera and said "No?" in and attempt to get the guard to say yes or no. The guard muttered something under her breath and moved on. Ok. That was strange. I don't see what the big deal is, I just wanted to take a photo of our COMMERCIAL AIRLINER PARKED AT THE NON-MILITARY AIRPORT. All over there were posters talking about the 2012 olympics, featuring the slogan "imagine it now." Lets see, extremely long, unmarked lines, no space, and rude guards that can't even choke out "yes" or "no" Yup. I'm imagining it now... I imagine a disaster. After we finally cleared the gate for changing flights, we came out into the waiting area, choked with shops. We looked to change some money into Rubles, to buy snacks, but no exchange was available. Yup. I'm imagining it now. Andy managed to rustle up cokes by using the catch all money of the world--American. Todd and I napped, andy listened to MP3's and finally we made our way to the gate. The security at the gates (another x-ray in case you bought explosives from the duty free I guess...) were rude and barked commands in russia. We even learned how to say "whatever smart ass" in russian as the girl pointed at Andy and barked "Camera" indicating him to hand it over in the tray. He responded, it's a phone" and which point she said something in russian, which although we could not understand, both immediately agreed meant, "whatever, smart ass", as her tone suggested. Yup, I'm imagining it now. We then got in the gate and saw some Japanese kids that were on the same flight as us, headed to the same place. The guards came over and told them to go to a different gate. Suspecting that might apply to us, I asked, where our flight was "Gate 8" she barked, and we headed back out to gate 8 (no sign telling us that the flight changed... imagine it now...) and underwent another x-ray at gate 8. Before that though, we had to wait at the gate as russian after russian pushed in front of us in line, and the security at the gate continuously refused us entrance. Well actually the continually refused the Japanese boys, us only once... They offered an explanation as to why we couldn't go through, in russian of course... finally when our flight was only 20 minutes away, we walked through, and there was no discussion about it. They tried to tell us to go back, but we weren't having it. Finally thought the gate we boarded our stinky filthy bus that drove us out to the runway to board our plane.
|I managed to snap a shot of the plane as we boarded. I don't think that airport actually has any working gangways..|
|Theres the proof. We actually learned to read a bit of cyrillic on the way to Moscow, thanks to Andy.|
Exhausted, we finally headed off, leaving Russia behind, for now, and settled in for the 5 hour, movieless flight to Cairo.
arrived in Cairo airport and found the whole process quick and easy. We had
read that you could buy a visa at the airport, for 15 US dollars. What that
actually means is you buy a 10 and 5 dollar revenue stamp, and they stick
it in your passport. Some visa...
We arrived in Cairo airport and found the whole process quick and easy. We had read that you could buy a visa at the airport, for 15 US dollars. What that actually means is you buy a 10 and 5 dollar revenue stamp, and they stick it in your passport. Some visa...
having been done, we quickly cleared immigration, and walked right out the
giant "nothing to declare" gate, thereby bypassing customs, and
That having been done, we quickly cleared immigration, and walked right out the giant "nothing to declare" gate, thereby bypassing customs, and were out.
|The airport was all marble and clean, but tiny!|
It was now about 2:30 am, and we negotiated a taxi cab to town. The first cab is always the toughest, you don't know what things are worth, and the guy knows you have a wad of cash from the exchange booth inside. We bargained a bit, got our price, which we later found out was fair... and made our way into town.
Our first hotel was the 5 star Cairo Marriott and Omar Khyamm Casino It is on an island in the nile, and it was great. We were really impressed by the security there, and we noticed later that they actually swept under our cabs with a mirror, really nice.
In the lobby we were greeted by a Japanese restaurant, when claimed to be "The gateway to Sushi and Self-discovery."
They got Japans number.
The room was small but clean. And the hotel sent another bed around which, surprisingly, was free.
|Running low on Energy, but not on funds we put our fat stacks together to take a picture before passing out. Nothing like a Giant wad of bills to make you feel like a rich man in a strange country.|