Travelogue – Somewhere over Mother Russia – Aug 2, 2011

Our flight from Kennedy airport was delayed 3 1/2 hours.  We didn’t leave until after 6 PM.  It seems that two thunderstorms materialized somewhere over the Eastern seaboard, even though the sun never stopped shining.  There is now the possibility of an overnight stay in Moscow.  The passengers continuing on to Israel are lobbying for them to hold our connecting flight.  … Given that nearly 1/3 of the flight (over 30 passengers) will be continuing on to Tel Aviv, that option is likely.

A FEW HOURS LATER … after our 2nd on-board meal. Strangely, but not so strange, they offered us a Kosher meal.  And the food, some stuffed fish and rice, was quite tasty.  The eggplant salad was extremely spicy, even for my taste … We have landed in Moscow, 4 hours late … and of course our plane has departed.  We are now BACK on line.  At the front is our ringleader and negotiator screaming at the impassive Russian customer service representatives.  One hour passes with no progress.  But, we do get some bottled water.  Finally we get some progress, a boarding pass for a flight that leaves at 8:40 PM (we had arrived at noon), and a food voucher.  The delay from our lead negotiator was her demand for Kosher food.  Because of that demand, no boarding passes for the next flight had been issued.

BARBI DOLLS. The American vision of Russians is babushkas, the stooped and wrinkle grandmothers, pushing their shopping carts.  How wrong.  We are in the international transit terminal. Between the gates are the makings of an upscale shopping male with all the luxury brands (Guerlane, Lancome, Dior, Givenchy, Clinique) and the women look like they actually buy this stuff.  Russians on a whole dress up at the airport as if they are going to the metropolitan opera.  Full battlegear, plunging necklines, tapered waists, and ultra-high heels, long flowing blond hair and perfect tans.  This is the NEW Russia.