Going on a blind date with Central Asia

So Central Asia and I got off to a fantastic start! And by that, I meant we didn’t actually get to start. It felt like going on a blind date, and then having the person stand you up, indefinitely.

I am currently in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was only supposed to be here for a 1-hr transit, but this is turning to be a lot more fun than I had imagined. The previous flight from Moscow took off 2 hours late due to bad weather, and I ended up missing my last flight-leg to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. So I am sitting in the waiting room of Rossyia Airlines, and there are a lot of angry people around me. Actually, I do not know if they are angry, but they are speaking Russian and they just sound furious. Perhaps it is just Russian.

I am thankful for years of travel-training, that I could be this calm at this moment given the fact that I have only a 1-day Russian transit visa but I will end up having a 2-day transit (next flight only leaves tomorrow), and that my Tajik visa states my arrival as Tuesday but I will end up arriving on Wednesday. The line “Keep Clam and Travel on” comes to mind – thankfully I am quite zen about this mess right now.

I also had the privilege to be stuck in this horrible situation with a new friend who was on the same flight with me from New York! Now she has a crazy story – born and raised in the Tajik mountains, went to Columbia on a social-work scholarship, met a Trinidad-born wall street banker, got married, and now lives in New York. Imagine their family gatherings – an absolute melting pot of cultures and peoples. So Adiba has been a Godsend, helping with translations as we negotiate our situation with the airline. Sometimes in life you find yourself in the gloomiest of situations, and then out of nowhere this little light shines, and you go – “alright I am good”.

Figuring stuff out at the Rossiya Airlines office

Figuring stuff out at the Rossiya Airlines office

On a random side note, here are four Russian stereotypes I observed at the Moscow airport earlier today:

  1. The first person I saw wore a t-shirt that said (in font size 50) – MY DAD WILL KILL YOU. Enough said.
  2. 9 of 10 people had very stoic faces. I wish they smiled more! Maybe it is the environment of a very chaotic airport. Or perhaps it is just Russia.
  3. The men wear square hats with ear-flaps and ladies wear a ton of fur. The Russian fashion industry must kill a lot of animals.
  4. The guy sitting next to me on the plane reeked of Vodka. I believe he bathed in Vodka before boarding the flight.
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