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Life Stories, travel to Russia
An urge to visit after one and a half year of talking
My name is Dimitri and I am 23years old. Before I went to Russia I met this girl on the internet. We have been talking for about 1,5 year. Then there was the urge to visit her.
So last year in 2003, I took the plane from Brussels to Moscow. It was a small plane, and there were not too many people on it. Before I got on the plane there was a Russian woman with a baby, she ask me in every possible language if I could help her carrying her baby on board. I only understand Dutch, English, French and some German. But somehow I understood what she wanted because she knew a few English words. So I helped her carrying her baby on the plane. She was a very friendly woman. She was married with a guy from Brussels and they were meeting each other in Moscow. This woman was very surprised when I told her that I didn't know any Russian. She wrote some words down for me that could be useful, like do svidania, poka poka, do vstrechi and so on. But those were just simple and easy words that most people know. But anyway I was pleased that she wanted to help me. On the way to Moscow we talked about Russia, and about Russian people. It was a nice chat.
After 3hours we arrived in Moscow at the airport Sheremetyvo 2. I was following the line of people for passport and visa check. It was actually a place of chaos. When it was my turn, the woman at the desk looked at my passport and she saw that I was not a Russian citizen. And if you are not a Russian citizen then you need to fill in a paper of migration. The woman saw that I did not had that paper and she sent me back. There was a table at the start of the queue where I had to fill in such a paper. And then I had to wait again. I also ask that woman in the plane to meet after passport check. But when I was waiting in line for the second time. I saw that her husband was also there and they both left, I haven't seen them again. The woman at the desk for passport check looked at all my papers and this time it was ok.
Then I had to search my luggage and after luggage check we entered the hall of Sheremetyvo 2 airport. There were at least 50 people asking if I needed a taxi. I had to tell them 50 times no because I would have a next plane in 17hours. So there I was, alone in Sheremetyvo 2 waiting for my next plane. I had a walk around the airport, it looked very nice. Only it is not easy to ask information, because not everyone who works at the international airport can speak English or French. Finally I found an info desk where there was a woman that could speak English because I needed to get in Sheremetyvo 1.
She told me that it would be a good idea to take the bus that drives between these 2 airports and it is free also. With the information she gave me I went outside to look for the bus. After 15min there was the bus, it was a bus that doesn't look new. I could notice that I was not in Belgium anymore. With my big luggage I got on the bus, wondering what to do next. So I went to the front of the bus and I asked the bus driver for Sheremetyevo odin. I noticed that he could understand me and it was ok.
My first look into Moscow was great. For me it was nice to see Moscow, one of the greatest cities in the world. On the way to Sheremetyvo 1 there was another airport and I thought that that would be my airport. So I got out of the bus and I walked in the direction of that airport. The bus driver noticed me and he used his horn, he made it clear that it was not the airport that I needed. So I got back on the bus and few minutes later we arrived at airport Sheremetyvo 1. Many people told me, or made it clear that this was the right airport. I was surprised that these few people wanted to help me. It gave me a great impression about how the citizens of Russia deal with foreigners. This airport looked a lot different then the first one. It looks older and smaller inside. But outside the airport there were many new expensive cars actually, like BMW X5 etc. The first thing that I did was look for a place where I could leave my luggage. Because I still needed to wait for more then 10hours for the next plane. On the right side of the airport building there were stairs going down and there were 2 people who would take care of my luggage after I paid them.
At this airport, a domestic airport, it is hard to find someone who can speak English. Those people who take care of luggages could not speak English. So we had to make each other understand. After this, it was time to investigate this airport. Inside on the right there was a bar looking very beautiful. When you order a coffee there, you will have to pay 150rubels. It's allot, but when you enter the airport and go to the left then there are shops and in one of those shops they also sell warm coffee and it costs (prosto) 30r. Maybe it was something different, but I think it was the same, black coffee. In this airport there are not as many shops as in the international airport Sheremetyvo 2.
So after a few hours you have seen it all. You can find shops for mobile phones, shops with souvenirs; there is even a post office in this airport and not in Sheremetyvo 2. There was one thing that I found a little spectacular; all the people who smoke just throw their burning cigarettes in a bin. In the bin there can be paper, plastic...and other things that belong there. So every few hours you can see a fire outside in the bins if you are lucky. I so wanted to go into Moscow city because I still had more then 10hours before my plane would leave. But I didn't know anyone there, I hadnít planned to visit Moscow city and I was not sure that I could get back at airport on time, so I stayed waiting in airport. This way I could also catch up some sleep.
Finally it was time for my plane to leave, in the evening the airport got crowded, but everything went well. After my plane from Moscow to Khabarovsk, 8 hours flying, I got almost where I wanted to be. In the plane the stewards could speak English and French. That was much easier for me to ask anything I wanted. In the plane I started talking with the guy who was sitting next to me, his name was Vladimir. He was a company director and he could speak some English, he explains to me why there was a blanket on each plane seat. It was because it really got pretty cold in the plane. And a few hours later I felt like it was freezing in the plane, I was sitting next to the window, but I did had a nice view.
My great wife
Then finally there I was on the other side of the world, in Khabarovsk airport Novvy, the gateway of the Far East. The plane landed and there was a bus that drove us from the plane to the airport arrival hall. I got out of the bus walked into the hall and there I saw my great wife Natasha for the first time.
There was so many people waiting to see the passengers of this plane, it was very easy to find my great girl because she was in the front of everyone. After 1.5year we finally could hug for the first time. mmmm they were wonderful hugs and kisses, we had been hugging and kissing for about 10min, then she said, where is your luggage. I almost forgot that I still needed to pick up my luggage. This placed looked a lot different then the place in Moscow airport where I needed to get my luggage before. This place in Khabarovsk looked rather old; I believe it is an old airport. After I got my luggage we had been talking and hugging and kissing again. It was so great!!! Unforgettable moments!! Then we had to go to her place.
First we took the bus from the airport in Khabarovsk to the train
station. The train station was a crowded place. First we searched for a
place where we could eat. It was the first time that I eat Russian food
and it was actually different then the food from Belgium. But for sure
it was not bad because in those 3 weeks that I was in Russia I gained
more then 5 kilos. After the nice Russian soup we went to the train
station to get our train because we needed to get from Khabarovsk to
Blagoveschensk to her place. It was my first time that I was in a
Russian train. Our coupe had a small table and 4 beds. It was a
comfortable place to stay in for 14hours. There was a lady walking in
the train to sell drinks and food, but we had our own drinks and food
with us. Actually Natasha took care of this. The train ride was rather
long for me, because in Belgium it isn't possible to ride a train for
14hours. But it was a very nice experience, especially with my great
After the nice ride through the city we arrived at her flat. She
lives 800 meters from the Chinese border, so we had a nice look into
China whenever we wanted. First thing that I noticed when I arrived at
her flat was that there were no elevators. Not that I cant climb stairs,
but it was just strange for me to see because in Belgium all flats do
have elevators. Her flat was a very cozy place to live in. There was a
kind of an elevator but it was only for the garbage.
The marriage was on the 3rd of October 2003 it was one of
the greatest days in my live. It made me cry many times, because it was
such a great day! But after that day we only could be together for 3
days. Then we had to go back to Khabarovsk because I needed to get back
to Belgium. This was one of the saddest days of our lives, it was time
already to say goodbye to her family.
Traveling to Russia was a life experience.
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