Day One - Flying to Moscow out of IAD (DC-Dulles)
I close up the apartment and set off for my journey to the foreign land of Moscow. It is my first trip there and I will get to see Billie Jo for the first time in 3 months.
My friend Steve is my escort to the airport - we enjoy the roughly 3:30 to 4 hr drive from Wayne to Dulles. We stop for lunch at a restaurant south of Baltimore - I have a BLT - Billie Jo has told me that bacon is in short supply in Moscow, so I take advantage of the opportunity. The barmaid gently harasses a patron next to me for sporting a Denver Broncos T. It is the last time I will here Football (American football that is ) talk for the next two months. I also remark to Steve that the days warm weather will likely be something I don't experience until March.
At Dulles I procure some Rubles in case of an emergency - my $108 nets me 2500 Rubles - which is a poor exchange rate but worth it if needed.
The Flight goes well - I sit next to a Russian PHD candidate who is attending school in Pasadena. He speaks English well and we exchange pleasantries - his Name is Ivanye and he will be presenting a paper at his home school in Moscow. There are several pretty young women in my section - this somehow cushions my fear of spending the next eight weeks in alien territory.
There is a soul searching Canadian Art-crap movie titled "One Week" on the plane. I watch it intermittently while dropping in on an episode of "the Office" - It is the one where Michael defies corporate by creating his own Dunder Mifflin commercial - and sneaking peeks at the pretty girls in my section.
After dinner I try to sleep overnight but don't.
There is a light breakfast as the sun rises - The stewards hand out immigration cards - I carefully fill mine out before landing.
The plane touches down - we are a half hour early - it is 3 degrees Celsius and I am in Moscow.