Monday, 7 March 2011

Matt on the Road Part Two - Dubai to Moscow...

Tuesday 15th February (Abu Dhabi to Moscow-co-co-cold)

In the north they might say it’s a bit parky… well in Moscow this week it was more than a bit parky – it was a lot parky – national parky! I touched down in Domededova in Moscow and made my way quite sombrely through the area that had been hit by the bomb last month. There was absolutely no evidence of the blast – in fact, someone told me that the airport recommenced normal operations within 20 mins of the blast… Anyway, I found myself compelled to stand well clear of the crowds whilst waiting for my bags, and headed for the exit sharpish.

The “official taxi” stand was surrounded by taxi drivers sporting the same branding as the official taxi stand! Not only that, I tried to order my ticket (which is the best and safest way to stay safe here) and the girl behind the desk initially verified one of the drivers… when I pushed however, she changed her story and he was in cahoots to blag a direct fare – you have to be so careful with this kind of thing…

Anyway, walked outside and within 10 seconds I could feel the bones in my legs literally chilling… It was so cold (around -22) that when my ancient taxi got stuck in traffic, my feet went numb inside the cab within half an hour of the marathon 2.5hrs it took to drive 20K into town.

I have to say, respect to anyone that deals with these sorts of temperatures on a daily basis – after some interesting meetings, with a hotel to help with their marketing initiatives and also with my good friend Pavel who I have worked with for nearly 7 years, I was faced with a dilemma for the following day – 3 meetings, 2 of which were at opposite ends of Moscow, with a projected journey time of 2hrs between each leg, or, take the Metro.

This may seem like an easy option but given that outside the business community and hotel receptions, there is very little English spoken and most of the signage is in Cyrillic – this becomes quite a challenge. Anyway, I’ve done this once before and the only really tricky bit is working out if you are going the right way on the Metro once you get on the train – the names are all in Russian, are around 30 characters long and you don’t have time to read them as the train moves – so you have to do the old cricket umpire trick of striking out a finger, every time you hit a stop.

To be continued...

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