Saturday, December 18, 2004

travelog FRIDAY

I went with my sister to Russia and Ukraine a little while ago to visit our parents, who were living there at the time.
I thot I would try to post a little about the trip...

Hannah dropped us at the airport. My son cried.
I was bringing a violin to deliver to a friend in Ukraine; I made the mistake of asking the girl at the Aeroflot desk if it was okay to carry it on. Sis was disgusted at my naivete in asking. “Never ask, just do it and make them tell you no!” she whispered. She was right -- I should have known better. As far as I can tell, in Russia the default answer to everything is “No.” Granting my request required the woman to stick her neck out, to make an independent decision, to take a risk. These are not habits that have been widely developed in the former USSR. The communists killed or exiled millions -- mostly the educated, the successful, the intellectuals -- and they spent 70 years punishing innovation and independent thought. Conformity to the lowest common denominator is the ticket. Blend in. Don’t make waves.
Turned into a big hassle, but in the end we were able to carry the violin onto the plane.

Chatted with some Russians while waiting for the flight (which was delayed). They were kind about my halting Russian, and laughed when I came up with a metaphor I’d heard (probably not even one people really use) for going to the bathroom (“I’m going where the Tsar goes walking.” - ie, the only place he doesn't ride his horse...)

Finally took off about two hrs late. I have to say that Aeroflot was great, except that there was no more than 7” between the front of my seat and the back of the row in front. My femur is longer than that, so I never was able to stretch my legs out straight. But the service was excellent.


Post a Comment

<< Home