Tuesday Morning, 9 a.m.

In Moscow now.

It’s cold, but not, you know, COLD.

Spent about 20 hours travelling to get here. The low point was the transatlantic Swiss Air A 330, with seats designed, apparently, for the cast of “it’s a small world.”

Today is our Air Siberia flight to Chelyabinsk. We’ll see how that compares.

Moscow is big and brilliant and messy and glorious. When we get back here Sunday, I definitely want to hang with some readers who offered to act as guides, who can help show us more of it.

We dined on pelmeni and borscht and chicken last night.

My entire life, I’ve always wanted to see this city. But I just realized: I know absolutely nothing of the cartooning scene here…

Sleep in a real bed was great. I fell asleep around 9:30, woke up at 7:30 so feeling a bit more human at this point. A driver named Vlad is picking us up at 11 to head back to the airport for the flight to Chelyabinsk. We arrive Chelyabinsk 4 pm -ish and then find out which hotel we’re at. I believe we have a translator there as well as a driver.

As in the West, the more expensive the hotel, the fewer freebies. No breakfast with the room, pricey (and very spotty) internet access. Still, the feeling of security here is palpable, and the hotel is situated just off of Moscow’s equivalent of Oxford Street.

Only two more time zones to go, and we’ll be in Chelyabinsk. The aging Tupolev airplanes at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport reminded me of the giant, aging Soviet trawlers I saw docked in the Shetland Isles fifteen years ago. Of course, some of the airliners are far newer than you’d think. Honestly, after Swissair, I’m looking forward to any other carrier.

Judith and I still haven’t broken into the Swiss chocolates we picked up in Zurich, on our race between planes. But dinner last night was great. I think there is some Slavic genetic predisposition to really find comfort in a hot bowl of borscht…

Instead of paying $30 for breakfast each here at the hotel, we hit the streets and ended up with some pancakes and coffee. A small sense of victory ensued.

Our next hotel is *supposed* to have internet access. We’ll see…


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