Tuesday, June 28
Tossed and turned. Dozed off and woke up around 1:00. Finally fell asleep and was rudely awakened by my alarm at 2:40 am. Got dressed and headed downstairs to turn in my keys. The taxi arrived at 3:05 am for the airport.
|The only time I saw it "dark" - this is just after 3:00 am|
It took a lot less time and cost MUCH less than my previous trip (1000 rubles vs. 2375 rubles). The ticket counter where I needed to get my boarding pass wasn’t going to open until about 4:30. I connected to WiFi and surfed the net to kill time.
Around 4:15 headed over to the counter. Another problem. I get to the counter, hand over my passport. With no bags to check the whole process should only take a minute or two. For whatever reason (that was never said to me), it took almost 20 minutes to get my boarding pass. Three employees had to handle my ticketing. Really don’t know what the problem was but I was starting to worry that I was going to be stuck in Russia. Thankfully I also got my boarding pass for my flight out of Moscow so that was one less thing to worry about.
|Sunrise outside the St. Petersburg airport - around 4:45 am|
Our 6:15 departure was right on time, and the flight was only an hour long. I spent that time reading “The Girl Who Played With Fire.”
|A cupholder in the tray table. I LOVE IT!!|
|They even feed you on an hour long flight. The US is CHEAP.|
I wasn’t too worried about getting off the flight immediately. We landed on time and I had over two hours until my flight left. Didn’t have any trouble navigating the airport this time, made it through passport control and security with no problems. Might get out of the country after all!
Bought a Pepsi Light (still leaving me with just over 1000 rubles I’ll need to change over in the US) and headed to my gate. I spent the time waiting looking up the already published race pictures. There was no way to search by bib number, so I virtually searched through THOUSANDS of pictures. At least I found myself in a few of them.
I had drained quite a bit of battery, so I charged for a few minutes until we boarded. The flight was scheduled to leave just after 10:00, and we left pretty close to the scheduled departure time.
I was already feeling exhausted. Working on only a few hours of sleep, I read until the first meal service.
Then I listened to my iPod and managed to doze off for a few hours. I was surprised at the short nap, since I normally struggle with sleeping on a plane. My seat was towards the back in the middle row, but I had no one sitting by me so I could comfortably spread out.
I tried on and off to read for a bit but my eyes were too tired to focus. I listened to my iPod again for a bit, while trying to doze off again. Unsuccessful. Decided to finish watching “The Sum of All Fears.” We got another meal about 2 hours before we got off the plane:
Our plane actually landed about 20 minutes early at JFK airport. Which was SUPER good news for me since my flight back to Denver departed out of La Guardia. Since the plane wasn’t full it didn’t take long to get off the plane. In fact, it only took 15 minutes from the time I got off the plane until I was sitting in a taxi. That INCLUDES going through passport control and customs. Have I mentioned lately that I’m an expert traveler?
The taxi ride took FOREVER. There was sooo much traffic. But I had a few hours so I wasn’t worried. It only cost about $33, which was less than I expected to pay, so that was nice. And I was super relieved when I didn’t have any trouble checking in for my last flight. I even managed to find an outlet and was able to charge my laptop and phone while I waited. I bought a salad for the 4 hour flight to Denver, which happened to board AND depart on time.
I ended up in a middle seat in the third to last row. I sat next a very chatty guy. He even ended up buying me a few beers on the flight. I had hoped to finish my book, but time certainly went by faster with the conversation. By the time he decided he was going to nap there was only about an hour left of flight time, which I spent reading.
Thanks to not having a checked bag, I was able to get out of the airport super fast. I exchanged my remaining 1000 Rubles and L picked me up just after 6:00. We went to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, YUM! After getting home I watched some tv, showered, and managed to fall asleep around 10:00… which I think means I was up for over 30 hours. Longest day EVER!
Overall I think this was a super successful trip. I went alone and didn't get kidnapped or attacked or robbed or lost. I didn't spend much money, I ran a pretty good marathon. I got by knowing NO Russian at all but the phrase meaning "thank you." I didn't miss any flights, none of my flights were cancelled, and the one flight that was overbooked I got re-booked and bumped up to first class. I'm pretty sure there isn't anything I can't do :D