Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Long Trip to Russia

Привет! Hi from Russia! I just learned how to change the keyboard on my MacBook, so I can now type in Russian, although I do need to use my phone to guide me on where the letters are. Anyways, it's been three days since I landed in Ufa, and it's been an overwhelming whirlwind, but I will get to all that later.

So, last week (August 24) I left the United States. First, my brother, my mom, and I drove from Cleveland to Columbus where I flew out around 2:45. I flew out from Columbus because it was about $300 cheaper! My mom walked in with me and I cried when I said good-bye. I typically cry a lot, but it didn't really hit me until I was saying bye. I am very close to my mom so I struggle with being apart. I got to the airport relatively early because we had to drive there and just in case there was traffic we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time. The wait was long, but I passed the time with some Netflix.
Downtown Columbus, OH
I landed in Washington D.C. around 4:00. The flight was super short. When I landed I walked to see where my gate was. I was wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket so I was sweating really bad. It was gross, and yes, necessary for you to know. I really wanted to eat at Max and Erma's to have some tortilla soup for the last time, but it turned out that it was in a completely different place that I needed to take a train to. I decided to head back to where I arrived and ate at a place called &pizza. There was no room at the bar so I ended up just buying the pizza and sitting on a bench. The place started to clear up by the time I was done so I made my way to the bar. I talked with several people who were also there. I decided to have a couple drinks because I wanted to pass the time and not sit at the gate forever.
 Then I headed back to where my gate was and spoke with my aunt and my mom on the phone. After I watched some more Netflix. Finally around 9:20 pm we boarded the plane. There was actually a lot of room but the flight attendants were getting annoyed because people wanted to sit in this other section that was between economy and business class. It was pretty funny because they were yelling at these people who didn't understand that you had to pay more. I honestly didn't understand why you would want to pay $249 more dollars to sit in a section that wasn't much different than economy, except if you sat in the row right in front of me because it was an emergency exit so you had more leg room. Other than that the seats might have been bigger, but I doubt it. Luckily, the guy sitting next to me decided to upgrade so on my second of three international flights I didn't have anyone in between me and the other seat. I must have good luck!

The flight was good. I had Indian food and vanilla ice cream for dinner. I also watched Grand Budapest Hotel, but it was hard to follow along. It was really hard to sleep because my restless legs kept wanting to move even though I took about 4 Aleve! However, I must have slept through most of it because when I finally woke up there were only 4 hours left of the 12 hour flight.
Somewhere over Iran
We landed in Dubai around 7 pm which actually worked out well because I was so tired it actually felt like evening. A few days before I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I planned on staying in the Dubai airport, but last minute I decided to look up hotels and then remembered about Airbnb*. I messaged Shahinda and Pradip about staying at their place and if they would be able to pick me up. It was very last minute but they said they would be able to pick me up! Actually, it was so last minute that I didn't book the room until I was in the Columbus airport. It was such a good decision because first, I would have been so lost trying to get a taxi, and second, it turns out that I needed to go to a different terminal for my next flight which I don't know how I would have done it in the airport. It took me a while to find them because the wifi didn't work in the arrival area so there was no way I could contact them. I was getting really stressed out and I was really hot (it was about 90 degrees in Dubai). One of the workers came over and asked if I needed help. When he told me the wifi wouldn't work he said to go back to where the people were standing with signs and that's when I saw Pradip holding a sign with my name. he helped me carry my bag to their car and then put my bags in his car. Shahinda and Pradip were honestly the nicest people I have ever met. Their place was so cute and they made sure I was comfortable. Their house was very close to the airport which made it noisy but it was really cool because if you were outside the plane was right above you. The noise was actually bearable. I ended up showering and going to sleep instead of exploring because it was dark and I was very tired. I'll need to go back one day to explore, but I did see the tallest building in the world from a distance, so I guess the layover was worth it! The next morning Shahinda came from work to take me to the airport. It was the best decision I made to stay at their house and if you are ever in Dubai I encourage you to stay at their house. I can't say enough nice things about them.

Since I was flying on a budget airline, FlyDubai, I had to go to a different terminal. The terminal was smaller, but just as nice as the bigger one. I went through to check my bags and I had planned to pay for my second checked bag. However, the guy made a call since I had come internationally and was just in Dubai on a layover and I didn't have to pay at all! It saved me $100! I was so grateful. My flight from Dubai took off around 9:30.

The landing in Ufa is a long story in itself, so I will give you a break and write more tomorrow. :)

*The Airbnb review is all my own, and I was not paid for my opinion by the hosts or the website.


  1. Great photos of the various places you saw on the flight over to Dubai! It just adds a little more to your intriguing story. Just the 12 hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Dubai seemed like an exhausting experience. Hope you are able to able to go back to Dubai for a proper visit one day!

    1. I was so tired! Staying at an AirB&B was such a great decision. I hope to make it back to Dubai one day as well.


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