Today was the final day in Japan, and my first on the long trip home, via the trans-Siberian express. Saying goodbye to Yukon at Narita was a pretty tearful event, but thankfully I had the happy Japanese customs officers to cheer me up. The flight itself to Vladivostok was fine, with almost no turbulence, but the airline was seriously no frills. Call me a diva, but for a £400 flight I expect slightly more than a wheat-free muffin, some bread and a slice of cheese. Still, at least we were offered the opportunity of sick bags, although this seemed to be all they had in the way of in flight entertainment.
Landing in Vladivostok, we were forced to take a 20m bus ride across the runway before being dumped in customs/a tin shed. According to my guidebook I had to fill in a long piece of paper to be allowed into Russia, but all I seemed to be able to find was a scrappy piece of paper with what looked like the word ‘sample’ printed across it. Still it seemed to do the trick and eventually I was allowed through into the arrivals lounge/abandoned corridor. I had missed the last bus into central Vladivostok by 15 minutes, but was helpfully informed by the stereotypical Russian taxi driver that I could get a ride with him for (dramatic pause) $100. Ignoring his kind offer, I instead decided to spend the night in the airport, but was turfed out at 01:00 when it closed. Thankfully the domestic terminal was still open, and a hell of an improvement on the international variety, so I was able to spend a ‘comfortable and quiet’ evening sleeping huddled over my possessions whilst the Russian version of MTV base blurted out of the conveniently placed TV.