The Wheels on the Bus and Trans-Siberian Simulated Sleep: Sunday 22nd April

This morning we got up early and caught the bus to Sheremetyevo International Airport. Our flight was not until almost 15:00, but given the quality of Russian roads and the judiciousness of Russian passport officials, we decided that it would be best to get to the airport with as much time to spare as possible. This turned out to be a very good idea, as about 40 minutes into the bus ride (which should have taken about 45 minutes to an hour) there was a rather loud commotion, with the other passengers first shouting at each other and then remonstrating with the bus driver. This resulted in the bus driver turning around on a busy motorway, and going in a completely different direction, and as the only word that I recognized was militia (which was said with what was, at the time, alarming frequency) I feared the worst, that our fellow travelers were all escaped fugitives, and that we were now heading back to a secret underground bunker, or worse back to Moscow. It turns out that the driver had ‘simply’ taken a wrong turn and had got us hopelessly lost, meaning that everyone else had to first decide upon the best route to the airport, and then guide the bus there. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but we got there eventually, avoiding all bunkers, secret or otherwise.

Home again.

Russian passport control was pretty straightforward, consisting of only 3-4 minutes of being looked at like a worthless dog, whilst my entry ‘card’ (read piece of paper that was not stapled to anything, and without which I could not leave the country), which I had so lovingly cared for throughout the duration of this trip was simply cast aside like yesterday’s news. The flights themselves (one to Copenhagen, and then on to Manchester) were fine, and it was an emotional reunion with mum and Becky at the airport, as the last time that we were all together was well over 18 months ago, when I first left for Japan. This trip has been incredible, but obviously I was delighted to be home, even if someone had removed my ‘black-out’ curtains (without consultation), and replaced them with a version which guaranteed trans-siberian simulated sleep for some time to come…


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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