Getting to Russia: London

After writing a few thousand words in what could have been two or three posts it seems I forgot to include the departure and arrival destinations. My editor of course didn’t notice as she’s had to endure the torture of reading everything which could have been a post. I realized that the destination points (yes, plural) had been left out when replying to one of your comments. (Thank you for reading and giving your feedback as well.)

My itinerary looked a bit like this:

Antigua –> London (Gatwick – TN)
Oct 11 2015
2140 – 1030 (0750)

Antigua –> London (Gatwick – TN)
Oct 11 2015
2140 – 1030 (0750)

London (Heathrow – T5) –> Moscow
Oct 12 2015
2150 – 0340 (0350)

Moscow –> Krasnoyarsk
Oct 13 2015
1010 – 0650 (0440)

For the first time in my life I was not in the Caribbean.

I was walking into another airport: Gatwick Airport. And again the air was cold, and the lights were bright and white. The personality of this building was a stiff one. She was icy and unsmiling. As I moved through her hall and into the large cavity of her reception area it became warmer, but never more pleasant. We made our way to the line for non-nationals. We were silent in spirit and it felt as though everyone else was too. Our turn came to approach the counter. It was quick. We answered the questions about if we were together, where we were headed, and what we would be doing there. Then we were sent on our way. We felt our way to the baggage section holding onto the sight of other passengers and signs.

The bubbling had ceased.

My thoughts were on finding the bags. That was everything. In this moment, it was the most important thing. There was a certain feeling about her, the place, as if one could exist without existing. I didn’t feel anything. I saw a lot but none of it connected with me. It wasn’t cold on the skin, but in heart. The mass of people searching for their own belongings was most potent. They were all doing the same thing some more human than others. Nonetheless the atmosphere possessed the chill of familiarity and distance wherein we only speak to the people we know. Everyone else seems to exist and despite the fact that we see them, we don’t ever see them. This was the same. Finally we saw our luggage making its way towards us on the belt. After surveying the area for trolleys we found them lined and latched. We could use them for about a pence. Unfortunately, we only had USD. For a short moment we considered exchanging currency,but that would have been more trouble that it was worth.

We found an even colder place beyond the doors.

It was icy. Winds slapped our faces quickly and fiercely. Despite the fact that we were willing to join him he didn’t address his rage. He didn’t stop as we walked into his Fury looking for our…not final but intermediate destination. He didn’t stop as we stood in the cold waiting for our bus. He continued to bombard us as we stood with him. This was my first encounter with real cold. (According to the accuweather.com it was between 15 to 8 degrees.) I was 25 year old girl who spent her entire life in Paradise, Land of Sun, Sea, and Sand: http://www.visitantiguabarbuda.com/. It is generally 25 degrees, the sun is generally shining and you have 365 beaches. The winds are generally soft kisses. Paradise this is my home everything that I knew. And to my first encounter my first real encounter my first face-to-face encounter with another country was a chilly one at best.

But that did nothing to dampen my spirits.

The autumn jacket I had pulled on didn’t seem to be doing anything. I was stressed and anxious. I didn’t know if the bus had arrived. I didn’t know if we were at the right spot for our pickup. This was my anxious brain at work. However, you should know the time had not yet arrived for the bus to pickup its passengers and according to the ticket which I held in my hand and the sun which was at the designated spot. I knew I was in the right place, with time before the buses arrival.

The bus arrived on time.

We fished our tickets out and noticed that the crowd had multiplied and was overflowing like a frothing beaker. The majority would miss this bus. We inched our way out of the crowd and made our way around the edge and to the front. Then we stood with our tickets visible. The bus was almost full, and its belly, packed with bags was almost there as well as the driver twisted and turn various bags to arrange, and rearrange so others could fit. The bus conductor took our tickets, noting that we were students, and the bus driver placed our bags into the belly of the bus. We mounted the large beast and sat at his rear.

It was warm, and lovely.

This was the most comfortable experience of the trip. It had been my intention to see as much as I could on the hour-long trip. But after several minutes of the same scenery in addition to the warm comfort we were asleep. I woke intermittently to ensure we got off at the designated spot. After some time the driver made an announcement informing us that we were nearing the drop-off point. I woke Tiffaney. And then we poured out of the bus along with other passengers into a puddle as we waited for our bags to be extracted.

We stood for a short while at our drop point.

Then we made our way into Heathrow Airport after clumsily waking about outside trying to find the entrance. To our redemption, the sitting area was in view as soon as we entered. I logged the airport’s wifi, googled for a map, and located all of the necessaries: bathroom; food; check in points.

We remained there for the next ten hours. Most of the time was spent watching others go back and forth. This was also our first experience shopping (for groceries) in Europe, and we were both shocked that consumers have to pay for their shopping bags. Besides that were was nothing particularly eventful.

We checked in with some talk of over weight luggage, repacking, and payment. Then we were in the departure lounge. We changed a sum of our US to rubles, browsed a bit and then went to the sitting area we were able to board our flight in a relatively quick time, and this time around I was less clumsy in finding my seat.

And then we were in the air heading to Russia.

See you next Tuesday…in Russia. 🙂

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