Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Land of Smiles

Quick update from Heathrow Airport.

The flight from Moscow to London was very smooth and quick. The best part of it all was that I had a window seat and an unoccupied seat next to me! But the reason for that is quite the interesting story...

While I waited in the departure lounge for my flight at Domodedovo, I couldn't help noticing one fellow passenger, stumbling around and slurring incoherantly to people, plants, signs, benches...he was hardly a discerning conversationalist. Clutched in his hand was a bottle of vodka, which he would periodically wave around in order to further illustrate a point, which I'm sure was very intellectual and engaging.

To my horror, I overheard him telling some poor entrapped guy that his seat number was 19E. Who should be the lucky person who had 19F?

That would be me.

I started to look forward to a loooooong flight.

However, when it came time to board, Mr Vodka had ceased his chatter, clearly finding plants to be not the best listeners I guess, and had passed out on a chair. More kindly, charitable passengers tried to rouse him by various means - shaking his arm, slapping his face, lifting up his eyelids, yelling "davai! come on!" at him, and finally pushing him off his chair...but all to no avail. This guy was out cold.

It was amusing but also pathetic at the same time, and I had a strong desire to take a picture of him but I thought that might be a little rude. Anyways, I boarded the plane and a few minutes later the pilot came over the intercom.

"On behalf of British Airways," he began in that delightful British accent, "I apologize in advance for what will be a short delay in takeoff. One of our passengers has been denied entry onto this flight, and he is currently being detained. However, he is offering up some resistance but we will deal with the problem efficiently. Thank you for your understanding."

I looked at the empty seat beside me. Ding ding ding! Clearly Mr Vodka had woken up and was not best pleased to realize he'd be missing his flight. I have no idea what they did to him, but I'm guessing he sobered up pretty quickly...!

Anyways, thats about as exciting as things have gotten, thank goodness. I've had a great time exploring the duty-free shops at Heathrow, and bought a super-cute Olympics 2012 tote with a Union Jack on it as well as some Cadbury chocolates and an international adapter that was on sale for 9 pounds (which I think is a good deal...still trying to figure out the pounds thing!)

The best thing so far though is just the sheer amount of English everywhere!! I can read all the signs! I can chat with shop clerks and airport staff and compliment the Starbucks barista on her nailpolish colour - all things I was so limited in back in Russia! And everyone is smiling...something I just can't get over! Russians have a saying about how only fools smile, but here I can walk around with a huge grin on my face and no one thinks I just got off the idiot train yesterday. That being said, I'm not comparing England to Russia in any positive/negative way. Just different. Its very interesting!

Well, they just announced my gate opening so I better wrap this up and head over to departures. Maybe I'll pick up some vodka at duty-free...but then again, that might not be the best idea...


  1. NO, no vodka. Bring us Pimms!

    Counting down the minutes until I can leave the last day of school early to come and pick you up. (And the kids think that they can't wait to hear that bell ring one last time this year!)

  2. haha . yes i have been told that too... somehow i know it is only fools who do not smile. other cities of Russia smile more, i think

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