Well, we made it to Moscow!
After a long plane trip, we managed to get through passport control and customs with no problems. And all of our luggage made it!
Our CHI Rep and driver were late getting to the airport and we were worried, but they did eventually show up. We got our first taste of traffic, and let me go on record to say — I will never complain about Nashville traffic again. These people are nuts when they get behind a wheel! And you have NO rights as a pedestrian! They'd sooner run over you than slow down.
We are staying at the Holiday Inn while in Moscow. It's very nice. It's a high-rise and very modern. It's brand new, only been open for a year. They have staff that speak English – that's a very good thing. And there is a bank in the lobby where we were able to exchange our money. Our Rep said that they have the best rates right now. But it's 24 rubles = $1.00. So, we're trying to do quick math everytime we buy something. We just tried to buy a couple of bottles of water and a coke at a nearby grocery store and we mis-calculated how much it would be, when Bill underpaid the clerk, she started yelling at him in Russian. Of course, we had no idea what she was saying. We finally figured it out when she pointed to the screen on the cash register.
We met another couple that are adopting from Kemerervo. They are on their first trip too. They were able to get another flight out tonight to Kemerevo but had about 8 hours to kill. So, we all went to lunch together and walked around a little. They left their luggage with us in our room and they went out again to check out more. The hotel was going to charge them to store it for a few hours. Bill and I are pooped. I figure we still have a chunk of tomorrow to see more of because our flight to Astrakhan doesn't leave until 4:30pm. Below are some pictures I took while out today. Hopefully better pictures are to come!