Greetings from the Seoul Incheon Airport! We have made it through one leg of the trip safely and relatively peacefully! Here's a quick recap of the day so far...
Luba (Ivan's wife) called around 11:15am to say that Ivan was about 15 minutes out. SCORE! Tatiana's VISA was in Vladivostok. Whew! We all ate a quick lunch and finished packing. When Ivan and Sergei arrived, T took one look at Sergei and immediately started crying. She associates him with the car... not good!
The tears started as soon as she saw the car. Good news: Ivan actually had a car seat! Bad news: She HATED it! Should be an interesting ride home from the airport. I ended up taking her out of the car seat because she was getting really worked up. This won't be a splurge we can afford much longer...
We got to the airport and proceeded to get checked in. The Vlad airport does things a little differently than the US. As soon as you enter the check in "room" you go through a metal detector AND put your bags through the X-ray. From this point only ticketed passengers can go through. Sounds ok, right? Well imagine me, Rhonda, T in a stroller, 3 LARGE suitcases, a huge backpack, a roller computer bag, 2 purses AND a diaper bag. Yup -- it was interesting to say the least. To add to the madness, we had the singularly slowest check in ever. Not that things are speedy in Russia anyway -- but this was SLOW.
Finally it was boarding time and we were on to the bus to take us across the runway to the plane. To get onto the bus from the airport we had to go down a mess of steps and then jump into the bus. Russia is NOT what I'd call handicap/stroller accessible. Not in the least. While I may have passed the babooska test at the store, I actually got scolded on the bus by a young guy! I didn't mess with T's hat for the 2 minutes we were actually outside. Honestly, I don't even know where it is in all this packing madness. He informed me that it was "very dangerous for child to be outside with no hat". I wanted to tell him "when infant seats become mandatory in Russia, THEN you can lecture me about dangers, my friend" - but I just said, "it's 2 minutes, she'll be fine".
The plane ride was.... GET THIS... totally uneventful. Tatiana was a CHAMP. She didn't cry at all. No fussing during take off, no fussing when ear popped, NYET! She sat nicely for 90% of the time between Rhonda and I. She would get tired of just sitting sometimes, but for the most part she was perfection. The Korean Air ladies gave her a stuffed plane -- which we lost somehow in the 4 cubic feet that was our row. AND she got her own little kids meal. I'll tell you, Korean Air does it RIGHT.
We got to the airport and got our boarding passes for tomorrow. Good news is that we are all together AND we have a bulk head row -- but the bad news is that we are in the middle (the plane is 3/4/3 - and we are in the 4). Hopefully we'll end up having the 4th seat as well. I can't imagine the fool who'd want to sit next to us!! Haha.
Next stop was check in at the transit hotel. We really scored here. I told the lady that she may want to put us as far away from other people as possible -- in case T cries during the night (new place, new room, etc). Not only did we manage to get a crib for T to sleep in - Rhonda and I actually got our own wing - literally 2 rooms, all by themselves behind the little business center. We requested two rooms - so that we would have a place to go when T was falling asleep, but with this unique setting, I am actually sitting in the hallway outside our rooms. I think she's FINALLY asleep. I can't believe she's stayed up this long -- no afternoon nap and it's 9pm in Vladivostok. She was so tired at dinner that she was putting her head on the table. She wouldn't stop eating, however... but she had to rest her little cheek on the table. Very cute.
Tomorrow our big flight is @ noon Seoul time (13 hours ahead of the eastern time zone). Then after a quick layover in Chicago and a trip through customs and it's off to Detroit. I can't WAIT to get home!! Good night from Seoul!
16 hours ago