I left Monday pm from Detroit into Paris on Air France. I somehow pulled the "Coach Plus" seating -- which sounds good in theory (and looks good too). This is the new thing for airlines -- the rows at the start of coach are now premium, and on larger planes are their own section. You get a little pod - and they say 40% more room. I am doubting the 40% - sure, a little more room, yes, but 40% is questionable. You also get a footrest. A useless foot rest - because YOUR SEAT DOES NOT RECLINE. What the? (that's for you, Sara) And the foot rest doesn't even go up all that high or feel all that strong and secure.
I did score a FABULOUS seat mate. His name is Andrew and is a personal trainer from the Ann Arbor area. Possibly the best seat mate you could want on an airplane - personable, friendly, funny but also knows when to be quiet. Seriously, what more could a talker like me want? We dined on some interesting looking chicken, and had our share of Champagne. But the sleeping was in fits and spurts due to the lack of comfort level. Oh. And this Air France flight made Korean Air flights feel COOL. You heard me right, Vlad mommies and daddies. It was a roasting oven on there most of the time. My feet threatened to turn into ham hocks on me at one point, until I rescued them from the socks they were trapped in. Yes. I took my socks off on a flight. Sue me!
The first small hiccup was in Paris. Air France couldn't give me a boarding pass in Detroit for Rossiyana Airlines -- my connection in Paris. So I had to go on a slight scavenger hunt to track down my boarding pass. CDG Airport in Paris is huge -- I can totally see how someone lived there for a while. After some slight language barriers, I finally had my boarding pass in hand and went upstairs to find my plane. And we were off again.
Rossiyana is a different story. Very clean planes - and very nice staff. However, the best way to describe it is sardines. If you ever want to know what a sardine feels like in one of those cans -- fly Rossiyana. I have short legs and my legs are STILL touching the seat ahead of me. Yipes. For our meal, I was offered "lamb" (I think) or "PIG". Yes pig. Poor flight attendant couldn't think of the word pork. And who am I to blame her -- I can't say that I know the Russian word for either to be honest.
Arrival in St. Pete's was on time and smooth. I love how the Russian's clap when they land safe. It makes me smile EVERY time. I know it's cheesey. But I love it. I, of course, choose the slowest passport control line in the airport. (Perhaps the world) Second small hiccup was there was no staff waiting for me with my friendly name sign. Slight panic did set in, I'll admit. However, I have read many times that you need to be patient and some times traffic snarls can cause issues, etc. So I took a couple deep breaths and went outside. I debated a taxi. However, thoughts of being murdered for my lovely stash of cash that I was carrying (adoptive parents totally understand what I am talking about) kept creeping in my head. I literally had just gotten a rate from a taxi driver and was in the process of saying about 5 Hail Mary's in my head -- when I saw the sign. WHEW! Relief!!
Now, I am tucked safely into the Taj Mahal. I mean the Courtyard on Vasilievsky Island. This is the OTHER Courtyard in St. Pete's. Having now stayed at both, I will tell you -- you can't go wrong at EITHER. Both have fabulous staff who speak english. Both have 24/7 currency exchange. Both are gorgeous. However, this one seems to be cheaper -- and it may be because it's not quite tourist season yet. I was upgraded to a King Studio Suite (thank you platinum status!!) and my room is HUGE and wonderful. I even have a towel warmer! I think I could get used to that...
Tomorrow I am off to see Baby Soup again. I can't wait. Thursday is court. Say some prayers for little Soupy and I. We'd appreciate it. And, while you're at it... please throw a couple toward my Great Aunt Greta back at home who apparently suffered a stroke on Saturday night. She is the wife of my Grandfather's brother, who just passed away last spring. Love to you Aunt G!