Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smooth Sailing to St. Pete's

Deja Vu! I am back in St. Pete's! Much less snow and no visible ice sheets to walk on (thank goodness!) but the rest is about the same.

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!

10 comments:

Joy said...

I am so glad to know that you are back there safe and sound. I will say a prayer for you.
Joy

Heather and Chad said...

I feel like I am having Deja Vu just reading your post!!!! The planes, the food, the airports, Courtyard on V Island....it is all coming back to me!!! (We LOVED the courtyard on V Island!) So glad you made it!! You will do GREAT at court! Keep the updates coming! :)

Sally...4 boys + 1 princess.. said...

What baby home is soup at? Ava Grace was at #16. Glad to hear all is well there and hope you can go out and see some of the sights, they are beautiful.

Lakeshore Cottage Living said...

As soon as you said Air France I knew you were in trouble....terrible airline.

I am glad you are comfy now!!!

AASB said...

so happy to hear about your adventure thus far and I look forward to baby Soup visiting me in Almont this summer.
love you...

Stacey said...

Congrats Amy - I hope court is fast and easy. Enjoy the trip and the beauty of St. Petes! I hope to take my guy to see St. Petes / Moscow some day :) I'll keep the hotel suggestion in mind.

Troy and Rachel said...

Loved reading this and that you are safely there!! We'll be praying court goes smooth and for your Aunt Great - take care!!

Barb said...

So glad you're there safely . . . you're so close to me now:) You'll be in my thoughts Thursday!

Lindsay said...

Good luck with court and have a wonderful reunion.

mama t said...

i love your writing and have to say, i cry a little reading this journey:) glad you are safe and have a towel warmer!