The purpose of this trip to Moscow is to start the process of opening my law firm’s Moscow sub-office. Or to start a partnership with a Russian law firm. Or something. It’s an exciting trip, but also completely unpredictable since I’ve never done anything like this here. I’ve also been asked to teach a class at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
I’ve got my two business suits, my laptop, a bazliion cords…let’s get some shit done.
The journey began unusually. No crowds in Tucson, no jostling in LA– it all made me wonder how I got so lucky. Part of it is the massive overhaul at LAX’s international terminal, which has been under renovation for years. The old terminal was dark and smelly and made you feel like you were trapped in an 80s basement. The only food in the Aeroflot wing was a grab-and-go sandwich kiosk. This time I got to buy my overpriced food in a light and airy expanse with piped-in calming, classical music. Only the duty free shops blasted techno. Or house. Or Eurodance. How would I even know the difference?
The flight was delayed because of baggage loading– at the time this seemed unremarkable but had serious consequences later (foreshadowing!).
We landed and everyone immediately opened their overhead bins, as usual. Aeroflot flight attendants have entirely given up on trying to get people to sit down while taxying. Some bags fell on me, but that’s par for the course.
Inside the airport, the baggage claim area had erupted into chaos. Somehow, on this direct, non-stop, no-changing-planes flight, half the passengers’ luggage was lost. Angry, sleep-deprived travelers stormed the baggage desk while sluggish Aeroflot employees made passengers fill out forms in triplicate one at a time. You had to push your way to the front, beg the lady to give you the three forms, fill them out in front of her, show them to her, and only then would she give you further instructions. Which turned out to be standing in another line.
I got to the little apartment I rented– it’s charming– and thanked my lucky stars I’m staying by myself this time. I can wander around naked while my shirt and underwear dry.