Day 2 - March 21
It was already 7:00 AM and the city seems still quiet. Below, only a few people can be seen walking on the streets. Eleazar, my classmate from Peru, told me last night that only few people are seen outside because most of them pass the subways—the Metro, they call it, those marvelous underground structures used as shelter during the last world war.
It seems to me Moscow is peaceful, not hectic like Manila. I saw only a few cars and traffic was nowhere to be seen, although from time to time, cars have also to stop at street lights. Quite orderly. Buildings were more of less of the same design. Like boxes, especially the apartment houses.
It was still snowing when we came down the hotel. Oleg fetched us for our flight to Zaporozhye. There were no porters at the airport nor at the hotel. We were left on our own to carry our luggage. How my shoulders ached. Surprised that there were only four of us in the pre-departure area. Later we learned that foreigners have separate terminal areas. Upon boarding, we were again whisked to the ramp separately. The Russian passengers boarded only when we were already settled on our seats. And there were no seat numbers.
Then Zaporozhye--our home city for the next four months, a major industrial city of the Ukraine region. We stopped in the middle of a big airport, doubling as an air base. At the far other side are hangars of the MIG fighter planes. Temperature was -10 degrees C and first time I stepped on melting ice; I had no hat nor gloves. The winter wind was terrible. I couldn’t understand why the baggage claim area was outside the terminal.
Settled at the 10th and last floor of Hotel Zaporozhye (In Tourist Hotel) - the best in the center of the city. Vladimir Soroko, our training director came up to welcome us. Went down at 9PM with Jorge and Eleazar. The basement bar was full and noisy and there were many beautiful girls. Didn’t know what to drink. Finally, I decided to go back to my room and rest. Still a long way to enjoy.