..or if not 'love', at least some sort of warm and fuzzy feeling. Here I am in Moscow, and you know what? It has made a good impression on me so far.
The day didn't start off brilliantly. I got to work to park the car while I'm in Russia only to find myself trapped in the car park for 20 minutes. We have a cunning key-card entry system for our work car park you see, and I managed to drive in when someone else was leaving. Once parked I found that my card didn't work, so I couldn't get out. It's just as well it wasn't a weekend or I could have died of thirst, or hypothermia or something. Madness. Anyway, eventually someone came in to the car park so I could get out and walk to the station, where conveniently I hadn't quite missed my train.
I experienced another of life's firsts at Heathrow when I was paged over the PA. It was all quite exciting. I left to queue for checking-in and went to find out what it was all about. About half an hour later I had discovered that it was just a request from some of our guys in Russia to pick up some mains adapters which, while not massively exciting, was at least one of the few things it is possible to do at Heathrow airport. Plus I now know how it feels to be all important by getting paged - the reality is that the airport staff don't really know who to phone or what's going on. This is an interesting insight into the way airports operate in itself.
The flight to Moscow was uneventful. Some Russian girl has sat in my seat but it was a good excuse to strike-up conversation. She was clearly reckless as she continued to use her mp3 player during takeoff/landing despite being told off several times. This would have made her sexy and exciting if she was good looking, but since she wasn't it just made her appear a bit lippy. Still, there are worse people to sit next to. The film on the plane was 'Firewall', which was actually quite good. I have decided that Chloe from '24' (who co-stars in it) can actually be attractive. I'm not sure what they do to her in '24' to stop this, because in that she's just annoying.
Moscow airport is like many in the east. As soon as you're through passport control your ears are assaulted by a thousand minicab drivers all asking you if you want a taxi. Thankfully mine was all ordered in advance so it was just a case of finding my name on a sign. This done, it was an hour's cruise into Moscow. First impressions of Moscow are good - it's nice and green with lots of parks and trees, the traffic doesn't seem to be insane, and we drove right past the Kremlin and other landmarks, which is nice. It feels a bit like London in some ways, what with the bridges over the river and the seat of government right on the river bank. It looks clean and they seem to have made a real effort with interesting public art, nice flags on the bridges, and so on. Hopefully I will be able to get a few photos to illustrate these points.
My hotel is ok. The room is nothing special, but there is a good selection of restaurants and very posh shops downstairs. I went to the 'Russian' restaurant for dinner and it was very good, although very quiet. Afterwards I met up with a colleague for a drink in the bar and we talked about work. Hopefully it will all go ok tomorrow...