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Being sick is no fun. But no one needs me to tell them that. I bet everyone feels the same way. Having been unwell almost the whole of last month, I felt it rather keenly, especially when I started feeling Russia moving further and further away from me. Of course, both Russia and I were stationary in our own places. But you know what I mean, I didn’t think I could make it.

I pulled through somehow or other – may be it was the desire to go on the much awaited tour that helped – and with some instructions from the doctor to be followed just in case the cold air turned out to be a villain for my condition, was on my way with the paraphernalia of medicines among other things, packed safely away in my bags.

The heavy jacket was in the overnight bag, in case the cold hit out just as one stepped out of the airport. So imagine our surprise to find the Moscow sky a brilliant blue, the sun streaming down on us and the air pleasantly warm. Warm!! The light shrug over my shirt made me feel uncomfortably hot as we walked to the coach. Google! I told myself, you are slipping up. What did you mean telling us the average temperatures would be much lower?

The hotel lobby was like a fish market, a babble of voices. There were people from various parts of the globe with their respective guides and tour managers, some sitting others standing, all being checked in. Excited, tired, exasperated… all sorts of tones could be heard, in different languages to boot. Finally we were up in our room, with just about enough time to freshen up and rush back down to go get dinner. It was an an hours drive away, and if the traffic was bad, it would mean another half an hour added.

We Indians are a strange lot. We like to travel, see new places, but we like to eat the same old food like back home. There are exceptions to the rule of course, like yours truly. Experiencing a place includes tasting the local cuisine, I feel. Apparently this view is not shared by the majority. So the tour company had arranged all our dinners at Indian restaurants. Chawal, roti, dal, paneer, mixed veggies, chicken or fish, for every single dinner. Gawd!

Some pictures from the day:

The first two were taken from the coach, while on our way to the hotel. Anna did tell us what the white building was, but I am ashamed to say, I have forgotten. You can see the Moscow river in the second. The third is the view from our hotel room window. The fourth and fifth also are from the same window, but a different angle, one during the day and the other at night. The sixth is where the Indian restaurant was where we went to have dinner the first night. The last shows our very first meal in Russia.

And then we returned and slept. According to the tour manager we had a long day ahead and lots of walking to do on the morrow. Kremlin, Red Square, were all on the list. WOW! Would we see Putin? What if…? At least his helicopter hovering above while we were there perhaps? We couldn’t get far with this line of thinking because ….sleep took over and soon we were snoring.

© Shail Mohan 2019

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