Tales about Sheremetevo

Someone was to pick me up from the Sheremetevo airport (see the previous post) but that person wasn’t there. So, I had to call the university. The trouble was there were no courtesy phones inside the terminal.

So I marched right to the information booth and asked insistence. The girl there was willing to help but she speaks very little English. Really?! At the information booth, really?! So her services were about as useful as those of an arsonist at a lighter fluid factory.

After much consternation, I managed to exchange money, buy phone-cards at a magazine shop, and proceed to the phone-booths. However, I didn’t know how to call out of the airport (instructions were in Cyrillic) and the information girl didn’t know what my problem was by this point (and was very visibly annoyed) so I asked a stranger to help me with the phone.

Now for the second ‘Really?!’ moment. I had to ask many strangers and apparently most people in the international airport didn’t speak English, French or German. After many “Does you speak… Parlez-vous…. Sprechen Sie…?” later, I finally managed to get hold of a man who speak moderately good English, who was good enough to let me use his cell to call the university.

So, dear reader, take note: in Russia, you have to press additional codes (8, 810, or 8499, it depends) according to the number you want to call. I did this and had to wait for another hour and ten minutes before someone picked me up. My handler had been waiting for me in the old terminal (or been sleeping in the manger for all I care).

So ended my first unfavorable brush with the language barrier in years. In Soviet Russia, language speaks you.

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