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November, 2013
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Russia

As a Dutch person momentarily it is a difficult choice to make, I did make it recently...

Do I go on that business trip to Russia or not. I decided to go, my work is something I love. The people I am supposed to meet are very nice people and we do not do politics. So I went. It all started on Saturday when my flight from Schiphol left. It is a two-hop flight: first leg is to Moscow. KLM and Aeroflot fly to Sheremetevo. I had a 6-hour layover planned. Maybe to meet up with old friends or just to go out and do something. The friends I will see on Saturday, and it was not the best of weather, so I decided not to go out into town, but wait in the lounge. I wish I had not. Not that the lounge was bad, it was nice, 70s style furniture and lighting. but after two hours I was asked to come to the reception where the girls there had to tell me my flight was delayed  two and a half hours... so instead of a 6 hrs. layover, it turned out to be a eight and a half hour layover... I could have taken a hotel and had some sleep..
Ah well. In the end finally the pilots decided that it was a good moment to start boarding: a three hundred people plane, almost completely full. I was in seat 12C. So I get on the plane, walk to my seat and see that of all the people on the plane I get to sit next to a colleague... Incredible coincidence. So it all turned out to be a pleasant flight after all... 

I was even able to get an hour of sleep on the plane. We landed at Novosibirsk Airport around 10:15 in the morning. Had to wait about 15minutes for my suitcase, and searched for my driver. The driver turned out to be an older man, very pleasant. In about 15-20 minutes he got me to the corporate apartment. A nice apartment in an old building in the center of the city, everything is on walking distance. It is a one-bedroom apartment with all the facilities. Nice bath, shower, laundry room and living room with a very complete kitchen.

This gave me some time to put my feet up for an hour or two…

One thing first though: do some shopping for the “necessary groceries”. The shop is like everything else right around the corner. Got me some ice tea and something to eat for breakfast. And since the apartment is equipped with an oven, I decided to have hot croissants for breakfast. The normal inhabitant of the apartment is a tea lover, There were at least 8 sorts of tea, but no coffee. But that also can be solved easily: чашка кофе is only 200 meters away. I must say that is a very nice place: they stripped the old building, left the arched ceiling uncovered, put in nice furniture and there you go with a nice modern industry style restaurant or coffee house…

In the evening I was recommended to go to restaurant RAGU near the Lenin square. It turned out to be in a very modern building that is full of restaurants occupying two floors there, the top floor and the one below. The location gives you a very nice view of the city in the evening and has nice people working there. Also, and not unimportant for a restaurant, the food is very nice. They have all sorts of food: salads, meats, fish and pasta. I thoroughly enjoyed eating there. But after dinner and the two beers it was time to crash. After two days with only one hour of sleep I was ready to go to bed.

 

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