You Know You’re Flying Russian Airlines When…
You hear these priceless gems from flight attendants:
“Vi ne v restorane, rebiata. Vse, obsluzhivanije zakoncheno.” (Translation from Russian: “You’re not in a restaurant, guys. That’s it – service is over.”) — in response to passengers asking for water.
“Tualet zakrit. Che ulibaehsia… idi na mesto.” (Translation from Russian: “Bathroom is closed. What are you smiling about? Go sit in your place.”) — when one guy tried to go to the bathroom right after take off. Flight attendant did not appreciate it.
… and unusual requests from passengers:
“Devushka… a u vas kefira net?” (Translation from Russian: “Lady, do you have any kefir”) —in response to when the flight attendants were passing out the drinks.
Of course, if you get to be the lucky one sitting in the last row right next to the bathroom, you’ll also get the honor of dealing with the never-ending stream of passengers going to the bathroom. I flew dozens of times before, but never have I ever seen anything like this.
It was as if all 180 passengers have been holding going to the bathroom for the last two weeks and have finally got their first opportunity to do so. The huge line of people only dispersed when the flight attendants wheeled out their food carts, but quickly came back together afterwards.
The bathrooms were certainly tested to the limits. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but midway through the flight, the bathroom and, subsequently, the flight attendants actually ran out of water. Unfortunately, it happened right after they served a spicy chicken meal, so if there was anything bigger than the line to the bathroom, it was the line of people with their paper cubs snaking their way to the back to ask for any remnants of water that remained. The reason they had to carry their own cups was because the flight attendants ran out of cups, too.
But hey – all of this would be small potatoes. After all, after going through a 20 hours of flight time and seeing your baggage make through successfully, you already have this feeling of victory inside of you and small issues like this are not significant. You made it. Just a little more and you’ll be out of the airport and on your way with the real life.
But not in the Dushanbe airport. Upon landing, I tried to get a visa in the airport from the 24-hour-a-day consular representative, but was disappointed to find the agent missing. “Not to worry”, the customs patrol guy – “come to our office and we’ll call him up right now and get you your visa.” It was 3am.
By 5am, they said that the consul should be getting started at around 6 (which is odd, as he’s supposed to be there 24/7). By 6am, they said that he’s already in his office and will come down in a few. By 8am, they admitted that they couldn’t get in touch with him in the first place. As fun as it was to spend 5 hours at the customs patrol office (they actually have bunk beds where they sleep between the arrivals… and sometimes during), it was starting to get somewhat annoying.
Fortunately, my contact at the organization I’ll be working for was able to reach the consular and by 10am – 7 hours after arriving – I had my visa and was on my way to my apartment for the next couple of months.
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