Moscow sunset

Thursday was a fairly clear day in Moscow, although I spent all of afternoon indoors. Here’s a view from my hotel room at dusk:

And from dinner, a very happy-making double vodka, plus a delicious lemon tart at dessert:

But do stay tuned for stories of why the vodka tonic, coming to this blog in three hours….



F. Marie Carter died 20 years ago today.

Here’s a photo of her, with her mother and her grandmother, when I was an infant.  The photo was taken in Coushatta, Louisiana. We were all dressed for church.

How have 20 years passed?

Travel tales

  1. I should have learned years ago: always put your passport in the same place.  Now I know where to reach for my passport at home, but in the rush and cacophony of the road, I sometimes put the passport in different places on my person.  Thus it was on the Austrian Airlines flight from Toronto to Vienna, where my passport was not in my jacket pocket, but I did not realize this until I was nearing the transit desk at VIE.  So off I went, to a gate agent.  “Entschuldigen sie, bitte.”  And then I explained in English.  She was working on calling the arrival gate when I decided to go through my bag on the hunch that maybe my passport was somewhere else.  It was.  In the back of my travel journal, snug and safe in the front pocket of my carry-on.  (This same thing happened on a previous visit to Vienna.  I should not trust myself upon arrival in Vienna.  And I should have learned years ago: always put your passport in the same place.
  2. In a photography class once, the teacher said “Never leave home without clicking a test shot.  This way you will know you have battery power and the memory card in the camera.”  I should have listened, as I have arrived in Moscow without my memory card and therefore my camera is useless.  Until I get a new card.  Which I hope to have done by the time this posts!
  3. A small speaker can be a pleasant thing.  I travel with a tiny Bluetooth speaker, and I can hear my NPR this way, even whilst in the shower.  As I write at this moment, I’m streaming Rachmaninov, since I’m in Russia, darn it.
  4. I am wearing one of my father’s watches, and it appears to like international travel just as little as my father did in later life, since the watch stopped just as we crossed into Canadian airspace on Tuesday.  I’ll find a battery in Vienna.
  5. How can 50 emails arrive overnight?
  6. In Russia, take the price in rubles and divide by 57 to find the equivalent in US$.  Or, my RUR2185 Caesar salad, lemon tart, and Pepsi Light on Wednesday evening (room service, since I was just beat) cost me $38.28.  And worth every penny, since the Caesar dressing was nigh onto perfection.
  7. I have never experienced a flight quite like those on Tuesday and Wednesday, as I read Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  The 2014 book, part of the Mitford series, had been on my stack for several years, so I packed it as my first travel read of 2018.  And at least five times in 24 hours, I had to stop reading a weep for a minute or three.  I mean, handkerchief out and full-on cry kind of weep.  These beautifully drawn characters, this Anglican-imbued story — I identify so deeply.  And the whole Dooley and Sammy thing makes me yearn for a different outcome in my own adoptive father journey a decade ago.  ‘Tis good to feel, even if deeply, and while flying.
  8. Morning Prayer is a grounding and centering beginning to the day, and better so even in a strange land.

As I finished writing at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning in Moscow, the sun has broken through and we have blue skies crowning the heavens.

When morning gilds the sky, my heart awaking cries “May Jesus Christ be praised.”

Looking westward at 8 a.m., through an unwashed window at the Moscow Hilton.

Austrian Airlines

I love flying Austrian Airlines.

Any one of these full-service European airlines is a mile better than the USA-based legacy carriers.  Food.  Smiles.  Comfort.  Humaneness.

Morning in Moscow

10.29 a.m. at home is 6.29 a.m. the next morning in Moscow.

I enjoyed deep sleep for four hours, then fitful sleep until 6 when the body said ‘enough.’

The teakettle was boiling in due course.

So, with a cup of Nescafe in hand, and the curtains drawn back on a steel-gray Moscow morning, I am facing the day.

View from my hotel room.