End of My Journey
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 11 of 11 › view all entries
My journey to Russia was coming to an end. This was my last day in Russia... I was generally happy with what I had seen and done in Russia, but I wish I had more time to spend.
Reflecting on my journey, I realised that I wasted too much time and money on a lot of things. For instance, I spent too much money at Vernissage, where I bought a Soviet submarine watch that did not work... I am ashamed even to mention the amount of money I paid for this piece of crap. Plus, I ate too much. I could have avoided going to cafes outside meals. Sometimes I would go to cafes twice a day, which was such a waste of money. The weather was so nice, so I should have just bought myself a bottle of water or something and stayed outside, for example, in a park. Finally, my whole journey was badly organised. The biggest mistake was taking China Air. Since direct flights between Moscow and Tokyo were substantially expensive, I decided to take the cheapest airfare via Beijing. It is always cheaper to travel using connecting flights, but I realised it was such a waste of time. I probably wasted 2 days on travelling between Japan and Russia. The money I saved on the airfare did not justify the time wasted on travelling. However, China Air wasn't bad at all. If Beijing was included in my itinerary, China Air would have been a very good option for me. But unless China is included in my itinerary, I would use Aeroflot (the cheapest direct-flight option) to fly to Russia from now on.
Back at Sheremetyevo, I had no idea a nightmare was awaiting me. There was a long queue at the declaration counter, where each and every passenger was being thoroughly checked up. Russia is very tough on Chinese travellers, who are perceived as smugglers. Actually, even I was mistaken for a smuggler. I packed my clothes using pressurised bags, which the immigration officers found suspicious. I was told to open my suitcase and throw my clothes on the street! They thought I was selling my clothes. Eventually, they let me go, but I did not appreciate how they treated me. Perhaps, I was carrying a lot of clothes, but it was within a reasonable amount. Now, I had another reason to avoid using China Air (especially if you are East Asian). Your treatment at Sheremetyevo's declaration could change depending on what nationality you are perceived to be. I remember taking Aeroflot once to fly to Tokyo, but I was never subjected to this kind of treatment. If you are perceived to be from a developing country, be prepared for a long queue at declaration. Political correctness aside, the fact remains that Sheremetyevo's declaration officers are biased towards certain nationalities (especially Chinese and Caucasian nationals). But no matter who you are, queuing is always a part of the whole Sheremetyevo experience.
So, again, Sheremetyevo did it for me. But I could not care less. I now knew that Russia was not a country that leaves a good first or last impression (mainly because of Sheremetyevo). All it takes to enjoy Russia is a little bit of patience. A Russian guy I met in Saint Petersburg suggested that the reason why I loved Russia so much was because I was attracted to Russia's "brutal charm." Now that my journey to Russia is over, the "brutal charm" theory sounds rather convincing.