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I’ve lost a week of my life apparently.  I’ve lost a night before – Purple Hooters were involved – but I’ve never lost a week.  Wow.  I’ll attribute THAT to a nine-hour time change to a country where the sun only shines five or six hours a day.  And by the “sun shining” I mean this:

Sunny day at St. Basil's in Moscow

This was taken on Sunday 12/18 which was the nicest day weather-wise that we had in Moscow. Cold, clouds, and WHERE is the SUN?

I’ve just given the princess some crackers and a rice crispy treat and plugged her in to a Victorious Marathon so let me begin….

I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning.  Prince Charming’s real name is John Smith.  That’s right, folks.  I have to check into hotels as Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.  I also have to check through TSA and customs with “John Smith”.  I will rant on those two federal wastes of taxpayers money entities later, but suffice it to say that it adds an element of challenge to air travel.  After two quickie flights to arrive in JFK for the nonstop flight to Moscow, we have already been “on the road” for eight hours by boarding time.

The flight is ONLY 10 hours due to the friendly tailwind and when we arrive in Moscow it is 11 a.m.  This is lovely and keeps us from wasting a day there except that I CANNOT SLEEP ON A PLANE.  I just can’t.  I think it’s partly because I’m a control freak and a backseat driver (I don’t sleep in cars either) and partly because I am a “maximum comfort” kind of girl.  I like my fluffy pillows and bedcovers and silky 400+ thread count sheets.  And, yes, I do judge you if I’m at your house and you have cheap sheets.  You might still be my friend at the end of the visit, but I don’t want to sleep at your place ever again.

Anyway.  I can’t sleep and stay up all night watching movies and pacing as much as humanly possible.  I have to walk around because I am totally phobic about DVT.  I was raised by a nurse who tossed around phrases like “throw a clot” so I KNOW that is probably how I will die.  Every twinge in my leg or arm or neck or back is “OMG.  That’s probably a clot.”  I self medicate with daily aspirin even though no doctor has ever recommended it.  If 81 mg is good, then 250 must be better, right?  This is why I can fill a pint bag with blood in 3 minutes flat when I donate at the Red Cross.  It’s also why it takes 30 minutes and triple bandages for the bleeding to stop, but NO ANEURYSMS FOR ME thank you very much.

Upon arrival in Moscow, we finally get our luggage and clear customs.  Customs in Russia is nerve-wracking because I can never remember if I’m supposed to claim the big stacks of crispy (now sweaty after 18 hours strapped to my body) one hundred-dollar bills we brought over.

Our driver Vlad picks us up and drives the 60 miles to the city.  Luckily for us there was minimal traffic so it only takes about 2 1/2 hours.  Arriving at the hotel we check in and go for a walk.  My southern bred body is in shock by the 35 degree weather but we make do and find a great burger joint a few blocks away.

Insert plug here for Corner Burger in Moscow.  Excellent food, service and prices.  I’ll share more later.

Exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep, we find our way back to our hotel and discover that it is only 5 p.m.  John and I rally around our new mantra, “We HAVE to stay up until 9.  We HAVE to stay up until 9.”  At 5:30, I am sound asleep, fully dressed flopped on the bed sideways with Prince Charming takes a shower.

When he finds me sleeping, he wakes me with a NEW mantra, “We HAVE to stay awake until 8.”  I head to the bathroom hoping to be revived by a cold shower.  Upon exit, I find the Prince happily snoring and wake him with yet ANOTHER mantra.  “Get your ass up.”  And that’s pretty much the last thing I remember until 1 a.m. when I pop out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

This is going to be (another) long day.

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