I just arrived back home. I was flying with Ali.
The trip was quite tiring but we managed to pull through.
Rustam was really helpfull, he picked us up on time at midnight (there was an city electricity cut) and we reached the airport swiftly.
There, we waited a bit at the queue to check in. While waiting, a certain “semi-official” person came towards me and asked for my passport. For those who do not know, this is a leading question to give me your money.
I remembered Marek’s story and quickly employed the response style Who are you to ask for my passport?. He lost a bit of steam and Ali took over talking in Persian/Tajik. He said we are both Iranians and that guy lost all interest and left. 🙂
We got front row seats, overlooking the grey wall of the aircraft, just before the pilot cockpit. The window seat of the row was allocated to a Tajik cardio-surgeon (perhaps a famous one?) who was going to Moscow for a conference. He was nice and talkative.
After four hours on the air, we reached Domodedovo and proceeded to the Transit Area, the dreadful place of eternal wait. You need to wait there for several hours before actually checking in. The wait depends on the time of your connecting flight. Our connecting flight was in 10 hours.
For the uninitiated, I include some shots
General view of Transit Area
Detail of the tiles. (Tile obsession? No, just read on).
View of the refreshment machine and precision scales.
View of shattered window (was still like that on the incoming leg). It’s double-glazed and the outer layer is damaged but not broken, so it does not look like an emergency to fix.
The security officer. Oh, “no photos in Transit Area”.
As seasoned Domodedovo Transit Passengers, Ali and I wrote down some tips on what to do to kill time while waiting. Ali did most of the work and also provided the cheat list.
34 things to do at Domodedovo Airport Transit Area while waiting
- Open a packet of baby wipes and start cleaning a difficult smudge on the floor; finish all tissues.
- Go to bathroom, change outfit and return. Ask where the transit area is.
- Make houses of cards using Demodedovo Transit information booklets. Compete with fellow passengers for tallest building. Organise competition between passengers and officers.
- Switch on laptop, when noticed, smile cunningly and rub palms together. Exclaim “free access!”.
- Take off shoes and belt while in Transit Area. When asked, reply you want to be ready for body search.
- Ask repeatedly where your checked-in luggage is.
- Enter staring contest with security officer. Hi-five fellow passengers when you win.
- Measure dimensions of shattered window; make estimate of cost to replace and start cookie jar fund.
- Sneeze near shattered window; start crying and apologise for shattering it.
- Weigh yourself at precision machine in the Transit Area. Make loud remarks that it does not report the correct weight.
- Count the number of steps at the staircase leading to transit area (15+15).
- Count the number of steps on elevator leading to transit area (62, 26 showing at any time).
- Count the number of dark blue tiles at the Transit Area (limit to those legally accessible by passengers: 60).
- Use every restroom in area.
- Annoy officers at Transit Area by walking up and down a la goose walk.
- Try to learn Russian by reading aloud the signs.
- Learn to tell the time in Russian (hint: ask security officer every ten minutes)
- Take a photograph of the shattered window (normally not permitted, mmm not encouraged).
- Persuade security officer to take photo of you at the shattered window (normally not permitted).
- Play hop-scotch.
- Close your eyes and walk in the Transit Area; avoid obstacles.
- Ask for help to fill in declaration forms (not required for transit passengers).
- Time the cleaning ladies with stopwatch. Congratulate at end in Russian.
- Examine suspiciously the fruit juice dispenser.
- Use foreign coins (not rubbles) at fruit dispenser. Complain if cans are not dispensed.
- Walk across Transit Area making sure you do not step on white blue tiles.
- Time how long the automatic escalator requires to pause; complain if anyone uses the escalator, show the direction to the stairs.
- Ask “Do you speak English?” to security officer. Observe expression when he says “No”.
- Establish the purpose of strange wire that leads to smoking station.
- Walk behind terminal desks; press random buttons when no one is watching.
- Find blind spots behind the pillars; so that the security officers or administrators cannot see you. Hide all waiting passengers in bling spots.
- Observe closely shattered window. Drag finger on it as if deciphering old script. Exclaim periodically “Aha!”.
- Locate nearer emergency exit. Time yourself how long it takes you to reach it.
- Sit at a check-in desk. When confronted, complain that the Internet kiosk “ate” your ten dollar bill. Demand full refund.
Thanks to the tips, time passed swiftly and we find ourselves at Gate 7, ready to embark the plane. Alas, the security door gets stuck and cannot open. Picture here the attempt for 4 officers trying to break a rather high-security door. After 15 minutes and over 4 minutes of video footage 🙂 , they managed to open it and we embarked the plane.
Upon touchdown at London, there is an announcement that Mr Ali and Mr Simos identify themselves to the crew. This obviously spooks the fellow passengers. After a few minutes, we find out that our checked-in luggage has not been sent with this airplane. Great, 10 hours waiting and the luggage are sent in wrong plane.
All in all, FOSSTJ was an excellent experience that I’ll never forget.