Dec. 20 – Moscow
Travelers have passenger days and non-passenger days. As a passenger, you’re on a train or some other conveyance. Your ticket is paid, you have a seat, you settle in to read a book, doze or look out your window. For the next several hours, someone else does the driving. On non-passenger days, you have a place to stay, a map, and a place to explore.
But there are also some travel days that don’t fit either description. Neither fish nor fowl, they are transitional periods where you no longer have a home base, but are not yet on the move. Today is one of those days for me.
My train only departs this evening, leaving an entire day open. But rather than catching another of Moscow’s many sights, I’ve been doing travel administration. I finally went to collect that migration document, whose processing went to the wire. Five thousand Rubles lighter (about $160, ouch) I should be able to leave Russia. I also went to the train station to get my train ticket. This straightforward process was delayed by a long bumbling search for the ticket counter, and a ticket system outage.
Since I’ve been staying at a friend’s home and said friend is now away for the Holidays, I’ve been doing a bit of departure tidying. Mainly, this means eating everything perishable in his fridge, but leaving a fresh bottle of Pepsi and pasta sauce for his return. I’ve repacked my luggage, and am planning to leave early for the train station. Having seen Moscow’s Metro at peak hours, I know it will be a difficult squeeze even though I’m traveling light.
But the biggest difference on a Platypus day is that your mind is elsewhere. I’m physically in Moscow, but I’m thinking of the next part of my journey. I’ve been in Russia for two weeks, which has allowed me to get somewhat used to things. Ahead, for the next month or so, lie many languages, currencies and borders. I will be among strangers in some places, and with friends in others. Border guards permitting, I will report from a new country tomorrow.