The flight left last nite at 11 pm and landed in Omsk at 5:30 Omsk time - 4 hour flight - served a nice meal but it was an old plane, no video or electronic music even. In Omsk it was again hot and humid...since our train doesn't leave til 9:46 pm we spent the day 1) Going to get our train tickets which Arden had arranged to be picked up at a travel agency. With no map or lingo it took us awhile to communicate, plus it was very early so few people out and about. Everything went easily after one gal made a map and took us to the bus and another on the bus got off where we needed to and took us to the agency!!! W/o their help things would have been vastly more difficult or costly - taxi! The agency was in one of the old Russian wood houses, neat! 2) Tired from the plane (no sleep) we walked around a bit but by 1 we were back at the train station looking for some place to sleep. The station was beautiful, looked new but the style was pre-revolution I think...marble, high ceilings, pillars, etc. very well maintained. The regular lounge was hard metal/thin cushion benches & they regularly came around telling people to sit up since there were passengers lying on them all the time. There was a lounge area w/ cushion type seats where you could sleep for $2 US for an hour - Mari paid for one. We had gone to a supermarket and stocked up for the nite and day train so dozing and eating and reading occupied our time til 9:46 precisely when the train pulled out of the station. It was a very nice, AC 4 person compartment which we shared w/ Sergie, an aeronautical engineer who managed operations for the engines of aircraft at a large military installation in Novosibirsk including Putin's plane. He had met Putin, got his autograph even so we are 2nd degree Putin! A very nice fellow - wife is a teacher at a teacher's college there & they have a 31 yr old daughter w/ 3 yr old granddaughter, he's 52.
Off the train at 7 am local time and after some trepidation not finding the guy who was to meet us to take us to the apt Arden had arranged he finally showed up. He claimed he was there all along but by the parking place he was in I know he got there late, we walked quite a distance. The apt is great and only 200 meters from the train, we could have almost walked to the apt as easily as to his car, ha! But for $300 US per nite for the 3 of us it should be great...8th floor of an old style Russian apt complex, so we get breezes, big room w/ 2 sofas (Bon slept on the floor), nice equiped kitchen, and bath - tub, Mari is in heaven.
We were still tired - tho I slept well on the train - esp w/ the heat & humidity so did not get out til mid afternoon. The apt is right over a market almost and a book store just down the street had maps to sell us of town. A lady there told us about the bus to take to Lenin statue where we were to meet Kryss & Talaat at 6 as we had previously arranged. Unfortunately, our watches were one hour off and then after waiting until 6:30 and then wandering around looking for a phone to call them we ended up back at Lenin around 8 and there they were. They had emailed us to say that they'd be there at 8:30 instead but since we had no access to internet...oh well, alls well now. Lots and lots of folks here to see the eclipse - T-shirt sales are brisk, met folks from Spain, Greece, Italy, Enbgland, Czech Rep. Went to dinner w/ K & T to a very nice, reasonable good food place - half what it costs in Moscow - and better food by far.