Hey you all,
This might be some struggle since I am typing on my father's computer that gives me some of the funky Hungarian letters instead of apostrophe and other symbols. So if the typing is off, it is not me, or so I will claim.
Anyway, here comes the first update.
We flew from Boston to Moscow via NYC and Paris. We had a few hours in NYC, so we went in for a pizza and some walking around. The conclusion of the walking around was that the backpacks need to get even slimmer if we want to be comfortable in the long run. However we were happy to say bye to the country at the City. We had less than an hour in Paris during which time we had to get around to another terminal. If you have not been there, even though the terminal buildings touch each other, you still have to take a bus from one to the other out on the tarmac. When our plane was taxiing out we saw the part of the new terminal building that collapsed not long ago (although long enough ago that you would at least expect the debris to have been removed, which it had not). At Sheremetyevo, the Moscow airport, long lines awaited us at immigration. We joined the shortest one, which turned out to be the slowest one as well. A bored looking lady took her sweet time with each person and with those who came from the Caucasus region even longer than sweet. Meanwhile the Russians, taking the No Smoking signs more like a suggestion than actual orders puffed away around. It took a bit more than an hour to clear the formalities, which happenend to be a blessing in disguise, because it took only a minute after we got to the luggage caurussel to spit out the last of the luggage, with Michelle's backpack missing. A very nice lady took care of the claim then we headed out towards the city. There were a lot of taxi drivers looking for a fare, but not the ones we emailed to be there. We werent sure if they were not there an hour after when we were suppose to come out or were no show (this was the case), but we bargained someone else down and left with him in his matchbox sized car. The seat belt did not work, but he was saying that there is no need for that because „he's been driving for 16 years and he is a very good driver". In two weeks in Russia we only saw one single car in which the people were wearing seatbelts.... However the drive into Moscow was very impressive, the city made a huge progress since the previous regime has gone. It was fairly late when we got to the hotel that is only a stone throw away from the Red Square, so after getting settled we went for a walk there. The Square and the area was loaded with kids enjoying the sweet summer. Even at 10 pm it was still fairly light out and the weather felt a little like fall.
By next morning after some painful phone calls we learned that Michelle's backpack was in Moscow, however it did not get delivered to the hotel until 7PM. Meanwhile we went sight seeing: saw the inside of the Kremlin and just about a million churches in there. It was very nice. Then a brief shower forced us under shelter and hence we missed seeing Lenin (his actual embalmed body has been on display in Red Square for almost 80 years) by less than 10 min. so we had to settle for taking a picture of his mausoleum and Stalin's tomb from a little distance. Later the afternoon we went to buy some food and concluded that we have no idea how can the Russians afford to live there, since things were as expensive as in any major city in the US, but supposedly the average incomes are much lower.