Saturday, April 4, 2009


Our flight was very early in the morning, so we needed to be at the airport by 6AM. We asked the hotel receptionist to call us a big cab, since we had a lot of luggage and wanted some comfort. The cab that came was very small, old and falling apart. Only one bag fitted in the trunk, and the others were in our laps. We could notice that the car’s break discs were extremely worn out, as they made this constant noise. The car was also in the gas reserve. We thought we may not make it to the airport. Well, one last adventure.
We finally arrived safe at the airport and for our surprise the place was packed. A LOT of people in the check in line. But there was not a line; it was just a conglomerate of people trying to reach the counter. We couldn’t believe all these people were flying: youngsters, their parents, grandparents, babies, the whole shebang. We then realized most of these people were not boarding, but yet saying goodbye to the ones who were flying. So the person checks in, waves his/her hand to the family, and enters the boarding gate. Didn’t they know after you check in you can hang out at the lobby and still spare some words and hugs? Another cultural difference, or something like that.
It’s funny, once you are in the country, everything is an experience, everything is different, interesting, nice. But when you’re leaving, you just want to get home, and all the country’s hassles come to you at once! So my sister got furious and started to push away the crowd, opening a path, like Moses in the desert, so we could finally check-in. My bag was a little overweight, so I had to transfer some stuff to my carry in luggage.
After that, we exchange our last lei for dollars and went to our gate.
As we were waiting to board, Kerley receives a call from her friend Maria: the receptionist at our hotel had called her (somehow she had her number, but not ours). We had forgotten the hotel keys and she needed it back desperately. The key was actually in my pocket. The receptionist wanted my sister to put the key in a cab and bring it back to the hotel. My sister said we were already in the boarding area, had passed through security and couldn’t leave just now. After a lot of talk (gee, it was just a regular key – but I think the poor girl would have to pay for another one herself), Kerley tried to see if any of the airport shops would agree to hold onto the key until the receptionist gets it. But they all said no. So Kerley went back to security and asked for a policeman to keep the key. Of course they couldn’t communicate very well, but thanks to a woman who was around and spoke English, the policeman agreed to have the key. And he gave Kerley his phone number, in case the hotel people needed to locate him. His name was Ruslan.
OK, the airplane to Frankfurt was there. I’ve never seen this, but we had to board through the back of the plane. It literally looked as if we were entering in the plane’s ass. Other people found it funny too, and were taking pictures. We took one too.
We soon found our seats. Kerley and Mauro were behind me. By my side, in the window, was a young mother and her baby. The Air Moldova plane is very small and simple, and on the other side, across from me, a very tall man was fighting against his seat. His long legs simply couldn’t fit in it! He complained and complained, until finally the flight attendant moved him to a better location, some kind of first class seat.
The flight to Frankfurt was calm. The baby next to me couldn’t stop looking at me. His mother said I looked like his father. I was so tired I quickly fell asleep. Sometimes I would open my eyes, and the baby was there, looking at me and holding my arm. And like this I spent the entire flight, protected by these young Moldovan hands.
When we got to Frankfurt there was no time to say good-bye, we had to part ways and I had to run like hell to try to catch my flight to London. I quickly saw Shlomi waiting for us and ran to the British Airways counter. I was extremely late.
The last image of my dad I remember was him looking for his luggage in the carrousel.

Next: post-trip reflections

View from our hotel window: