(This post follows ‘To Russia by chance’ posted on 20 Mar 2017)
When our flight landed at Vnukovo International Airport, passengers started clapping and cheering. This was the first time we saw that. Personally, I see that as not trusting the pilot to be capable of landing safely. In that case, I would not fly with that airline. Conde Nast Traveler editors share their views on clapping after landing in the article, ‘Please don’t clap when the plane lands’.
Vnukovo airport seemed smaller in comparison to Dubai and Mumbai airports. It wasn’t as crowded or busy either. The immigration officers took our passports and asked us to wait. We were wondering why. This had not happened before. We were the only ones asked to wait. We found that odd. Maybe we were the only tourists on that flight. We were called after a long time and allowed to pass.
We hired a metered taxi to Park Inn by Radisson Sadu in Polyanka. The taxi driver played a guessing game of where we were from. After we told him that we were from India, he played Hindi songs! And to make sure that he played songs in Hindi, he confirmed with us, “This (is) your language?”
We were so surprised. We wondered where he got those songs from! The songs were not to our taste, but we didn’t want to dampen his ‘friendly host’ spirit. So, we tried to like and enjoy the songs. That was till we reached the hotel. The taxi driver surprised us, rather shocked us yet again when he informed us that the fare from Vnukovo International Airport to Polyanka, a distance of about 30 kms, was 3300 roubles! Apparently, that is what the meter showed.
Instead of paying 3300 roubles for a ride in a ramshackled taxi while listening to mediocre Hindi songs, we might as well have paid 2900 roubles and opted for the hotel’s first-class pick-up in Mercedes! Oh, we were so ripped off by the taxi driver. His ‘friendly host’ spirit indeed cost a lot! That didn’t dampen our holiday spirit only because thankfully, the rouble as the Indian rupee, is a cheap currency. 🙂
*Coming up next: Russian highlights