Well I didn’t get off to the best of starts; I Arrived at Heathrow only to find that my visa wasn’t going to be valid until the day after I touch down in Moscow. So pay the fine and book onto tomorrow’s flight.
The following morning however I am all ready to fly, once I’ve haggled down my excess baggage fees.
After I’d unpacked and repacked my kayak so that all its content may be weighed individually, I started to wonder: What sort of drug/bomb smuggler would hide their naughty bits inside a 2.5 metre long kayak weighing 32 kilos fully laden? And then to get rumbled anyway! No… I think I’d stick to body cavities if it were me.
If flying alone into the middle of Siberia wasn’t enough, I have to collect all my gear at Moscow, run to another terminal and check it back in; boat and everything, and all in less than 3 hours.
Since there were no trolleys I was forced to put the first scratches in my brand new Karnali; dragging it from terminal 2 to the bus, and then from the bus to the check-in at terminal 1.
Somehow, even though I was quite stressed and sweaty, I still had a 20 minute wait before check-in opened! Still – a pretty hard graft the first time around.
And even though the check-in attendant first looked at me with an expression that said “I’m pretty sure you just urinated on my best shoes”, I only ended up paying about £100 for my excess baggage in all. Bargain!
But what happened next? I Arrived in Irkutsk at 5am (9pm in London) and slept for 3 hours before being awoken by my new comrade, Vasiliy Porsev saying “Come, Max. Your journey starts now. 10 day expedition on Kitoy River. Many waterfalls.”
…but that’s another story.