Day 2: May 17, 2014 (Saturday)
Slept in the quiet area in Doha, International Airport, while charging my gadgets.
Checked-in at 6:30am. And unlike the previous flight where there were alot of Filipinos, now, i am the only Filipino. Everyone else is white. I couldn't tell if they were Russians or not. But everyone was quiet. Even family members just whisper to each other.
After a really long shuttle ride and very long wait on the plane due to some connecting passengers that we had to wait for, we were able to take-off an hour later.
Journey: Uneventful. Slept most of the way. Awesome meal though.
Arrival: 6pm back home, 1pm in doha, 2pm in moscow.
Looking out from the plane's window, I couldnt help but notice that unlike Doha, where everything was brown.... here it was green.
Getting through immigration was a breeze. Just give the passport with the visa... no forms need to be filled out.
It was the getting out of Domodedovo Airport and to the hostel that worried me. Why? Well... the signs look like english but didnt match what written on the copy of the Metro Map that I had gave me a little worry.
My first task was to exchange currency and buy a simcard and buy train ticket to Moscow and then buy Metro ticket.
I was fortunate enough to find a sim card seller that spoke English. This (buying sim card) in itself was kind of complicated.
I had bought a new phone, which i found out later was locked to Globe. And apprently, in the Philippines, Globe nor Smart gives Open Line services to iPhone customers. So i asked i had to bring my old but still good (and unlocked) iPhone 4 and use that to plug in the Russian sim card (which I made sure had internet capability). I then used it as my pocket wifi + phone in Moscow.
As I was buying the simcard, I asked the seller how to get to the Metro in Moscow. He told me, if by train, it would cost 410 Rubles (around US$15). But if by Bus/Shuttle (more like large vans) it would only cost 120 Rubles. So i decided to take the Bus.
I was able to get a front seat in the Bus, and as we began the journey, I had a funny feeling of "deja vu". But i later realized I was just recalling all those Russian driving /crashing videos on youtube (shivers).
The passengers were dropped off at the Domodedski Metro Station (Green Line). I bought a multiple entry ticket and got into the station. now I felt as if i was going down into the depths of the earth as I descended via escalator.
I was fascinated with all that I was seeing in this specific Metro station. It was the that I realized, as I tried to study the printed out map that was given by Dr Elena Zhigankova, the station names on my Map and those displayed on the platform werent the same. Plus, i didnt know which direction I was supposed to go. So using GPS, I tried to see where I was, and take the train that was going to the direction of Moscow. So, taking a deep breath, i stepped onto one. As the stations passed, I tried my best to read the platform /station names, because I was supposed to transfer from the Green Line to the Orange line. Lo and behold, I got down in the correct one, but didnt know where the the transfer was supposed to be. So this time I tried asking people, but no one could speak english. So I asked Security guard and was pointed to stairs that led to another hallway, and another train platform.
But i finally got to Kitay Gorod. Got out of Metro but the wrong exit. Instead of getting out at "Marosheyka st", i got out somewhere downhill from it. So i trudged up the hill, pulling my bag along, stopping multiple times to rest. Finally got to the right street, then went looking for the right Apartment #. Found it and went up to the 4th Floor where the Apple Hostel was located.
after i checked in at around 6pm (yes, it took me 4 hours after arrival, to get to the hostel, but Praise God that didnt get lost!) i took shower then changed clothes. i went out and tackled the metro again.
Pastor Pavel Zubkob (AIIAS Russian Alumni) put me in contact with some OFWs in Moscow (specifically Ate Mical Catipon). So I out again to met with them. they had a concert at 6pm which is why they could not fetch me. Actually, I thought I could make it to the concert, but i got semi-lost again, because I was told to get to the Grey Line, and I went through 3 different line transfers to get there (not to mention trying to figure out is the platform i got down on is the right one) so it took a longer time to get to their specific station. I finally reached the right station. When i got out, i was supposed to ride those trams #35 to get to the International SDA church in Miscow. I called them, and they told me to stay, because the concert was done and to just wait for them to arrive. But apparently, i had gone up the wrong exit again because when they tried to look for me on the other exit, they couldn't. So we decided to just meet at the train platform below, which finally worked!
So I officially met Michal Catipon, Daryll Joy Paran-neri, Dygma Doquila, and Milet Cabel) they took me to a street where there were alot of performers, etc. I saw painters, singers, fortune tellers, exhibits, animals for photo op and so much more! At the end of that looong street (forgot the name) we sat and ate at an overcrowded McDonalds until the sun went down( at 10pm). Despite being tired from the 30+ hour travel, i am glad i still decided to meet with them, because i was finally able to relax and hear language that I understood not to mention i had additional people to contact in Moscow in case of emergency! Plus, on the way home, they taught me how to traverse the Metro less stressfully by looking at the colors instead. Got to Apple Hostel right before midnight, went straight to sleep.
I may not have "rested" much on this Sabbath day, but the Lord took VERY SPECIAL CARE of me during this day. And I praise Him and thank Him for never ever leaving me feeling abandoned or lost as I made my way here. And to cap it off, He put me in contact with these wonderful people who took me under their wing and made me feel right at home.