Sunday, August 5, 2012

Finally in Russia, hotel Intourist.  When Nicky and I got to Dulles Airport, the first leg of our flight was cancelled.  The plane from JFK had problems.  Delta was able to book us on another flight to Russia through Air France.  Delta was able to get our bags to Air France from the cancelled flight.  When we got to Paris we had 30 minutes to make our connecting flight to Moscow.  As we walked up to the gate we asked if our bags were on the plane and the guy says "they are on in the system"  which we both thought we should ask more questions but we also thought they could not do much for us.  We made it to Moscow and when we went for our bags, of course they were not there.  No gear, no nothing.  We then went to the lost baggage area, filled out things in triplicate and were told to go to the Red Line in Customs, have the person review then come back to the lost baggage area.  When I got to the Red Line the very stoic military type person was circling and "x-ing" thing on our paper.  As it turns out, the lost baggage form that was completed by the lost baggage person had lines through the boxes and he wanted an "X".  When I put in an "X" I used my pen which was black and the other person had blue...yet another issue.  The nice lady from lost baggage came over to help and we used her blue pen and fixed our very critical errors.  In other words, do EXACTLY what the Russians say, it is their country.

After that we went back to lost baggage and she said she can do no more.  She did something in the system that we assumed would get our baggage moved to Moscow and she said she hoped by tomorrow we can go to Mineral Water Airport, our final airport, the next day for baggage.  Since we have done all we can we figured our guiding company can help when we get to Mineral Water Russia.  After a few hours wait we had some wine and met  lovely lady named Donnara, who is originally from Mineral Water and now lives in Boston.  As it turns out, she missed the same flight from JFK AND her baggage was lost.  She offered to help us in Mineral Water.  After 20 hours of travel and maybe 4 hours of sleep in 2 days we arrived in Mineral Water.  Donnara helped us out like she offered and we found out that we have to call the airport the next day and ask if the bags are here yet.  We thanked Donarra and she asked us to send her a note when we get our bags, also offered us a place to stay should we need it.  People are kind, you just have to get to know them.

After that we walked outside to find our guiding company.  There they were with a sign, thank goodness.  As we introduce ourselves, Victoria (Russian Guide company lady) proceeded to yell at us for a good 2 minutes about not communicating with her.  We did send emails when we could to the people that we contracted with, we even gave baggage the phone number of their company, she yelled at us again saying it is Saturday and they are closed.  What else were we supposed to do.  So Nicky said "have we did something wrong?" Vicky then just stared.  After she got ourt what she wanted to say, I asked what do we do now?  Sergay, our Russian climbing guide who speaks English took over and made some calls to the airport.  He had come to find out that our bags were enroute.

We had to go the gear shop for the other climbers in the group to rent some gear so we moved on.  After we left the gear shop Sergay had received communication that the bags were in Russia, Moscow so things are looking up.   The plan now is that the team goes to base camp and we wait for our gear.  The problem with us going later is that the river rises and we cannot cross after 9 am so we have to wait another day for the morning.  This is because they can drive to base camp.  Sergay had worked out something different.  If we get our bags Monday afternoon, we can get a shuttle towards base camp, and there is a foot bridge we can cross.  Basically unlike the others we will have to walk part of the way with full gear.  That is fine for Nicky and I since we have been in planes for days, the hike is only 2 Kilometers, and it is through the beautiful north side of the mountain.

As I sit here typing it is 9:45, and Victoria called to tell us our bags have not left Moscow yet, they are trying to get them on the 11;:00 o'clock flight.  This further means that we may not get to base camp tonight but might get there tomorrow, one day later than everyone else, missing an acclimatization day.

No worries, we will get there, we cannot go without gear.  Nicky and I went about town, shopped for some more trail food and I found an energy drink called large in Russia.

The battery is dying in the laptop and the power cord is in one of the duffels, hopefully I can communicate when we leave.  No news is good news.

Thanks to Mike for posting this, correcting typo's and making it sound better, the burn is taking me over!!!



  1. Wow! Off to an enviable start! Remember......can/will


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  3. Wow guys... sounds like an adventure already! I hope you have your bags by now... fingers crossed! Good luck!:)