Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 2: Moscow & the Magic Hammer

Hard to believe but today was Day 2 in Moscow for this trip. We flew into Moscow on the 20th and arriving in the afternoon (2:27pm) and just mosied off to bed in the Milan Hotel.

Today, was the big, dreaded medical exam by eight or nine Russian doctors. We rode to our appointment (1hr drive) with a very nice taxi company called Total Taxi (nice new Hyundai Sonata cars) I've never heard of a medical exam done in this fashion so it was definitely interesting, at times, even humorous. You would wait in the waiting room with 4 or 5 other adopting couples and every few minutes they would call you or one of the other couples into an exam room with a doctor specializing in a particular field of study. These sessions lasted from 2 to 5 minutes each. The entire exam took 3 hrs. In between exams we would return to the same waiting room and visit with the other adopting couples, waiting to get called to your next exam with yet another doctor.

My favorite exam was the neurologist, who bonked you on numerous spots on your arm and legs with a small metal mallet. I didn't know you had this many reflex points. My worst exam part was the young dermatologist who got three of us in the adoption couples, including me with an old, minor skin lesion that we may have had since we were a  kid in grade school, to think we are at risk of dying of skin cancer this week or for sure next week if we don't go see a dermatologist when we get back home. So us guys had some fun with that out in the waiting room afterwards.

At 7:15pm we were back in our hotel after the exam, riding with Total Taxi, this time another driver with same model car. Driving in the heavy downtown Moscow traffic today, I noticed that the exhaust of many cars  and trucks doesn't smell like real gasoline, I'd be curious to know if it's gasoline like we use at home, it smells more like kerosene.

Another aspect of the Milan Hotel that makes it better over the Marriot hotel we had last time, is that breakfast is included here in your room price. At the Marriot it was extra. So this morning we ambled down to have breakfast. Talk about fancy shnancy breakfast of all types of everything. Breakfast like high ranking officials would eat, where they would enjoy three bites of this and three bites of that and leave the rest. We decided to stay middle class and eat a hearty breakfast and not eat again till supper time.

Since breakfast was so serene, outlandishly well done, included in our room cost, we decided upon our return after the medical exams to the Milan to head for supper at our nice, quiet, serene restaurant in the lobby of the hotel. To our dismay the restaurant that we knew had closed at 6pm and was now in “nightlife” mode till midnight. So now supper would be in “nightlife” mode setting and all. The lights were turned low, the music was hard and loud, the big screen TVs were showing two local hockey teams playing. They asked us if we wanted smoking or nonsmoking which was okay in first 45 minutes, until the nonsmoking section turned into smoking as the grey haze overcame the clean air.

Ordering the food was pretty easy, getting our salad and soup was quick but after that, someone must have lost our order, or went for lunch break themselves, or gotten fired because an hours wait passed before we got so fatigued from the hard wooden benches and the acrid smoke that Jen decided to ask the waitress when our food would be  arriving. This prompted the waitress to hurry off into the back from where she promptly returned with our platters of already cold food. Either these guys were understaffed, mismanaged or overly zealous on the minor details that they seemed endlessly busy with but, serving promptly wasn't one of them. The nice, quiet, prompt meal that we envisioned ourselves having turned into a 2hr smoke filled, hard-seated ordeal.

For those emailing asking about pictures, our main camera's battery is bad but the backup camera is working. Tomorrow we don't have any appointments so we will have time to go outside and take pictures of some of the places we go to here. Will post some tomorrow.

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