11 Oct 2006

Visiting Sara at Nizhny Novgorod

With the 2nd year students, Sarah's friends. Neville is the second from the left.
With my baby in her room

Snow scene - its beautiful but soo cold!
This is a view of the town from the Kremlin. The river Volga is in the distance.
Walking down the main street in Nizhny Novgorod

In front of the Kremlin, facing Volga River

With Sarah in front of Kremlin, which means fort

Waiting at Frankfurt Airport

The conference ended on the 8th of October and immediately we checked out and went back to Budapest to catch a flight to Frankfurt. From there we would take another flight to Nizhny NOvgorod where Sarah and Zakiah are studying. Eger was nice but I can't wait to go to Nizhny to see our daughter. Actually Eger is a very small town close to the Austrian border. I wish we had more time to tour the area. Two of our delegates are taking an extra two days to tour and they said they'll even visit Czechoslovakia to visit a bohemian crystal factory. Hmmm I feel so jealous. Anyway our flight to Frankfurt was delayed! In fact it was 30 minutes late and thus we were delayed in Frankfurt and it snowballed and we missed our flight to Nizhny Novgorod. They said that the next flight to Nizhny would be another 48 hours and we'd have to wait two days practically in Frankfurt. So R and Dr Mansor decided to go to Moscow instead because there was flight to Moscow that same night - only at 12.30 am. So we flew to Moscow and I get to see a glimpse of the city.
Moscow was very very cold. Not snowing yet but definitely would snow later. Its a huge city by the way. Not scintillating or bright - granted it is far up north - and mostly grey looking buildings, huge highways, lots of cars on the roads, quite a number of which are Korean and Japanese. We had to change airports - from Moscow Airport to another one which is a domestic airport apparently. The trip between the two took us almost an hour. And we had another 6 hours to wait for a flight to Nizhny. The second airport was not very large and there were no cafes nor shops where we could buy a meal. There were also very few seats around so Repin, Dr Mansor and I took turns to sit. Imagine standing around for a whole day waiting for our flight.
Finally it wastime to board the plane and horror of horrors - there was a snowstorm outside and no covered walkway. I almost fell on the slippery tarmac but was caught in time by a good samaritan who grabbed my hand and pulled me up. It was snowing pretty heavily by then and even when we were in the plane it could not start because the propellers were frozen!! They had to thaw it using a hose with hot water. Half an hour later, amid groans and shakes, the plane rattled its way up the tarmac and managed to lift itself off the ground. We arrived in Nizhny around 9 pm. It was still snowing when we got down but I know better to walk fast now. I grabbed hold of Repin and walked gingerly down the steps towards the lounge if you can call it that! It's so small I think the airport in Malacca is larger. Sarah was there with Zakiah grinning with arms out stretched.
The ride to town seemed long but Sarah said its only 30 minutes. The town, the glimpses that I could see of it from the taxi, seemed small. No tall buildings at all and mostly dark. And its only 9 pm.
The taxi driver is quite a character. OLdish looking but verycraggy face he sounded a bit drunk.It seemed he had seen some action in the Afghan war (of course he fought for Russia) and these days he's peddling goods across the border.
Nizhny Novgorod is a beautiful town. In spite of the snow which fell quite heavily the whole of the next day, we managed to walk around the town, go up the Kremlin and even visit the war museum. I never knew that Nizhny is on the banks of the Volga River. We also met a friend from Russia, Dimitri who took Repin and Dr Mansor out the next day while Sarah and I went to the mall. Later we went to Sarah's room where she and Zakiah had cooked a meal for us. Met Neville and some of the other 2nd year students in Sara's batch too and we took them out for a light meal at the mall,which is huge but had very few people. Well at least they had MNG, TOPSHOP and many of the other brands we see here.

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