Surprisingly, getting into Russia turned out to be easier than entering Australia – a short queue at immigration and a long wait for baggage, but otherwise uneventful. As promised, I was met in the arrivals hall by my driver, Roman and driven to my hotel. The traffic was a bit sticky but this was less of a concern than the laptop mounted on the dashboard which Roman consulted frequently, both to check his emails and to show me photos of his daughter Deanna and his cat, whose name I can’t recall.
Against the odds, we arrive safely and I check in. The Garden Ring Hotel is fairly new and my room is comfortable, apart from the faint whiff of drains in the bathroom. Once unpacked and fed (Beef Stroganov in the hotel restaurant) I Skype home. After a late night and an early morning, the time difference is negligible – I’m definitely ready for bed.