Sunday, November 23, 2008
As I begin writing this, I am currently somewhere in the air between Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia. Unfortunately for us—in a string of mishaps spanning the day—our plane is being diverted back to Helsinki Airport. Here’s a brief history of our trip thus far:
22 November 2008
8:00 AM: Meet at Whalen Center. I am not feeling well at all due to a late night DP Dough calzone. I have Brian Hoeflschweiger to thank for that. We depart by 8:30 on a charter bus to NY.
12:00 PM: Our bus driver puts too much trust on his GPS and we wind up on a Long Island parkway that we don’t belong on. We inevitably meet our first underpass that the bus is too tall for, and must stop in the middle of a busy parkway. As if this wasn’t dangerous enough, the driver had no choice but to start backing up, blindly against traffic. Within minutes a state trooper is on the scene and is escorting our bus over the lawn back to the highway. We’re back on our way.
2:30 PM: Arrive at JFK after picking up the cello flight cases.
6:00 PM: The plane to Helsinki was a 747… not terribly spacious, but what you’d expect for an economy class international flight. I was able to sleep for a total of probably 3.5 hours at given times during the flight. “Blog-worthy” intercontinental flight news included Sally Lamb’s spiked blood pressure and temporary “blackout(!)” She was okay after a while of lying down in the back of the plane with her husband, Dave.
23 November 2008
9:00 AM (with time change and flight time): We finally arrived at our connecting airport in Helsinki, Finland. The plane took off, and then after some turbulence we were told we’d be heading BACK to Helsinki to await further instructions. This flight was now officially canceled and we’d have to wait until a 4:30 flight to St. Petersburg (it was only 10:30 when we re-landed in Helsinki).
11:30 AM: After getting some food we shopped around in the airport (using a €17 voucher generously given to us from Finnair). I got some holiday shopping done, and then headed back to our gate to take a nap. We’re hoping our flight will leave at 4:30 – the weather is increasingly snowy and windy.
6:00 PM: The snow and wind was so bad in Helsinki that the plane that was scheduled to land here to had to be diverted to a different location. It’s unknown what time we will be here until… or if we will even be able to leave this evening.
11:00PM: Stuck in Helsinki till the morning. All of our rehearsals seem to be (as of right now) canceled for tomorrow (Tuesday). We still are not even sure of WHEN or IF we can get to Russia tomorrow - this snow storm has crippled much of the transportation in the part of the world (including trains!). Luckily we are in a hotel about 30 minutes from the airport and doing fine for the time being. It's been a LONG day (well, two days really.... non-stop). I've slept a total of 10 hours in the last 2-3 days or so and it is much needed at this point. We all just can't wait to get to St. Pete's and start rehearsing and performing. Our provost has proven to be a fearless leader and someone who gets things done... Kathleen Roundtree has impressed us all! More news (hopefully good) tomorrow...
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