Wednesday, January 3, 2007

From Russia with Love

I manage to make it to the airport on time. Anastasia and I have a bit of a debate as to whether my baggage I left is at the same airport that I am flying out of. A few moments of panic, and then we realize that everything is in line. I make my way through the airport check ins. At one point a security guy is going through all my luggage and finds a horn from Kathmandu. He squeezes is and jumps up, startled. He looks up and around, gets the attention of another security checker, and squeezes it again. They both break out in laughter and I follow suit. Wow - Russians laughing with me at the airport! A great way to finish my trip. It was almost as funny as when I realized my zipper was down for about an hour in the airport... ummm, yeah, another good one. Maybe that's why everyone was smiling and laughing at me?

I continue through the check in process and get to my gate. As I proceed, the security checker finds my bottle of Absinthe, and quickly takes it away! WHAT?! Duty free is right there! I proceed to make several arguments, none of which is understood. As I stand there, pleading my case, I hear off in the distance, "Welcome to Russia!" I look up to see a beautiful Russian girl with long blondish-red hair, smiling at me. "Hey - can you talk to these people for me?" I ask her for help. She comes over and soon she explains the options. "Leave the bootle here with them, or drink it." Ummmm....Okay.... I crack the bottle and announce to the rest of the people waiting that there is free Absinthe for the drinking! I thank my new found friend, Alena, for the support and we share several shots before we get onto the plane. As we head to our seats, Alena invites me to join her later in the flight. Spicaba! I pass out and have beautiful dreams, spawned by this historic, dark liquor...

I wake up and join Alena for the rest of the long flight. We talk about many things, including a the Economist article about Neurology and Brain Science. This comes right after I am explaining to Alena about Plato and the Allegory of the Cave, and we discuss whether or not we we can ever know what is real and what is fantasy. (Literally, I open the magazine and that article is referenced in the section we are reading - sweet.) I make one dire mistake of telling Alena that I know how to Salsa dance (that's another story)... By the time we land we have built a stong connection and one that we plan to build on. What a great way to finish up the trip. Out of Russia... with love! And I mean that as a great metaphor. The entire Russian finale experience transformed from one of a cold confrontation and challenge, to a warm grateful feeling, with love. What better concept of Self Actualization????

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