Saturday, May 2, 2009
Safe Landing - ESC Greeting
It has just gone past midnight Moscow time and I can hardly believe it’s only 4 p.m. back home in New York –has it really been over 24 hours since I checked in at JFK Airport’s Terminal 1?
Fortunately, I wasn’t flying alone across the ocean – my newfound best friend will be accompanying me during the next few weeks… His name is Dominic and he is the cutest puppy I’ve ever seen (at least among other plush toys at JFK International Airport!)
As we were getting ready to take off, the only other aircraft I could see on the horizon from my window was… an IcelandAir plane landing at that precise moment right next to us! An amazing coincidence or a sign in itself? But a sign of what exactly? Perhaps we’ll know more as the next several days unfold in the pre-Eurovision madness!
I was greeted at the gate upon arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport by the Eurovision crew with ESC 2009 logos, t-shirts, cards and even an Icelandic flag accompanied by the friendliest smiles on their faces – not your ordinary combination in Russia, trust me – and we immediately started taking snaps at the official ESC 2009 pavilion and beyond… Even Dominic was treated with an extra bit of affection by the crew and ended up headlining quite a few shots himself!
After spending quite a bit of time chatting about our Icelandic entry (ironically, I was the first to arrive from the delegation and I’m not even Icelandic, although I do feel quite proud of my peculiar pseudo-Scandinavianness at the moment!) we realized that as crazy it’s going to sound, I am the only official Russian citizen of all the entrants in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, including the Russian representative who is, in fact, Ukrainian! Although I was, of course, born in Georgia, the Russian passport speaks for itself after spending my childhood and teenage years in Moscow since the tender age of 8 onwards… no wonder the Russian press picked up on this information from day one!
I have only been here for just over 8 hours but I so wish I could go for a walk around Moscow – it’s truly beautiful in the evening, my favorite part of the day in the Russian capital… the Red Square is staggeringly gorgeous at night! But unfortunately it’s already 12:30 a.m. and I am about to faint after being up for over 24 hours. Tomorrow’s only a few short hours away, and apparently it’s going to be warm and sunny all of Sunday – how exciting to be here sans the muddy brown-ish snow and miserably cold weather!
What’s in store for me tomorrow? Together with the local ESC team, I’ll be meeting the entire Icelandic delegation, including my old friend and co-author of “Is It True” Oskar Pall Sveinsson and the angel-voiced Yohanna, our wonderful performer, at the same Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal 2. I cannot wait to tell you all about but until then, I hope you all have a fabulous day and/or night in New York, London, Moscow and wherever else our loyal readers and the ESC Iceland 2009 fans are following my Eurovision ride with BTR live from the Russian capital… Stay tuned for more – we’ve only just begun!
A quick bite of my favorite Russkiy homemade blinis (I know, I know, but it’s still 4:30p.m. in New York, no?) and I’m off to sleep before an exciting Sunday afternoon only a few hours away….!