“I don’t think there’s anyone in Russia who doesn’t know what a drunk person looks like.”

I have to qualify this hilarious yet disturbing story with two anecdotes:

1) When we lived in Europe, one of my dad’s coworkers heard that I was planning on doing a lot of backpacking while studying in Austria for a semester. He told me, completely seriously, to never, ever fly with Russia’s Aeroflot airline. No matter how cheap, no matter how enticing the destination, they were bad, they were falling apart, they were dinosaurs and decaying remnants of the Soviet Union, etc. Anyways, he convinced me, and my cheap transportation experiences never got sketchier than public bus rides through eastern Europe or the Italy-Greece ferry that made us sleep on the deck in the middle of a storm. But no Aeroflot.

2) On the way back from Austria, waiting at 2 in the morning for my flight to London from the Vienna airport, I was sitting in front of a closed Aeroflot counter. There was a sticker on the window, which I had to copy in my journal to prove to my dad that I wasn’t making up it’s wording: “If we are not smiling, it is because we are working hard to make you smile,” it said in all Russian seriousness.

That said…



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