Monday, June 21, 2010



I have always wanted to visit Russia but was beginning to think that I would never get there. Now, I only have one more sleep before my sister and I fly to Johannesburg, Zurich and St Petersburg but SWISS air are giving us a hard time about me taking my POC (Personal Oxygen Concentrator) on board. Mango have passed it but if SWISS air don't pass it we either don't go to Russia or they will have to provide oxygen on board the flight if I need it. Our travel agent is staying up all night to sort this out - at the last minute!
When I was living with my son in Johannesburg, he kept saying to me, "Go to Russia if you want to Mom, just go."  I used to think Yes, one day I will.
In 2002 he made me a special card for my birthday, cutting out a picture of a Russian stamp to put on the envelope. Inside, he printed a travel coupon in the value of RR53,806.14 (Russian Roubles - or R20,000) on glossy photographic paper complete with the Imperial Russian crest. The script he used made the 'S' look like a 'F' and the wording looked like "Ruffian Travel Coupon'!! I couldn't believe he would do that for me, but that is the way he was - always generous and supportive.
There was always some reason why I couldn't go. In 2002 rebels took 800 people hostage in a theatre - 120 people were killed.
In 2003 suicide bombers killed themselves, and many others, in attacks on towns, railways etc.
In 2004 a blast killed scores of people in the Moscow underground and the Beslan school was held hostage. 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children. Each time something like this happened my son said, "You are not going to Russia this year Mom!"
I moved back to Durban in 2007 after my son passed away and last year I told my sister that I really wanted to go to Russia - and that Shaun would have wanted me to go. So, we started making plans and even though there have been suicide bombings in Moscow and other parts of Russia, we finally booked with the airlines and Viking Cruises to go on my dream trip.  Now, we wait to hear whether or not SWISS Air will accept my little oxygen machine.
Please hold thumbs that everything is sorted out by tomorrow!

PS:  One can only do these cruises in the summer and there is a 3 - 4 month window so if we don't go now, we'll have to plan for next year!

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