We’re still in London – but we’re not supposed to be! Apparently, FinnAir pilots are on strike, and so our flights to Ekaterinburg via Helsinki last night were cancelled. Fortunately, we’re jumping on a Lufthansa flight tonight through Frankfurt, which will get us to Siberia in time for the domestic flight to Khanty-Mansiysk, but it’s a bit of a hassle. Still, another day in London isn’t a nightmare.
Of course, you expect things to go wrong on big trips like this, particularly when you’re visiting regions where flights only operate once every three days, and English is a luxury. The extra stress isn’t great, but if there’s one thing Manuel’s taught me, it’s not to sweat what you can’t fix. And all my pre-reading about Ekaterinburg being the Mafia capital of Russia has me a little relieved that we’re now just using it as a transit stop.
Meanwhile, London is a pretty sweet city – except for the weather and the British. I kid, of course (well at least about the people), and the weather isn’t that different from Amsterdam. We visited the London School of Economics and had a chat with the postgraduate recruitment staff about some long term options, which was interesting (if vague). Fi and I joked about having a theatre night once a week if we lived here, after we saw Phantom of the Opera in West End. There really is a non-Canberran buzz around here…
One question: are we supposed to sympathise with the Phantom? Never having seen it before, I always thought that he was the hero of the script, a persecuted, musical, Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame type character. But, really, he’s a selfish, murderous bastard (with a great voice). The lead girl is just a flirtatious ditz – seriously, if all girls were that easy, men would never have to buy a drink again. And the ‘other’ male lead – well, let’s just say he’s not the sharpest cheese on the platter.
Having said that, the songs are just incredible, and the set was also fantastically done. Perhaps I’m turning into the pompous Englishman after all?
So, a final day in London, a flight tonight to Ekaterinburg, 12 hours in that city for a quick stickybeak, and then the final leg to Khanty-Mansiysk. And, hopefully, no more hurdles!