Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Doha to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk - a 43 hour trip!

Yes, you read that right.  It took us 43 hours (airport to airport) to get from Doha to Yuzhno Sakhalinsk.  We spent almost half of that time in airports - 3 in Doha, 9 in Amsterdam, 8 in Tokyo, and another hour in Yuzhno.  And yes, we are exhausted.  

Well, I know you are aware of all of the drama that we went through to get the dogs on a flight to Sakhalin.  The drama continued when we arrived at the Doha airport to check them in for our flight.  We eventually prevailed, and the dogs came with us, but it wasn't easy.  The people at the KLM check in counter were no more helpful than any of the idiots we had spoken to on the phone at the reservation office.  In order to prevent the dogs from going into quarantine in Tokyo, they needed to be checked all the way through to our final destination:  Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.  They didn't want to do that because our connecting flight in Japan was not a KLM parter airline.  They eventually did it, but only after Shane demanded - loudly.   At this point, we were fed up with all of this and just wanted people to do what the were supposed to do.  We had verified with the Amsterdam and Tokyo offices (and with a pet shipper in Japan) that the Doha office had to label everything properly.  Unfortunately, no one told them that.  Once we got out of Doha, things went smoothly.  The KLM desk in Amsterdam was able to notify Japan that the dogs were "in transit" since the Doha people didn't do it (surprise, surprise).  Someone met us at the gate in Tokyo where we verified that we had a connecting flight to Russia.  The people handling the charter flight to Yuzhno went and found our dogs and luggage and verified that everything made it onto the plane.  When we arrived in Yuzhno, we gave the customs guy the health certificate and rabies vaccination forms and that was it!  

The rest of our journey was fine, but long.  We all managed to get some sleep on each leg of our trip so we weren't completely exhausted when we arrived at our next stop.  In the Amsterdam airport, we hung out in the business class lounge and surfed the net, read, and watched cartoons (just Adam did that, actually).  We found a play area for Adam and he really enjoyed 'drawing' on the computer.  

We are so glad that we are finally here and that everything and everyone made the complete journey.  I was so worried about the dogs, that I forgot about all of our luggage...but no worries - it's all here!

B & B hanging out at the Doha airport waiting on their flight

Buster all labeled up and ready to go

Adam wanted to let them out - what a mess that would have been!

He enjoyed playing with all of the 'stuff' you get in the business class section

Playing at one of the children's areas in the Amsterdam airport

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