Phenom Trip Day Five, Into The Evil Empire


After a hard day of pulling on a rope and eating Sushi we flew the Phenom up north to Mother Russia with a quick stop in Hiroshima for a sip of go juice.  Hiroshima was a fuel only stop, meaning that we didn’t have to clear customs, just pay the landing fee, file the flight plan and hit the road.  A handler met us at the plane to take care of everything because we weren’t allowed to leave the immediate area of the plane.   This normally works out great and really saves time, that is unless you’ve  been flying for four hours without a pit stop and had another four to go.  Marcio and I conveyed our dilemma to our keepers but were met with the most common word we ran into in the far east when asking for something non-standard…”CANNOT!”   we were up aginst some sort of head security guard who kept looking at us like we were asking to see the Emperor instead of use the throne.  We offered to do our business on the side of a hanger and the guard looked like he was going to have a stroke, finally giving us access to the terminal for a quick pit stop.

Our flight path to Russia took us uncomfortably close to North Korean airspace.  Marcio and I agreed that if we ran into mechanical trouble we would try and limp back to Japan before landing in the forbidden kingdom.  After landing in Vladivostok I saw a large contingent of soldiers and what had to be customs and immigration people marching across the ramp towards our aircraft.  I turned to Marcio and said, “Aw geez, this doesn’t look good!”  and it wasn’t.  We spent three hours on that damn ramp while the customs agents tore through the jet. They just about had a fit when they saw how many cameras we had mounted all over the plane for the TV show we’re filming and I must admit it sure did look like a spy plane.  At one point one of the soldiers pointed to John our cameraman and said with a straight face and wagging finger “John, no, James Bond!”  We all thought that was pretty funny, well everyone except the Russians that is.  They finally let us go after taking pictures of everything on the plane to ensure that we didn’t sell any of it while we were in Russia.    While all this was going on they wouldn’t let us film or take any pictures but I did manage to take a few shots when they weren’t looking.

                                                                                                                Who’s James Bond now?                      

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