Dodwell in SOM 2 Meetings at Kazan - Post 1

May 27, 2012

Everyone seems to have their own exotic stories of how they flew into Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan and - for three weeks - home to the second huge cluster of APEC Senior Officials meetings. Despite the difficulties in getting to Kazan from our ABAC2 in Kuala Lumpur, ABAC has arrived in moderate force – a total of four Members, and a solid crowd of staffers like myself.

I opted to fly in via Hong Kong and Istanbul. I think I wanted to capture the sense of Islamic Russia. In certain respects, I would highly recommend the route. Turkish Airlines were excellent, and Istanbul airport is a marvelously bustling bazaar for a few hours stopover. The downside is that planes don’t fly daily to Kazan, and the stopover is a mind-numbing 15 hours. Bring a book. Or several. Or take a city tour into Istanbul itself. I was sorely tempted to do just that, except hotfoot from the aBAC meeting I still had presentations to prepare for meetings immediately on arrival. Another downside is that the plane landed in Kazan at 3.50 in the morning. In spite of inspired efforts by Russian APEC volunteers to give a stirring welcome, there is only a limited amount of inspiration you can squeeze at 3 in the morning on the tarmac in a cold and rainy Kazan.

By 5.00am I was at the hotel – which gave me two hours of sleep before shuttling into the Kazan Tennis Bay Centre to begin a day of Services, Market Access, and a glimpse or two into the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group (good preparation for the Food Security meetings next week). The rain and the cold were a surprise not just to me – most people seemed to have overlooked cold weather clothing. Not quite cold enough for the thermal protection needed in Moscow back in February, but cheerless.

4.00am welcome in the rain at Kazan airport



SOM 2 Meetings Venue

* Read Dodwell's other blog posts from Kazan.


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