When I bought my plane ticket from Munich, Germany to Phuket, Thailand, I knew that travel date would represent the end of my 7-month European adventure and the beginning of the SE Asia leg.
I also realized that I’d just unintentionally added a visit to another historical landmark to my world tour: the Edward Snowden Airport (better known as the Sheremetyevo International Airport). This was the airport that President Obama trapped Snowden in for 40 days.
By now, you’ve probably heard of Edward Snowden. Like a true hero, he selflessly put his life on the line, threw away an extremely high-paying, secure job, and worked with journalists to carefully reveal countless illegal spying programs that are being run by the US government and their contractors.
Snowden saw what happened to people when they went up against any of the 17 [publicly known] US spy agencies. Their stories heavily influenced his decision to go to the press and ask for political asylum from the wrath of an embarrassed US government.
Obama had an opportunity to evolve and admit that the revealed programs were illegal and immediately end them. Instead, he reacted to the Snowden revelations the way a vampire would to sunlight. Obama sent an extradition order to Hong Kong for Snowden’s immediate arrest.
Hong Kong’s justice secretary, Rimsky Yuen… said Hong Kong immigration records listed Snowden’s middle name as Joseph, but the US government used the name James in some documents.
Yuen said US authorities had also not provided his passport number.
With that, Snowden was able to legally get on the plane from Hong Kong to Moscow. After landing, he planned on switching to a plane going to Cuba, then switching again to Ecuador.
Unfortunately, Obama took the best [immoral] action he could in that situation by revoking Snowden’s passport while his plane was in the air to Moscow. This meant that he was not legally allowed to board the plane to Cuba, or enter Russia. Snowden – a man without a country – was stuck in the Moscow airport.
40 Days of Uncertainty
Which brings us back to my Moscow experience. According to the story, he was hiding in the airport for 40 days, but where? Was he hiding somewhere in Terminal F, as one documentary suggests? Or was he in the airport hotel in Terminal E, as some others have suggested? Or somewhere else entirely? We’ll probably never know with absolutely certainty. I knew one thing for sure, though: I had to make the most of this opportunity.
Sadly, my two hour layover in Moscow was slashed by three things. The flight out of Munich was delayed, the walk from Terminals D to F took 20 minutes, and the airport has a policy of requiring all passengers to go through another security checkpoint. This last delay included running your luggage through another scanner and checking passports through a database.
After these delays, I frantically raced to Terminal E, rounded the corner, and was stopped suddenly in my tracks by the sight of it. There it was, the Vozdushny Express Capsule Hotel. Upon gathering myself, I took some pictures and quickly continued on my way. I had to be careful not to get so caught up in the moment that I missed my flight to Thailand.
I have no idea where Ed Snowden was hiding in the Sheremetyevo Airport. However, seeing as though all international passengers have walked through these terminals, I can say this much with certainty: I walked where of one of my personal heroes, Edward Joseph Snowden, walked. That means the world to me.