Inside the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport are shops, restaurants and a hotel that could make the possibility of an extended stay for NSA leaker Edward Snowden not so bad. NBC's Ghazi Balkiz reports.
Dozens of journalists have been looking for Snowden at the vast complex, but he hasn't been spotted since arriving in Russia from Hong Kong last weekend. Russian authorities say that he is in the airport's transit area -- the zone between the departure gate and formal entry into the country.
So what is his apparent new home like?
Ghazi Balkiz / NBC News
A TGI Fridays restaurant in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
As it turns out, the old Soviet international terminal about 20 miles northwest of central Moscow is quite comfortable.
There are restaurants – from your relatively formal establishments to TGI Fridays and your run-of-the-mill fast-food joints like Burger King (although this one conveniently sells beer).
Local Russian cuisine and salads are available at the more traditional cafes. And there are plenty of coffee shops should the ever-elusive fugitive want to fuel up on caffeine before a flight to Havana, Cuba, or Quito, Ecuador on Russia's international airline Aeroflot.
There are even a couple of Irish pubs, a medical center and of course, free Wi-Fi – no doubt essential for the digital desperado.
If Snowden is looking to buy some clothes, options are limited but they do exist. He could splash out on expensive designer shirts or go budget and browse for souvenirs. He might even blend in as a tourist with a trusty Russian flag T-shirt.
Rooms at the Capsule Hotel in the transit area are available to rent for short stretches – a minimum of 4 hours for $70 – or for longer layovers. Obviously the longer you stay, the more you pay, so it could get rather pricey for someone seeking sanctuary. But at the very least Snowden could take a shower and nap for a few hours.
Ghazi Balkiz / NBC News
Journalists gather in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
Bathrooms in the terminal building are clean but the facilities are downright luxurious in business class lounges. In addition to eating and drinking for free, Snowden might help himself to shampoo, conditioner, body lotions, flip flops and a towel on his way to the shower.
Although the airport is vast, there are actually very few places to hide in Sheremetyevo's wide-open spaces.
However, there is believed to be a VIP area that may have direct access to the tarmac for high-profile personalities and government officials.
While Snowden’s whereabouts remain unknown-- he wouldn’t be the first person to log in some serious time in an airport terminal. Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, spent 17 years living in Charles de Gaulle airport when he was denied entry to France, but couldn’t go back to Iran. His story made the big screen when it was dramatized in the 2004 Steven Spielberg movie “The Terminal” starring Tom Hanks.
Snowden's diplomatic options would definitely have to dry up to top that.
In an NBC News exclusive, Lonnie Snowden, father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, said he is "concerned about those who surround" his son, alleging that the focus of WikiLeaks is not "necessarily the Constitution" but rather "to release as much information as possible." NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.
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