Letter to Gwen (Gwizzle17)

Moscow Travel Blog

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So today marks the end of one week in Moscow for me. It's very touching.
Contacting people back home has been exceedingly more diffilcult than I
imagined. The ONLY internet cafe I've yet found is about 30 minutes away via
foot and metro, and either doesn't support skype or I just can't get my point
across to the employees. I'm actually inclined to believe the former in this
situation since I sucessfully asked how to go about printing documents and
transferring my files to the mainframe. But skype? What skype? I've been on
individual hunting trips for internet cafes and ALL 4 cafes I was looking for
in my guidebook no longer exist. (Print date 2007... honestly Moscow...) Most
of them also ending in tragedy.
First I thought I'd scout out for one on my morning jog. Not only am I convinced
it doesn't exist but jogging in front of Muscovites is hilarious. They stare.
Just stare. They're probably wondering what the hell I'm running from. Even
better, they're probably wondering what I'm wearing on my feet. You see,
Muscovites don't like comfortable, practical shoes like tennis shoes. NYET!
About 95% of the women wear heels... like we wear flip flops. And the men wear
these bizaree sandals that look like a fashion casualty of the 1980s. Just the
simple act of jogging down a residential street will cause an old man getting
into his car to stop, get out, and stare as I run away, and then just stand
there staring after me for QUITE a bit of time. I don't understand it. But
anyways, yes, I'm jogging when all of a sudden I slide in a mud patch that
causes me to skid about 5 feet on the sidewalk until I hit a gate. I wasn't too
scratched up because I slid in about 4 inches of mud (2 of which stayed on me
all the way back to the dorm), but the funny thing was this old guy. You see,
random old guy goes outside his apartment in the morning for his first of 89
cigarettes of the day and as I complete my rather spectacular fall he does...
nothing. He doesn't laugh, he doesn't raise an eyebrow, he doesn't look away
(popular here), and he certainly doesn't ask if I'm ok (that only happens in
America... maybe Britain.) He just continues to stare, not a single change in
expression.
Fortunately, the Russian bitchiness hasn't affected me like the other students
in my group. Mostly because I can give them (the russians) a run for their
money in bitchy. And if you think about it, they're not bitchy, they're just
extremely cold people (Not literally, mostly because I'm sweating my ass off
AGAIN) But yeah, a lot of students are put off about the fact that Russians
seem to constantly be frowning at you and when you interact with them they seem
that they'd rather be stabbing needles in their eyes than lower themselves to
talking with you. It's weird. Whilst shopping, I get better service if I
respond to employees greetings or questions with icy glares than I do with a
polite "No thank you". Some of us (the americans) are quite unable to even
carry out this action.
Yeah, I've been shopping. The random relics of Soviet days are such a strong
contrast to the obvious capitalism everywhere that I can't help but stare (But
then I probably look normal). Next to statues of the proletariat and Lenin in
the Metro will be huge floor to ceiling plasma screens advertising anything
with the help of a scantily clad blonde chick. And Russians LOVE it. It's
really hard to believe, but I think the people here are obsessed with
materialism ( more so than americans)... mostly because I don't think the
average Russian can really afford it. This causes various fashion faux pas\
catastrophies that would make Elton John blush. Cheeta print is ridiculously
in. As is mesh with no undershirt (*shudders*). And a complete disregard for
matching colors/prints or a hideous obsession with it (think of a woman wearing
everything... right down to the nail polish in cheeta print).
Anyways, that's it for now. The internet is not cheap here and I've got about
three hours of homework. I've accumulated about 400 pictures so far, but I've
yet to figure out the time to download them. (Mom, I took pictures of Moscow's
horrendous traffic for you : )
Oh, and I visited Lenin today. He's still dead.
Much love and kisses,
Be healthy!
Love, Elizabeth
travelman727 says:
Great letter, Elizabeth! BTW, thanks for the update on Lenin :-D
Posted on: Dec 08, 2008
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