Moscow and Novosibirsk are 2 days apart by train, but to me it almost seems like they are on different planets. The inhabitants of Moscow seem mostly cold, intolerant and selfabsorbed, most Siberians I`ve met are warm, open, friendly, and to my relief patient with foreigners who don`t speak the language. Oddly, Novosibirsk has a more western feel. Just look at the way young women dress: in Moscow there seems to be a choice between looking like a slob or a hooker, Novosibirsk girls would not look out of place in north-western or central Europe. And I think last saturday, driving through the centre of Novosibirsk (of which I have not seen much yet, I`m living in Akademgorodok and studying takes up most of my time) after a visit to the zoo, I finally realized what irked me about Moscow: despite all the beautiful buildings, it`s just not a happy place.