First trip to Russia: be prepared
“Dear Diary! This has been an uneasy week, so sorry for not writing for so long. I meant to do it sooner, but I’ve just been too busy figuring out where am I and came back to the hotel either too tired or too drunk to write. I got lost all the time because of the navigation, which is written in their weird Cyrillic letters everywhere. On a second thought, I’ve decided to write down all the challenges that expected me here in order to be prepared for the next trip to Russia. So, as follows…
The alphabet. That’s the most complicated of all. It’s totally unintuitive and you spend hours trying to find someone speaking English on the streets.
So the first and the most important is my next year resolution – I need to study Russian simply not to be lost.
The cash. People use cash much more frequently here than I expected. When I offered my American Express to the taxi driver, he laughed at me and spoke something about the slots he has and that neither of them is designed to accept the electronic currency. I didn’t want to go into the details of his physiology, fortunately, I had just enough cash in all my pockets combined. They have ATMs and currency exchange booths everywhere, so just make sure you always have enough.
The personal space. Dear Diary, you have no idea how hard it is to use the Moscow subway for an introvert like me. It’s a life of a constant stress – it seems that no one cares about how much personal space they can keep to themselves and you find yourself trapped between somebody’s arm and some other person’s ear, not to mention all the elbows and bags around you.
The thieves. And that comes as an expected sequel of the lack of personal space. Travelling in the crowded transport you may not notice the thief in time. So if you don’t want to grieve upon the money they stole from you just hide them better next time and keep them in a few different places. Having 50 bucks in your shoe won’t hurt.
The clothes. I got used to the casual lifestyle of Americans, like when only the movie stars wear black tuxedos and silk evening gowns. I shouldn’t extrapolate it here next time if I don’t want to dine in McDonald’s instead of a fancy restaurant. Russians pay a lot of attention to how they look and I’m grateful I’m not a lady, I’d have to wear high heels all day long. That must be exhausting but it looks very eye pleasing I must confess.
The no-photo rule. You will definitely buy a new cool camera for your next trip to Russia. Please, remember not to take pictures of the buildings – you never know which one belongs to the government and is prohibited to be shot.
The alcohol. Traditional vodka is drunk in quick shots, and I was not ready to this speed of raising the alcohol levels in my blood. Next time make sure you have something savory to eat before you engage yourself into a vodka-marathon with an experienced local player.
The voltage. Don’t – for God’s sake – don’t forget to buy a power converter before your journey to Russia. It’s not easy to find one in the local shops, and there is no chance you can charge your phone or your laptop without one.
My flight back is in a couple of hours and I can still see the mouth-watering “Pelmennaya” sign across the street. Yes, the cuisine here is truly awesome. And the people here are more hospitable and sincere than I’ve ever hoped to meet – they just don’t waste their affection on strangers. I can’t wait to come here once again.”
If this post was useful for you, please, don`t forget to LIKE it and to share!