That's about the extent of my Russian. Yes, no, please, thank you, and potato. You can imagine how far that gets me.
So, Russia. Yep, it's exactly how I imagined it. And all my ideas came from spy movies. The train passed by many villages comprised of dark wooden houses with broken down car shells scattered here and there. Bizarre.
There's something about the Russians that is so intimidating. Always so stern looking. I'm on my best behaviour. I haven't been asked for my papers yet, although I hear that it's very common. We've done the touristy things already - the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin's mausoleum, St. Basil's church... That's all knew of Moscow. The Kremlin was a bit disappointing, just a bunch of churches. We weren't allowed to go to the Grand Palace or any of those cool places because that's where Putin lives, and apparently he doesn't want a bunch of tourists tramping through. Yeesh, it's not like I was going to be stealing state secrets.... Sigh. St. Basil's (the famous church that is always pictured) was actually quite cool. It looks so fake from the outside, so colourful and fantasy-like. It seems like it should be made out of gingerbread with big dollops of whipped cream and marzipan as the towers. Inside was all dark with narrow corridors, very much felt like a dungeon. Apparently Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded upon the church's completion so that they could never design anything to match it's beauty. I guess that's pretty terrible. Red Sqare was just a big open square, and Lenin's Mausoleum was a surreal-looking dead guy. The second I've now seen. It was cooler than Mao's though because you got to walk really close to the glass. Freaky.
Now we're just going to wander aimlessly, trying to find small restaurants that aren't too hard on the wallet. Moscow is so expensive! It would be so much better to do this trip in reverse, everything getting cheaper as you go along. It's quite a shock to the system this way.
Not too much else to report just now. This wasn't a very insightful blog. Let me sum up the major points: Moscow is bloody pricey. Moscow is pretty cold. Russian police unnerve me, and despite trying to remain below the radar, I've been shushed and whistled at (not the sexy kind, just the get away from there before I throw you in a Russian prison kind). Russian style is...distinctive. I thought now that I was out of Asia, I might blend in better. Not so. I'm missing the brightly dyed hair (red or blond preferably) and the tight jeans tucked into stilleto boots. And of course when someone speaks to me, my blank stare, followed by a meek "touriste" is a dead giveaway. But really, what else can I do. I don't think saying "please potato" would make me any less conspicuous. A great career in espionage is perhaps not in my immediate future. Not that I would know what to spy on anyway.
On to St. Petersburg next. I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond to any of the comments that have been left for me - I do love getting them, but time just doesn't permit just now. I will gladly check in on everyone again as soon as I settle down for a bit. Soon soon!