I’m starting to wear down and look forward to the end of the trip when I can be reunited with my doggies. It’s not that I don’t like Moscow; I actually like it more than I did when I was here before.
It seemed grittier 11 years ago, and I didn’t feel as safe on the streets. (Of course, I didn’t have Rob last time.) This time, my feelings about St. Petersburg and Moscow are reversed.
St. Petersburg is definitely a good warmup. I remember looking at the metro signs and wondering why the station names also were written in Cyrillic. Is that just for tourists? In Moscow, they don’t bother, so it’s really a good idea to learn the alphabet.
And the metro is crowded. At one point yesterday, we exited into a tight mass of people taking baby steps to shuffle toward the escalator, where we stood single file (so people could pass on the left if they wished.)
Update: After I posted this, Rob and I almost got separated on the metro. I pushed out the door before he did, and people flooded on before he could get out. I turned to see him trying to squeeze through the throng. There was a flash of panic in his eyes. What if I don’t get out before the doors close? He managed to get through, but I wondered why he wasn’t more forceful. He could have thrown a few Muay Thai elbows.
Getting around isn’t too hard, between our selection of maps, electronic devices and the kindness of strangers.
After our requisite visit to the Kremlin, we set out for a Cold War museum described in In Your Pocket that sounded really cool. Located in a secret bunker, naturally it was hard to find. I felt victorious when I got us there, until it seemed like everything was in Russian, and the price for foreigners was $50 each.
If the Cold War were really over, wouldn’t they charge us all the same price? I was looking forward to a repeat of my Vietnam experience at the Cuchi tunnels where they showed a propaganda film describing the actions of the “American devils.” I was only one of two Americans in the group and I looked around wanting to confirm, “They’re showing this ironically, right?”