Has Moscow changed, or have I?

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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.

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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.

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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?”