Moscow again and soem FINAL thoughts....
Trip Start May 01, 2009
21Trip End May 22, 2009
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My quick 1 hour and 40 minute flight from Riga was nice and smooth. It is interesting that the stewardess locked the bathroom even after the plane landed. I noticed the same thing in Russian trains that when the train is not moving, the bathrooms are locked.
My arrival to the Moscow airport is without much difficulty. I thought the custom agent is going to give me a hard time about where I went prior to re-entry, NOT the case, the lady just let me straight through, but not for the unlucky group of school kids from Uzbekistan, that after waited for 30+ minutes, they were told to goto another line else where.
Moscow airport is interesting that SMOKING is permitted everywhere. Wow, just walking from restaurant to the VIP lounge, I saw people smoking everywhere. BUT I soon as I stepped into the Buisness class lounge, SMOKE free !!! The air is crisp and fresh, the smell of the delicious Russian pastris and packages of Russian fruit juices got me all salivating....Mmmmm . My favorite juices are cherry and peach. There are unlimited fruit tarts, cream puffs, crackers and potato chip up for the grabs. My favorite potato chip there is the Crab favored, yum. The company is Lay's. I wish they make things like this in the US. You get what you paid for for being allowed into the VIP lounge, people are richer and not smoking due to financial difficulties.
My first class flight home was great, the seat reclines to flat, the stewardess constantly try to feed me with Russian pastries and juices. The dinner is my favorite Australian Lamb chops, Yummy. I almost don't want to get off the plane. Saw 2 movies fromt he portable TV the stewardess brought. I followed the flight path on the TV screen from Moscow to the northen Lapland of Scandinavia then to Greenland, Baffin Island, Northwest territories then cut through Alberta Canada then the Western US before the plane landed. Of course being onthe Russian plane everyone clapped as we landed.
This has been a wonderful journey, I think I just have to come back to Russia when my Russian gets better. Next time I have to do the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Couple interesting notes:
1) During my stay in the Russian family, I noticed their bathrooms are small compare to the US standard 3x3 feet. just enough room for a toilet and the sink. The shower is hand-held, not like the American ones that is already embeded into the wall. There cloth-lines everywhere in the crammed bathroom!!! This is where they hang their wet cloths !!! There is also this tradition of separating the toilet from the shower. The light switches are outside of the bathroom. Some bathroom even have the washer there. I have to compliment how the Russian family utilized their limited bathroom space to its max potential.
2) The general attitude of the Russian people toward Americas are positive. They welcome the Americans, especially during my homestay experience. They mentioned to me the thing they don't like the policies that the American government exerts on foreign countries, they consider that American imperialism. However, the Russian people are genuine and down to earth and treat Americans very well. They prepared the delicious traditional Russian Family breakfast for me. Very tasty since I very much enjoy any local food that is offered. A typical Russian breakfast include Kashi ( Russian buckwheat, like our oatmeal), pan fried cheesse,bliny ( Russian crepe or pancake) yogart, bread, tea or coffee. Delicious and filling.
3) Russian officials are generally more difficult to deal with. Take example or the border guards between Russia and Estonia. Also the ticketing agents are the Train stations are especially difficult. Taking breaks while the whole line is waiting is common place. The bus ticketing person in Vladimir was actually quite nice. I asked her to tell me when I have arrived at my destination and she alerted me when I get there. The cab driver who dropped me off at the homestay actually helped rang the bell to make sure I got to the right apartment. They are quite helpful. Except he smokes while he drives 9 blow the smoke out of the window of course.
4) One of the experience I learned traveling in Russia is set your expectation low and look at everything with an open eye. The system is run so differently here that it is quite amusing. Instead of taking things all with the negative attitude, just look and smile and say to yourself, how spoiled you are at home.
5) Trying out new food is always my top priority. From this trip, I brought back to LA the recipe for Okrushka, a Russian cold soup made of finely chopped cucumber, beets, carrots, boiled egg, dill, horse radish simmered in Russian BEER and a generous serving of sour cream. First taste is like " What in the world ???" The second time and third time I got addicted. Mmmmm.
Thanks again for reading my last thoughts of Russia. Hope you enjoyed it.