Monday, August 17, 2009

Russian in Moscow!

Before my arrival to St. Petersburg, I couldn’t help but ponder with the thought of taking the train from there to Moscow. Moscow, one of the biggest cosmopolitans of the world and where the Russian government resides within its immense stone walls next to the infamous Red square.

Fortunately, my room mate Jeroen had a real ‘russian attitude’ saying why not? (in Russian: Pachemu-nijet?) I’ve come this far! And so off we went!!

The adventure already began when purchasing our train ticket at the local train ticket branch. We faced around 15 offices, each of them having some sort of ‘organized’ queue. Organized is between brackets as it would be perfectly normal for Russians to tell the person in front that he/she will be back soon and just show up 45 min later! Yes…we stayed in line for nearly two hours!! Watching the people before us answering all sorts of questions, we quickly scrabbled what we wanted on a piece of paper, which we handed over to the cashier after greeting her!! Nonetheless, the cashier still had lots of questions and almost immediately the entire line of people behind us, were helping in translating and getting what we wanted! It was so nice to see them help us, each of them had a minimal English vocabulary but together they made us understand what the cashier was asking us!

Align Right

The end result! after two and half hours of waiting/translating and sign language...

As soon as Jeroen told his practical teacher Nastiya about our little adventure, she mentioned that we could stay at a friend of hers in Moscow, which immediately solved the accommodation issue!! At first we were quite nervous to spend the night there and imagining all sorts of ‘what if’ ‘s but it turned out to be an unforgettable experience! (more about that later!)

On Friday evening we boarded the night train to Moscow and went into a small coupe (2x2,5 m) with 4 beds and met our room mates. Unlike the stereotypical stories of Russians getting drunk on the train and joking around, our roommates seemed from a southern province and were quiet throughout the entire evening. As soon as the train departed, a lady came by with a little basket mostly filled with light and strong alcoholic beverages that she promoted to us with a smile. We kindly refused, as we both knew that we would have a long day the next day but our next dorm neighbours must have been celebrating something as their voices became louder by the hour! Hahaha

We woke up early the next day with a blurry and undecipherable voice of the train driver followed with some Russian pop music, the hallway was decorated with empty beer bottles and cigarettes buds remaining of the previous night. We got off and instantly set foot towards the Red Square and made pictures still half asleep, which can be seen below!

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