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Ecurb’s Travels

 
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22 July 2019 01:57
 
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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22 July 2019 03:33
 
EN - 22 July 2019 01:57 AM
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

Thanks ... I’m sure you’re having an interesting and fun trip.

 
 
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22 July 2019 05:16
 
Jan_CAN - 22 July 2019 03:33 AM
EN - 22 July 2019 01:57 AM
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

Thanks ... I’m sure you’re having an interesting and fun trip.

The guides speak pretty good English, but most Russians don’t, it seems.  We are getting lessons in Russian history and language, which helps.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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22 July 2019 09:42
 

I expect that since you live in Texas you aren’t in the market for an authentic ushanka, but have you seen any other neat stuff to buy?  Or perhaps just some vodka?

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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22 July 2019 10:08
 
EN - 22 July 2019 01:57 AM
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

Interesting about the little eye contact. I recall an anthropologist writing in the mid-70s that one of the things contributing to racial tensions in the US was that when two strangers were walking towards each other on the street whites from Northern European backgrounds would avoid eye contact while blacks would seek to make it. Anything you’ve picked up about general Russian attitude toward life? I recall a line from a book I read years ago to the effect that “Americans think they’re superior to everybody. Russians think they’re inferior to everyone, excepting Arabs.”

[ Edited: 22 July 2019 10:12 by burt]
 
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22 July 2019 22:39
 
Jan_CAN - 22 July 2019 09:42 AM

I expect that since you live in Texas you aren’t in the market for an authentic ushanka, but have you seen any other neat stuff to buy?  Or perhaps just some vodka?

I bought an amber necklace for my wife and a wood carving for my grandson.  I intend to get matryoshkas (nesting dolls) for my granddaughters, and I bought some black caviar (sturgeon eggs) on the ship yesterday.  Very expensive, but sublime.

 
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22 July 2019 22:45
 
burt - 22 July 2019 10:08 AM
EN - 22 July 2019 01:57 AM
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

Interesting about the little eye contact. I recall an anthropologist writing in the mid-70s that one of the things contributing to racial tensions in the US was that when two strangers were walking towards each other on the street whites from Northern European backgrounds would avoid eye contact while blacks would seek to make it. Anything you’ve picked up about general Russian attitude toward life? I recall a line from a book I read years ago to the effect that “Americans think they’re superior to everybody. Russians think they’re inferior to everyone, excepting Arabs.”

I think the inferiority complex is not so prevalent, anymore. They have enough prosperity now that they feel pretty much on the same level as others.  They can be quite funny in the right setting.  Joke from our Russian program director: an American dog, a Polish dog and a Soviet dog were talking in the 70’s. The American dog said “Life is good where I live - if I bark, they give me meat.” The Polish dog said “What is meat?” The Soviet dog said “What is bark?”

 

 
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23 July 2019 02:55
 

Northern Russia has no shortage of forests and water.  Lots of large lakes and barges carrying timber.  We’ve passed hundreds of miles of birch and fir.

[ Edited: 23 July 2019 07:05 by EN]
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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23 July 2019 06:58
 
EN - 23 July 2019 02:55 AM

Northern Russia has no shortage of forests and water.  Lots of large lakes and barges carrying timber.  We’ve passed hundreds of miles of birch and fur.

So fur is still considered okay there?

 
 
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23 July 2019 07:04
 
nonverbal - 23 July 2019 06:58 AM
EN - 23 July 2019 02:55 AM

Northern Russia has no shortage of forests and water.  Lots of large lakes and barges carrying timber.  We’ve passed hundreds of miles of birch and fur.

So fur is still considered okay there?

I’m sorry, I meant fir.  Yes, authentic fur ushankas are still sold.

[ Edited: 23 July 2019 07:09 by EN]
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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23 July 2019 07:23
 
EN - 23 July 2019 07:04 AM
nonverbal - 23 July 2019 06:58 AM
EN - 23 July 2019 02:55 AM

Northern Russia has no shortage of forests and water.  Lots of large lakes and barges carrying timber.  We’ve passed hundreds of miles of birch and fur.

So fur is still considered okay there?

I’m sorry, I meant fir.  Yes, authentic fur ushankas are still sold.

Sorry—couldn’t resist.

I imagine that plenty of fur gets harvested in Russia, but that’s just a guess.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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23 July 2019 08:48
 
EN - 22 July 2019 10:45 PM
burt - 22 July 2019 10:08 AM
EN - 22 July 2019 01:57 AM
Jan_CAN - 21 July 2019 07:46 AM

Are Russians used to seeing many tourists, or are you receiving attention?  Meeting many English-speakers?

Have you been warned of places to avoid?

How’s the food?

I’ve heard there are still a lot of smokers (tobacco) there; have you enjoyed a good cigar?

Yes, many tourists, but Russians are taught in school not to smile for no reason (seriously). Very little eye-contact out in public.

Every place I’ve been is safe, but you are told to watch for pickpockets.  One was arrested at the Hermitage. They hang around tourist spots. 

Russian food is OK - a bit sour but good.  But right now I’m eating black caviar, which is super.

Lots of smokers, yes.  A fellow traveler gave me a Finnish cigarillo, which was the smoothest I’ve ever had.

Interesting about the little eye contact. I recall an anthropologist writing in the mid-70s that one of the things contributing to racial tensions in the US was that when two strangers were walking towards each other on the street whites from Northern European backgrounds would avoid eye contact while blacks would seek to make it. Anything you’ve picked up about general Russian attitude toward life? I recall a line from a book I read years ago to the effect that “Americans think they’re superior to everybody. Russians think they’re inferior to everyone, excepting Arabs.”

I think the inferiority complex is not so prevalent, anymore. They have enough prosperity now that they feel pretty much on the same level as others.  They can be quite funny in the right setting.  Joke from our Russian program director: an American dog, a Polish dog and a Soviet dog were talking in the 70’s. The American dog said “Life is good where I live - if I bark, they give me meat.” The Polish dog said “What is meat?” The Soviet dog said “What is bark?”

 

Here’s one you can tell, your Russian friends ought to get a good laugh. When we visited Hungary shortly after the Russians had left this was much appreciated.

Back in the mid-70s a commissar was sent for a mission to Las Vegas. He carried out his duties for a couple of days and then decided he needed some recreation and thought he would take advantage of the legal prostitution. He wandered about a bit, then saw a large neon sigh with bright sparkling letters saying Wonderland Brothel. He went in and was greeted by a madam in an elegant gown. “How much?” he asked. The madam replied, “$500.” The commissar felt a bit of guilt about what he was doing and assuaged it by asking “How much does the girl get?” The madam said, “$50.” The commissar was outraged at this capitalistic exploitation and walked out. A bit further down the street he saw another house of ill repute, slightly less gaudy than the first, and went in. He asked the madam the cost and she said “$500.” Again, he asked how much the girl got and was told $150. Again he was incensed at the exploitation and walked out. Down at the end of the street was a rather shabby building (well, shabby for Las Vegas) with a sign that read: Workers Co-op Unionized Brothel. The commissar felt that this was the place for him and went in, asking the woman at the desk what the price was. Again he was told, $500. Then he asked how much the girl got. “$450” the madam said. The commissar was pleased at this recognition of the valuation of the working masses. He looked around the room and saw a buxom blond seated with several other women and said to the madam, I want here. “I’m sorry, the madam said, you’ll get Sylvia, she has 50 years seniority.”

 
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25 July 2019 08:37
 

We will be in Moscow tomorrow for 3 days.  We’ve had lectures every day on Russian history, and today was about Putin.  Unquestionably, people are doing better economically than ever before, so he does have popular support, but there is opposition.  Of course, if they get too loud they get repressed or disappear.  But people turn a blind eye if they are doing well.

 
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25 July 2019 08:39
 

We visited a Russian home this morning in Uglich.  Three shots of homemade moonshine, and some bread, cheese and cake.  Nice people.

 
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25 July 2019 08:57
 

Russia is sparsely populated.  Most people are moving to the large cities, where there is more work.  You can travel for miles through just forest land, and just see a few dachas, and pass an occasional village.  Perhaps it’s a bit like some areas of Canada, except no Rockies.  It’s pretty flat, until you get down south toward the Caucasus, or east toward the Urals.  It’s a plain, so Napoleon and Hitler had few natural obstacles invading.  But then they encountered the Russian winter, and learned why not too many people live out here.

 
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