Thursday, October 22, 2009


Customs was interesting. As we stayed in line waiting to go through, we observed the Russian people around us. The women were so skinny! Their clothing style was mismatched. For example, one lady was wearing tight, green, snake skin patterned pants and a black sports shirt. There were young boys in girls clothing as well. One lady had a backless shirt on. I noticed a large scar on her back. It looked like a whip mark.

Once we got through, we proceeded to get our baggage and find our interpreter, Posha. This means Paul in American. He was late so we thought we might have to go on to the train station without him. A taxi driver was trying to manipulate us by offering us an expensive taxi drive. They were trying to charge us $100 for a ride to the train station. It was only fifteen minutes away. Posha arrived at that time. He managed to get us a ride with another company for $45. I can't believe that other guy tried to scam us! We were a little scared of those guys we were dealing with. They looked like thugs. When we pulled away with our new taxi driver, I looked back and saw the men scowling at us. I was happy to have a Russian interpreter with us.

We were on the freeway. It looked just like our American freeway. The cars were small, compact and totally unwashed. I noticed billboards; some were in American, most were in Russian. There were several city-like buildings similar to the dumpy ones we see in our big cities. Amidst the not so pretty buildings, were beautiful domes. They were amazing to look at. The sun glaring on them from the horizon made them shine like gold. I think, some of them actually are gold. Moscow looked like a fairy tale land.

I noticed the smell of the train station right away. Not good. It smelled like musty urine. The drab exterior on the outside was uncomparable to the beautiful gothic interior. The ceiling had stone carvings and chandeliers hung all throughout. I felt like I had stepped back in time.
We found a corner to wait for Posha to get our tickets. About ten feet away from us a man was passed out on the ground. He was laying face down on his stomach. I noticed that liquid trickled out from under him. I think he had just wet himself. I believe he was drunk. He lay there, unmoving for about thirty minutes before three Russian soldiers came. We tried not to stare. I wasn't sure if that would be "interfering" and landing us a ticket into the Russian jail. The soldiers started kicking the guy in the head with their steel toed boots. They stepped on his fingers too. The soldiers finally pulled the guy up and escorted him outside.

My first bathroom experience was at the train station. It cost 6 rubles (about twenty cents) to be able to use the public restroom. An attendant stood outside of the room collecting the money. I could still smell urine behind the strong cleaning solution inside. I entered the stall but there was no toilet! There was only a small hole in the ground. It was all dirt too. Oh my!! Needless to say, it was very difficult peeing in that hole. My hair was real long and I did not have it tied up nor did I have anything to tie it up with. I did the best I could to hold it back as I aimed for the hole. O.K. here it is. I peed on my hair a little. Not a good start!

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