From Russia, With Love is the new awesome
And though all the people in massive fur hats that we saw were usually tourists, at least Russia didn't disapoint with the large imposing Soviet looking heads and statues pretty much all over the city.
So those things you sort of expected, but there are also some fun quirks that you don't always read about. For instance - most of the apartments that I saw had two front doors. First front door:
Second front door, immediately inside the first:
Also, all of the rows of porta-potties in Moscow had one that had been converted into an office, where little cute russian women sit and take your money if you want to go to the bathroom. Hey. She has a better window view than I do in my cubicle, and apparently they are okay for napping too.
And, Russian women have a physique that makes it appear that they ingest umbrellas?
Moscow and St. Petersburg had their own mix of classic old Russia, and a new cosmopolitan Russia. Like, sometimes you would find yourself in front of the towering statues at Peterhof...
...and other times you might find that you were just standing in front of a Versace store. Practically the same thing.
We also saw so much art, since the Russians have alot of it (much of it stolen). Since many of the art museums didn't have captions written in English and my Russian doesn't extend much beyond "thank you" and "I am here to pick up my mail order husband," we were forced to make up our own captions for many of the fine pieces that we saw. Like this one, that I am pretty sure is called "Mom, I thought I told you not to come in my room when I have girls over!"
The language barrier did provide a few laughs along the way. We ate at a great little street stand that they had all over, which I wanted to pronounce as "Crapdogs" every time I saw it. However, we discovered that you actually say it a little bit like "Starbuck" which is especially funny because there is one of them on every corner in Moscow, much like Starbucks in the US.
Possibly the best of all? The super hardcore anti-riot squad over there is called OMOH, and they all run around trying to look tough with that printed on their backs. Someone hand them a mirror and and we can ALL have a good laugh.
You may wonder how the pursuit of a mail order husband went? Well, Emily better luck than I did. We stopped to watch a band in the Metro one night, and Emily was trying to take a photo, but this short, drunk russian guy kept sticking his face in her viewfinder. I'm not sure exactly how it all happened, but the next thing I knew he was yelling "american girl!" in english, and they were slow dancing in the middle of the crowd. Good friend that I am, I ignored the look of pure terror on emily's face and just photographed the whole incident instead.
I didn't have as much luck with the drunk Russians. I guess I am still holding out for the Russian mullet of my dreams.