Russia : the last weeks and reflections about the trip

ST. Peter, the gulf of Finland

Kazan main street, sure we are not in Istanbul?

Ok. here i am back in Europe but trying to reflect the last days in Russia. To sum up, i would say it was a very good experience to see Russia. One month was probably too much, but actually i dont know why i decided to stay the last week, maybe it was about the money. It was quite convenient to run around with a 1000 Ruble note and be king for a week (!!!!) . That equals only about 40CHF... Of course train tickets were expensive, but food and stuff was so cheap. I liked that. Of course, who does not!

riding on the elektritschka

I even bought some new shoes, as mine were sooo distroyed... My last host in St. Petersburg (i had 3 different ones) helped me to buy new shoes... without her help it would have been impossible as the girl working in the shop was too lazy to search for my size. She had to go to the storage 3 times for me. Because we requested it. She thought we would give up after the first time. From all the shoes i had tried, these black Nike ones fit best and felt so comfortable. I didnt care about the price (that stuff has mainly europen prices) i just needed some good schoes as mine were too old and too fucked to be seriously thinking about keeping them. Anyway, i finally found the right one of my size, it fit perfectly and i showed it to the girl. Ha ha, so now she could not deny anymore that there was a last pair somewhere. She had to ask her boss to help her and i finally got my wanted shoes. Uhhhhfff! without my host, that would never have happened as i used her for translation. And they were not that expensive!

And later that day, i found out, that the shoes are actually not Nike, just a fake brand. But who cares... they are comfy.. ( i already fully adapted to the russian way of "Schoenrederei")

What is "Schoenrederei"?
I found a translation in LEO for the verb schoenreden: to blandish
I hope its understandable for everyone. I remember some things like the watermelon thing. One girl told me that we should not buy watermelon now as its not the season yet. The farmers would put chemicals in there to make them appear red. In reality they are not ripe yet and you will get an upset stomach if you eat them.
I later found out that this is not true and ate a whole one in 2 days... not in Russia of course. Maybe they were just to expensive.... i will never find out..

Other story about blandishing:
It was organised that i should drive to the forrest with some girl. Instead we "only" went for a swim in the lake ( read in the last post about that) which was perfectly fine. Somebody blandished: its better that way, as there could have been ticks....

These are only small things which do not make a big difference, but if you are a tourist and dont understand, its quite hard as your western brain will adapt immediately as we are used to people being straightforward.

The best one of course is the story about crossing the border. As i said eralier, russians just make something up when they dont really know something for sure. So i was constantly panicing about crossing the border (back to Europe). Would one registration be enough? Nobody could anser me this questions e.g. they all made up stuff... " It depends on the day and the person who is at the counter. If that day, somebody needs money, you will be charged.

White woman with red passport: nobody cares. Whereas the french people got checked really carefully.... ha ha!!! nobody looked at the registration. And i was stupid enough to try to get another registration in Petrozavodsk, where i stayed the last week. I tried to get registration, lost half a day but could still not get it. Welcome to Russia!!! :) That was an awful experience, but since i had already been there for 3 weeks, it did not surprize me.

Good luck!
Im still trying to figure out what 'good luck' really means here. As i dont think it really means good luck:

I went into a hotel to ask about registration. The girl at reception said they would not do it for people not residing in their hotel, i should go to the post office. (in english, wow!) At the post office its all very modern and they even have a fair cueing system, it seems... There is this machine where you take a number and then the number will be shown above the perticular counter where you need to go... Just like in Switzerland. But of course the machine has like 100 of different options, all in english... somebody helped me and pushed a button for me, even though i said its about registration i dont think the man understood.

- another tourist came in later and wanted to buy stamps. A huge challenge here as nobody understood the simplest word 'stamp'. Not even when the man showed a letter with a stamp on it and pointed at it. uhm!?!?!?!?!?!?!? -

Petrozavodsk tourist info. Cool! Please take a closer look...

Anyway, the queing system doesent really work, people tend to get a numberlap, but then they dont wait until their number comes up, they just squeeze in the next free queue...... I dont bother to get annoyed by this, as nothing really surprizes me anymore here... its finally my turn and i get to the counter and start in my best russian to ask about Registration. The girl is panicing as i dont understand and start to talk english. She starts to shout at me (why? i have ears and wont understand ifshe talks louder, its not about that, its about the fact that i dont understand all things she says in russian) and she tries to tell me to go somewhere else, but its so difficult for her to point out IN ENGLISH on my map, which lies on the counter, which adress it is i have to go. She gets to the backoffice where somebody obviously talks english to get the Adress written in english letters for me. that was toooooo hard to show me on the map, no, she needed a translador for showing me the adress...

I wanted to get out of the door, when a russian lady apporached me and asked "sprechen Sie deutsch" I said yes, and expected her to help me with explaining to the post office staff what i wanted, but instead her Deutsch is very poor and she staggers good luck in russian to me... I whonder if she knew that the office was only opened one day a week and i was not going to be lucky.

My conckusion of the tanslation of "good luck" in Russian:
I guess "good luck' in russia means that they pity you and appreciate that you have this difficult task to fulfill, they acknowledge that you might not be able to sucseed and hope that nothing bad happens to you while trying and area happy not to be in the same position...

On the last week i met a finnish girl who lives in Russia. |Finally somebody i can talk to in a normal way, no baby language. She said she loved this country and had problems to live with the european culture. I asked her why. She could not answer me. "I dont know" Then i asked what she specifically liked about russia.... she could only say that "anything is possible in this country" thats why. Again, I didnt understand but didnt want to get into a whole discussion...

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