Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Moscow, Russia

We arrived in Moscow this morning via overnight train from St. Petersburg. The accomodations on the train were surprisingly comfortable, but I suffered from one of my common bouts of insomnia. By the time we arrived in Moscow at 6:00, I had only gotten a few hours sleep. I also hadn't taken a shower in a few days, so I was a-stinkin'.

Our first view of Moscow was very bleak. It was raining and cold. All of the buildings seemed to be made of the same dead, grey concrete. Plus, it was ear-lie in the 'morn, so everyone we saw seemed sleepy and grumpy.

We spent about an hour finding accomodations in the area, as our original hotel plans had fallen through. Apparently there is some kind of festival or conference going on this week, so all of the hotels in the city center are booked. The only place we were able to find was a hostel that was about a 30 minute trek from the city. 20 minutes on the metro with our huge bags, then a 10 minute walk through the cold rain. And I was wearing sandals, so my feets got wet.

By the time we got to the hostel at 8:00, I really had to pee. But, we didn't have a room yet, and the reception wasn't going to be open until 9:00. We hung out in the hostel cafe as my urge to pee got stronger and stronger, and my mood worsened. By the time the reception opened at 9:30, I was not in the right frame of mind to deal with anything, or anybody. Of course, we had to deal with the reception lady, doing about half an hour of paperwork involving visas and passports. Finally, we got a room, and we hiked up the stairs and through the hostel maze to our dorm, and a welcoming bathroom.

Except the room was under construction, and they wouldn't let us in.
It took Mike another half-hour of dealing with the reception lady before we could get a room that wasn't being torn apart by angry russians with hammers. I spent most of that time pacing in front of our initial room, trying to ignore the fact that my bladder was trying to force its way through my abdominal wall.

Eventually, we got into our room, and I was able to release my burden.
We are now staying in a four-room dormitory with a Russian who just moved to Moscow to find work and a Swedish tourist. I had a two hour nap, and I'm feeling a lot better. But, my first impressions of Moscow are not good.


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