13.05.2007 - 15.05.2007
Moscow seems to be a city of both incredible beauty and incredible decay. Even in their own right the huge apartment complexes are rather dingy, but after the fierce colors of St. Basil's or the Kremlin's many gold-topped cathedrals it's even more startling. The billboards also have incredible swathes of color, but the average buildings and people themselves aren't so brightly arrayed. It's an interesting contrast.
Moscow is also more European than I had anticipated, menus in English, the expensive mall, some of the pop culture. The food shows other influences though: sushi, Chinese-like dumplings, and of course the wonderful Georgian cuisine. The metro is lovely but very mechanical. Most stations are marble, and some also have chandeliers or stained glass, but people never look up. I suppose that's universal though, you take beauty for granted. The metro however is really fun to ride, just odd because people are very blank. No smiles.
Outside of the metro though, we've met a lot of very friendly people at Moscow State University. Their english is very good; it makes me feel bad that I know extremely little Russian in return. I know they don't really expect it, but in some ways I wish they did. I feel sometimes that people make too many allowances for Americans or are just too accept our ignorance. Really, I just wish the American education system held us to a higher standard that the rest of the world seems to follow.
Overall, Moscow is an interesting but intimidating palce. So many unfamiliar names and events, particular customs, and the language. However, many parts of it are still so very beautiful to the eye and ear. And in this case at least (and for the amount of time we've spent), that's enough for the mind.