In my last article I tried to cast a little light on some well-known facts about Russians so that you can be fully prepared before your trip to Russia. Forewarned is forearmed in the face of culture shock! I try to be as objective as I can sharing my view from inside. And although I must admit that every stereotype is based at least on a bit of truth I will point out some word of mouth exaggerations. Let’s continue with our journey…
1. You can’t survive in the Moscow Metro without knowing how to elbow other people. It is true during the rush hours and for the center of the city. What do you expect from the city with 11, 5 million registered people plus millions of immigrants? But what I figured out for myself you can avoid elbowing if you learn how to pace with the flow and not to be carried away. But it is worth it! Moscow Metro is like an amazing marble museum with the stations decorated in its own style. The ticket costs less than 1 dollar for every part of the city and trains come every 1,5 minutes. And one more interesting fact: the banisters of the escalator move faster than you so that you won’t fall asleep on your deep way underground. Probably that is why we don’t drink coffee so much: we don’t need it.
2. Russians say Moscow is not a city. It’s a country inside another country. Moscow is the financial and business center of Russia with humongous money flow. That is why the level of life is ten times higher than in the other cities and real estate on the outskirts of the capital may cost more than a house in Malibu. And, for example, the English lesson in Moscow costs ten times higher than in Europe although…
3. Most of the Russians don’t speak English very well. Sad, but partially true, older generations didn’t have much motivation due to our history and younger generations get mostly theoretical education although you can freely ask young people for directions. But then again: you won’t be tempted to switch to English if you learn the Russian language!
4. Sushi became so popular that it is now Russians’ national dish. Well, if we talk about sushi in its traditional meaning – I don’t think so, but we make sushi out of everything now: even pancakes and caviar rolls! And watch out if the sushi cafes are really cheap: if you want to enjoy the rest of your holidays in Russia, don’t eat there! The general survival rule can be found in the next paragraph.
5. Russians don’t trust cheap things. In most cases we have a reason for it (keep sushi in your head) and we have a nice saying confirming it: «Free cheese can be found only in a mouse trap». Of course you can always get a good bargain and we are up for any freebies but look out for tricky catches.
6. Russians don’t throw away things. We do but during global clear-outs. We believe that every thing keeps some specific memory …or dust – that is how you look at it) And by the way, you never know when a forgotten thing can come in handy (more German way of thinking).
7. I have just recently heard something that mad me laughed until I cried: Russians can generate snow everywhere they go. I can truly say I am not in charge of 25 cm of snow in Hamburg. I haven’t seen so much snow for the last few years! So I will pray with you for the sun to come out and cast a spring mood on all Hamburgers!
If you have been to Russia I would love to hear your opinions about the people there and the country. If you haven’t – it is a chance to book your trip and check if these facts are true or false by yourself!