View Full Version : First impressions

Maine Surfer
18-12-2003, 14:06
We are back in Russia!
Well, it's been quite a trip.
Security in Boston is crazy. Waited for 1.25 hour to go through check point.:alien: Alitalia has greatest airline food. Milan was nice, warm, clean and sunny.

Sheremet'evo had a little surprise for us. I was expecting Soviet service at Visa control, but instead got a smile! from pogranitchnik lady stamping our passports, she talked to us and nicely asked personal questions. She saw that we filled out that little white card wrong, and told us !!! not to worry, go through passport control, take our time, fill it out correctly, and give it back to her for stamping! Damn! So I did, and prepared to wait for our bags (used to wait for 40 mins long time ago) Step to the belt, and, o chudo, our 6 bags waiting for us. So I asked customs agents what to do, !another smile, he let me through green line, opened shortcut door and helped carry the bags. All of it is kinda good omen. We get to our place in Konkovo; pod'ezd is soo dirty, but we get to our appartment, and it's great! Nice and cozy. We go to a food store, and it's great too. I've never seen so much cheap stuff being sold before. So I meet my boss, and he treats me great, gives me more money than I expected, and the job is great! I started 2 days after arrival and already burried in work. I don't find people rude, every time I ask them something and smile, they smile back and ready to help. Not to bad.

Now negative stuff. Things are sooo dirty on the outside (although nice and clean inside). Appartment buildings are horrific-looking (om the outside). My wife doesn't speak much Russian, so she is a bit bored, so is my daughter who we are trying to send to school. Red tape is a burden, although not too bad; I have some help from my company. Weather sucks, snows every day and no sun.

So far we love Russia!


18-12-2003, 14:25
oh dont you worry those 40 min waits are still there you were just lucky to hit a lull....

18-12-2003, 14:31
hmm.. a smile from pogranichnik, a helpful customs officers... this is a wind up, right?

Maine Surfer
18-12-2003, 14:36
I was in shock myself after I left Sheremet'evo. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Still can't. I figure it was a good sign :)

18-12-2003, 15:46
Maine next time get a photo. it'll be priceless ;)

Been through SVO II a 100 times and the taxi drivers are nicer!

18-12-2003, 16:26
Vote for Intourist in the Most Intelligent poll in the Polls section !

P.S. Intourist Loves You !

19-12-2003, 10:54
Originally posted by Maine Surfer
I was in shock myself after I left Sheremet'evo. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Still can't. I figure it was a good sign :)

I don't believe you. I was never getting smiles at SVO2 visa control.

But agree with MS on high quality cheap food.

Maine Surfer
19-12-2003, 13:37
katka, honest. I'm telling you I WAS IN SHOCK MYSELF! Not only passport control, but also out bags were waiting for us, and customs people were so nice as well. I guess it was a unique experience

19-12-2003, 15:10
you should have filmed and sold to expats relocating to russia for many many rubles as a sign of russia changing :)

19-12-2003, 16:07
Originally posted by Maine Surfer
katka, honest. I'm telling you I WAS IN SHOCK MYSELF! Not only passport control, but also out bags were waiting for us, and customs people were so nice as well. I guess it was a unique experience

It wasn't a friendly smile, it was a sarcastic smirk. They had one look at your passport (name, surname), the dates you'd been away in the States, and couldn't believe you'd actually returned.:eek:

21-12-2003, 04:53
Just go to the poll section and VOTE

21-12-2003, 06:02
Gotta back my Maine man! Left Sheremetevo Friday afternoon, and the nice lady at passport control handed me my passport and actually smiled at me! I said, "Thank you," and she was still smiling. Then I said, "Благодарю Вас," and the smile grew broader! And me just a little old gnome and not a handsome young surfer dude like Maine Surfer!

21-12-2003, 08:28
What is this business about cheap food in Moscow?? U mean by american expat salary level? Food is not cheap in Moscow, dear expats!!!

Please, stop wondering about friendliness of customs officers. Where else can u find so many customs officers in short skirts?! Buildings in Moscow dirty from the outside? Try any other city in Russia!! So, just enjoy Moscow.

21-12-2003, 18:24
Custom's officials (women) in the Far East look like they are dressed for the Boarhouse. Ya gotta love that.

21-12-2003, 18:36
There`s some gorgeous ones in Sheremetievo. Oh yes, a friend of mine in Moscow used to work for the Tamojennih - on the freight side - she`d be flattered to hear the comments. ;-))))

21-12-2003, 18:42
Not only customs, actually mainly pogranichniki - border troops officers u see cheking ur passports. Don't forget, these nice legged short skirts officers, have gone thru firearms training.

21-12-2003, 23:51
Hehee - so have I. ;-)

Maine Surfer
24-12-2003, 11:57
Some more of first impressions...

Tried to register at passportnii stol last night. Typical Soviet Union just the way I remember it. Not a very good place to, but it doesn't bother me much.

Fixed two of my teeth for a fraction of cost back at home. Service was comparable.

Food is great. Why don't we have Vishnevii Sok back in the US? Plenty of cherry but no sour cherry...

Service in stores varies. In places where stuff is a bit (or a lot) more expensive, service is great, they just love you for buying from them, and people selling cheap stuff just hate you for bothering them. My friend call those prodavtsi 300 dollar people.
Russian finally got what they wanted so bad- pure capitalism.

Metro is really good, I enjoy taking it. One needs a car just for weekends, driving on a weekday is rather unenjoyable experience.

Pollution is not so bad.

Seems like there's a lot of work everywhere, one just needs to be in right field. IT is definetly is not the right field here.

Somehow I have a lot less free time here. Well there isn't any at all to be exact. And we though we would take a break from crazy American lifestyle. What a mistake!

Off topic: I like this place. I'm feeling high because I see SUN! Fist time since Italy I see SUN. Never knew that just seeing sun would make me feel so good!

24-12-2003, 12:06
"Pollution not so bad"? Try running in this city any time after 6 am. I cannot possibly live much past 50 after 20 years in Underground Mining and then running in Moscow. I am doomed.

Maine Surfer
24-12-2003, 12:14
cyclby, vse otnositel'no

Our last place of residence was Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Well there is an incinerator, MERC, in a nerby town. Sometimes it stunk so bad, it was ridiculous. Same goes for Westbrook, Maine, paper mill. At least it doesn't stink here.

Than again, I've only been here for 10 days, and it seems that Konkovo isn't too too bad

24-12-2003, 12:32

I've summered in Maine for all my life, so can speak from a bit of personal experience when I say, "Are you on drugs ?"

You're comparing one of the most ecologically clean states in the US to Moscow and giving Moscow the thumbs up ? I've been to Old Orchard, and I'm in virtual, online shock that you think Moscow is cleaner ! I mean, I don't know exactly where you lived in your Maine town. Maybe you lived behind a sewage treatment plant, and here you moved in next to Izmailovski Park, but c'mon ! You can't seriously compare the two !

I'm really not a tree-hugger, but if you're even, like, a tad bit interested in just how extensive Moscow (and Russia's) environmental/pollution problem is, you should read a book by one of America's leading post-Soviet sociologists, Murray Feschback, titled, "Ecocide"

It's scary, and you'll never again compare Moscow to tranquil, pine-scented, lobster-laden Maine (or any other US place except perhaps Detroit).


P.S. My apologies to those whose sensitivities were insulted by my snobbish use of the word "summer" as a verb.

Maine Surfer
24-12-2003, 12:55

I don't mean to insult you about Maine, it's a nice clean place and I like it very much. I'm not comparing the whole state of Maine to Moscow, I'm not on drugs. I was born in Russia and have a pretty good idea to what's going on here. I'm comparing the place where I lived in Maine with the place where I live now. Think about it.

There is MERC right in the middle of the tri towns (Biddeford, Saco, OOB). It's burning trash 24 hours a day. Depending on wind direction, smell is unbearable. I used to live in all towns: Biddeford, saco and OOB 7 years combined, and telling you, sometimes it was just gross. Not all the time but when wind was "right". Try looking at the local papers. Same goes to Westbrook's paper mill, close by Portland.
Konkovo seems OK. We live near bitsa park and there is a large park across the street from us. All I could smell so far was coming from cars. Not too bad. Traffic isn't too bad though.

So please snap out of your online virtual shock, I feel bad to place you there.

Maine Surfer
24-12-2003, 13:08
Speaking of Maine, that's how most people imagine it "one of the most ecologically clean states in the US "

True there are a lot of pine trees in Maine and the ocean is nice, but.... What most people don't realize is that Maine has one of the highest cancer rates in the US, and one shoudn't eat fish caught in its picturesque lakes. There are many very-very tall industrial smoking pipes in the mid west, and all that good stuff just flows to the east along with jet stream. Maine is far enough for all that stuff to settle. But then again, same goes for VT, MA, NH.

24-12-2003, 13:34
It's cool, Maine-Surfer. I just write like that. I'm not really hurt. Well, I did wipe away a quick tear, but that's just because I'm a 90's sensitive guy. I don't really think you're on drugs.

But judging from your comments, you had a pretty specific circumstance. On the whole, Maine and Moscow are black and white, cat and dog, Tom and Jerry, yin and yang, Putin and Khodorkovsky, if you get my drift.

And I stand by my comments. Read the Ecocide book. It's simply amazing. MERC pales in comparison to the negligence going on here.

Anyway, word to the herd, you da man, and peace out. Two as one.


Maine Surfer
24-12-2003, 13:43
where and when did you stay in OOB? I used to manage a motel chain there. It's a small world :)

24-12-2003, 13:50
Originally posted by Maine Surfer

Fixed two of my teeth for a fraction of cost back at home. Service was comparable.

Hey, MS - a friend of mine is looking for an inexpensive, quality dentist - where did you go? Would you recommend them? :)

24-12-2003, 13:56
Honestly, can't remember. I spent the better part of my childhood outside Elsworth and off the coast of Rockland, and there are few places there I haven't been through. I don't recall staying in a motel there, but I could have. I'd have to check with the parental units on that one.

It is one of my favorite states, BTW.

24-12-2003, 14:13
Originally posted by DaveUKagain
Hehee - so have I. ;-)

But I don't ever, repeat EVER, want to see you in a mini-skirt:eek: