6 days abroad and still alive

30 Jan

Tomorrow I will be celebrating the first anniversary (week) of my new affair with Moscow, the largest city in Europe. Everyday I wake to diamond snowflakes. Every night is filled with a siberian silence, only broken by the occasional whistle of the wind in the chimneys of my 7 story “blok”.

Interior design ? I live in blok 17/2. The entrance to the building is braced by a reinforced steel door, as is the door to my appartment. There are bars on all the windows even though I live on the 1st floor. The KGB couldn’t get in, even if they wanted to, not that they would, don’t worry 🙂 Nevertheless, despite all these precautions, I have rarely felt safer or more comfortable. My flat reflects well the tastes of those who designed the metro wagons (imitation wood eveywhere but the walls). It is small but efficiently arranged and comfortable and a part from the wobbly sink and occasional smell of drains, it suits me down to the ground.

 

Healthy eating: I read somewhere that it is not advised to drink Moscow tap water, this has also been confirmed by my boss and my colleagues. Personally, I have been drinking this water for a week and still not extra toe… which basically means that I will have to end up investing in souvenirs, when it would have been a lot cheaper to grow one. Truth be told, it only dawned on me Friday night that even if I boiled the water (which I did), although it would eliminate bacteria, it probably wouldn’t get rid of the uranium and other possible toxic waste in it, maybe that’s why I keep on beeping each time I go through a metal detector… and trust me, there are a ridiculous amount of metal detectors, security guards, police and soldiers in this city. But apparently, even if the alarm does go off, the prettier you are, the less chances you have of being frisked by a Russian soldier (sad times people! 🙂 and they let you in anyway. Getting back to the point, which was food and healthy eating, I have been surviving on a staple and unvarying diet of plain pasta, kidney beans (for protein), cheese, bread and 1 red berry swiss roll. I figure, I can eat when I get paid, plus I am not that bothered by what I eat, who would when they are in such an awesome place? Food can also be quite expensive, nothing is regulated so shops can just hike up the prices depending what mood they are in! Curiously enough though, the smaller the shop the cheaper the products 🙂 all though this demonstration is entirely empiric and based on my knowledge of the local supermarket (which is small), minimarket (tiny) and produkti (street kiosk). Despite this, vodka and cigarettes are definitely affordable and constitute a satisfying alternative to food. Yesterday I bought 500ml of vodka for £1.50 and this wasn’t anywhere near the cheapest. Strangely enough, I have not come across many drunk people, I wonder if they know how good value it is??? I can buy cigarettes for£0.50!! Although none of this bodes well for my future health, I read today that people who do not have a strong bonds of friendship are more likely to have heart attacks and various other serious issues. But I have good friends, so I guess you sort of counteract the effects of my wild lifestyle! At least that is what I will tell the doctor in 20 years time.

 

Coming soon ( because I do have a French blog to look after too, as well as the education of my students and the well being of my computer) soviet art, work and nonsense, how to speak Russian in 3 lessons 🙂

 

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