In lieu of a longer and more serious post, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some observations of mine in the two weeks I’ve been in Russia. (Don’t worry, I will have some more of my typical posts coming up!)
-The stoplights. In America, you have to press the button to start the 30 seconds of pedestrian walking time, but in Russia it’s a bit different. Automatically, you have that time (which is 25 seconds), so you can always count on time to walk across the street. However, an unwritten rule is that if there’s no traffic, you can cross the street even without those 25 seconds.
– Russian drivers are nuts. As my roommate Brent told me, one of his students said that, “In Russia, some people look both ways even on a one way street. We’re told that we’re pessimists, but in Russia that’s called being careful.” I’ve seen some drivers barrel through intersections. Bonus goes to them if they’re on their phones in doing so. Also, the other night on the way home from work, I saw three cars trying to back up and pull into a small (apparently one way) street. It was like a game of chicken, in the sense that all parties were seeing who would back off first.
-On that note, it seems as if parking is a free for all. I’ve seen some cars park on the sidewalks (instead of clearly available spaces), in addition to driving on the sidewalks.
-As I mentioned in a previous post, the McDonald’s are better run. Case in point: there are kiosks inside the restaurants where you can order and then pick up your food; it saves plenty of time and makes it a very smooth operation. Granted, I’ve seen this in the one right by my flat, but the point still stands-it’s an ingenious little touch to enhance one’s dining experience.
-I’ve seen Russians outright drinking in the streets.
-Yes, you do get carded when buying alcohol.
-Russians really work hard and play hard. I’ve seen people put in 12 hour work days.
-According to my boss, drinking cold water when sick is a concept that Russians cannot grasp. When Brent and I told her and a few other colleagues that we drink water cold, they looked at us like we were from another planet.
-Russian grocery stores have extremely impressive selections of alcohol. Not too much of a shocker, eh?
-Apparently mullets are fashionable.
-On the whole, Russians are very fashionable. I’m told this is because first impressions are absolutely vital to everything, thus keeping up with one’s appearance is the number one goal. I’ve also seen a ton of women/girls wear heels that easily elevate them by half a foot.