I am feeling more comfortable on the metro. Anyone who knows me know I am incredibly directionally challenged and very uncomfortable driving or going out of my comfort zone, meaning the area in which I know how to get around in.
The metro system is excellent and I can say that I now know how to go about finding my way around should the need arise when I had to. Being able to read Russian is fairly crucial though and I am able to read the signs so that helps. However, I have no intention of taking the metro by mysel..
The Russian money system continues to be a challenge. Since this is a cash only society, trips to the bank are necessary to make sure we have the money we need for the day. And of course, the differences between the USA and Russian is interesting. For instance, today, when I was going to go to Okey (like a Super WalMart), I took with me a 5000 ruble bill. Wow. However, it is only euals around $170 American dollars.
We have pennies. They have kopecks. I don't know why because you need 10 kopeks to equal a ruble which is the equivalent of $.30. Almost worthless. We have dollars, they have rubles. I'm pretty comfortable with the money now. (I should be after 7 months).
I understand the Russians have certain bank accounts. However, we cannot. We draw out $ from the ATM and carry the cash with us. For instance, opening a new apartment might require Dave to carry 150,000 rubles. You REALLY have to hold your money tight to the vest when you are carrying that kind of moneh (around $4800 American). Of course, carrying large sums of money makes no sense except for short periods of time. Luckily we are right next door to the bank, but how much easier it is to write a check or use the MasterCard! MasterCards are used; however, we are not comfortable using them here.
After 7 months in Russia, I am continuing to find new and different foods in the grocery store that one is unlikely to see in America. For instance, dried goldfish....for snacking perhaps?? Yum. Rows and rows of "soak", or juice. There are all different flavors of delicious fruit juices and it takes up a whole long row at the grocery store. In the next aisle over, rows (on both side) of liquor, vodka, etc.
One thing that caught my eye this past week on a top shelf was different kinds of canned meats. The animal head on the can showed what delicious treat was found within. Hmmmmm. Horse, goat, pig and sheep were all available. The Russians love their meat and are big eaters of sausage. They also love mayonaise and there are many different flavors. You will find it in the refridgerated section in pouches.
I'm getting more used to the traffic, crazy drivers who also use sidewalks if they feel so inclined, BUT I don't like it. It is a 20 - 25 minute drive to Zelonograd, but it takes us up to an hour and 20 minutes at times to go that short distance because of the heavy traffic.
and perhaps mail is the biggest issue I am working on. That is coming up next. Dos vidonya.