A water pot that boils Fast!
In every home we visited they had an electric water kettle that boils water super fast within a short 3 minutes. The ones we seen in Voronezh was made out of plastic, they were stained from the dirty water, yellowish/brown. They have a separate heating base, an a automatic shut-off when it comes up to a full boil. I checked after getting back home and yes we can buy them in America, with the right plug end. Where have I been hiding all these years not to see this great water kettle! Buy one that comes off it's heating base and that the heating element is covered (easier to clean), has auto shut-off when it comes to a boil, has a view window to see how much water is in the pot, and I've even seen ones with strainers in the pouring spout to catch sediment that's in the water. Also buy one that has a 1500 watts of power or higher, faster heat up time and one with the element that is covering the entire base. I heard the plastic ones do leak sometimes, but stay cool to the touch and some of the stainless steel ones gets real hot to the touch but are easier to clean and won't turn yellowish color. If you have wiring in your home that your high power appliances trips the breakers you made have a hard time with this kettle since it will take alot of power real fast like a high power hair dryer is the same wattage. Best thing we seen there! In the picture was at a families home and this was the only stainless steel one we seen.
They don't smile! Handle your money wisely!
We seen that they don't smile, We asked our interpreter about this he said, it's just the way things are and they didn't have anything to smile about which was true the poverty is unreal over 80% unemployment and the ones with a job make about 1,000. dollars a year the police even less than that, be careful with your money, remember they are not used to someone spending alot of rubles, don't have all your rubles in one place so you can get a few rubles out at a time without a big roll of them hanging out of your purse or pocket. Be discreat in shopping, dressing and talking. We found we made it all over town for 2 weeks without any trouble by not acting like a tourist, blend in alittle it's easier to get around and you'll enjoy yourself more. Always carry a plastic bag, they love carrying around a plastic bag for their daily grocerys, I brought a small tan canvas one that worked well, don't carry a I'm an American big flowery, or woven bag just something plain and simple. You can buy one there for around 5 rubles at one of the market stands. Also don't help someone if they drop something they will think you're going to steal it! And they don't like to be touched I went to catch a girl falling as the bus took off and she wasn't holding on yet boy did I get the look! and I went to share some gum with a boy on the bus because he kept staring at me while I was giving a piece to a friend and I went to give him a piece and he was very uneasy about me offering it to him of course he didn't take a piece. It was very hard for us at first, no sharing, no helping others or just a kind word, they hurry along the streets at a fast pace. Also you will see many older people mainly women begging for money very sad. But on the upside of it they are very very friendly if you are invited to their house they will always offer you tea and some cookies or sweets even if they don't have much to share! This picture was taken real quick this is when the miltary man gave us the talk about taking pictures in the market place!
Don't sit on the Monuments or Steps of Buildings!
I was tired one day of walking and was going to sit on the steps to a building or monument and was told that they do not sit on anything but a bench in the parks or at the bus stops where there are benches. After looking around I seen they didn't sit on any of their steps to any buildings or monuments as we do in America. I asked why no reason they just don't sit there only on benches, (something left over from communism?) Also don't take pictures of people they will get very very angry at you if you don't asked first, so we would stand like we were the one having our picture taken and then take a picture off the side. It worked out great too complicated to ask to someones picture all the time. Alot of things are left from the communist years, they don't even think why they do things they do it, just well that's what they have been doing all these years no need to think about having to change! Also they love their war time veterans lots and lots of monuments to war heroes, and their great leaders! The picture is us standing in front of Lenin's monument in Voronezh you will find him in alot of different cities all over Russia!
Pack light you will carry it!
Pack your luggage light you will end up carrying it and will have to get it into a bus or train on your own in a hurry! We found that one med. size bag on wheels worked best don't take a large one. And then a small carry on duffle size one to strap on the top of the roller one or a backpack wouldhave work even better than a duffle. Also pack a sleeping eye mask, you'll be glad you did! We had our luggage lost in Moscow for a few hours and we packed a carry-on bag with one change of clothes with ALL our medicines for the whole trip, so we didn't worry about any of the luggage missing we could have easliy bought everything that was in those bags that were checked in. check the weather right before you go. I packed a gortex rain jacket perfect for June rained a few times and was nice in the cool mornings and evenings, you can stuff a light weight jacket into your shopping bag. Don't take umbrella. Wear good walking shoes and some clothes that will serve more than one type of outing. Women take a scarf with you to get inside the churchs there! All married women have to wear a scarf in the churches. I took a none wrinkling skirt, light weight capri pants were my favorite, and a pair of jeans. I over packed with lots of clothes just a few essentials and a few different tops, a dressy one, tank top, light weight sweater , and 2 regular everyday shirts. When you pack everything unpack it all and repack lighter! You can buy anything you want over there if you forgot something and or need something else to wear, buy it at the Central Market at one of the blue/white tents, even nice sandels for just a few dollars are there so don't over pack! antiseptic, small brown bottle of red iodine less than 2.00, bandaids, travel packs of kleenex tissues. Don't use or trust the medicines there, bring extra medication heard of diabetics using more insulin from stress, alka-seltzer great! unsented baby wipes, tyenol 3's for the plane, the long train ride took the stress off us and helped us get to sleep. Had a prescription for antibiotics, that was a life saver! The first day being there our noses & throats burned from the pollution, We took acidophilus (good bacteria, found in yogurt also), buy that is shelf stable no refrig. needed, we ate a few times food that upset our stomachs but we never developed intestinal worms (traveler diarrhea). But do pack something for diarrhea. Advil for headache bring a few disposable cameras you'll be glad you did to take in places where you could get your good camera stolen. It may not even be an expensive camera but they don't know that , and don't carry it around your neck or in a camera bag you'll have tourist written all over you! Also be careful on charging up your camera with electric plug converter, I took over 200 hundred pictures and still had charge left in my battery. We used a digital camera. Check at home first how many pictures you can take with you camera. I wouldn't have taken my charger (more weight in my luggage) if I had known how many pictures it would have taken without a recharge. and taking a few extra disposables would give me more pictures if my camera battery would have died. We could have put our pictures to disc. if we wanted to while we were there if we needed more space on the cameras memory card, but they didn't have any disposable cameras they didn't know what they were. take good bug spray! we used full-strength deet OFF! it's in a little bottle in the camping section of walmart. A little went a long way! the bottle was less that 3 inches tall so it didn't take up much space You can buy the same things that are in the U.S. over in Russia. they have all the same product made by american companys just written in Russia you will reconise the packaging. Everything from candy bars, toothpaste, gum, pepsi and coke products everywhere throughtout the country. The bottle water we bought was bottled by pepsi company didn't have any trouble finding it was with all the other pepsi products throught the city at street side vendors. cost about 32 rubles for a 2 liter.
Skiing or Roller Skating
During the winter, the 9km is turned into a cross country skiing track, great fun and great exercise to get out of the city. You can also ice-skate here outside. In the summer, it's a roller skating track. For skiing bring gloves and a warm coat and hat; thick socks are essential.
You can hire skates for 30 roubles.