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No wonder Old Hem was so popular in the old Soviet Union, you will hardly ever bump into a ‘moveable feast’ elsewhere, while here they come in legions!
May 1, the Labour Day, is a holiday
May 9, the Victory Day, is a holiday
Saturdays and Sundays are days-off
Question: when do approach an office in Russia not to see a closed door in front of your nose?
Simple! You move days-off before and after, so that folks could go to their ‘dachas’ in the country, and see what you’ve got!
Good to know your dates before you set out for a trip.
Written May 5, 2012
.. One of the first things that I organise when getting ready for a trip is " Travel Insurance" I usually include a few different clauses that obviously cost a little extra but I feel well worth the cost. The main one is the medical side ..in case of accident for doctor and Hospital cover or the worst scenario being repatriation. I make sure that this is included as I have seen some travellers foolishly with many medical problems of cost etc created by an accident, just a simple accident created by too much alcohol.
Obviously depending where your travels take you the costs of the insurance vary. Usually medical costs are horrendous and sometimes the medical and hospital services are just not there. Also not only medical if you are visiting dangerous areas they automatically create larger costs for your insurance. I am not a thrill seeker and don't jump off bridges or out of aeroplanes ,and try and keep my costs to a minimum. I also travel budget and understand that a lot of travellers say that they cannot afford travel insurance..
I also know what its like to be robbed and in a foriegn place with little money on hand.
As the say: DONT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.
Written Dec 24, 2011
‘Days of’ should really be ‘days off’ for anyone who is not into mass folly.
We have ‘Days of’ for practically any trade and profession – doctors, postmen, sailors and even us, linguists. May 27, for example, is the Day of Librarians, while May 28 is the Day of Border Guards. Feel the difference?
Librarians, for some reason, spend their holiday at their working place, quietly and to the readers’ advantage.
No such nonsense for our brave Border Guards. They would pump themselves with beer and splash all the fountains in the Gorky park and nearby. They think they all look like Anita Ekberg, or what?
Photo: courtesy http://www.ogoniok.com/5049/7/
But that’s a modest and quiet holidaying compared with what the place suffers when Airborne Troopers get loose - that’s August 02. Beware.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
That cute little kitten you see on the street may not be very clean. That friendly dog looking for a few hand-outs with his big, begging eyes may be more than hungry. As compelling as showing a little compassion may be, lot's of street animals, left to fend for themselves, can be dirty or worse carrying fleas or other diseases.
In the worst case, some of these animals have come into direct contact with wild foxes who might be transmitting rabies, espeically in out-lying areas or near parks & riverbanks where wild dogs, cats, rats & foxes may cohabitate.
Authorities report up to 40.000 stray dogs in the Moscow area alone and they in turn come into contact with other domestic animals and hence their owners or passerbies, too.
At the very least, unclean dogs & cats may simply be dirty. I had a severe allergic reaction the other day to a kitten I was petting. Although it has a home, he plays on the street and comes into contact with other cats, and I reacted very strongly to his cat dander most likely? In any case, my eye was completely swollen shut the next day and I needed to take anti-histamines for several days until the swelling went down. Now, I am much more careful.
What to do? If you must, leave food out for that stray you feel so sorry for. However, this will more than likely encourage her to have more offspring that will also live on the streets. It is perhaps better to make a donation to the local SPCA for the sterilization of stray animals. This is very expensive for local authorities to carry out, but much more humane than gathering them up and having them put down.
Please find below the links for some humane societies which have programs operating in Russia.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Let me start by saying that Moscow is full of dogs. Lots and lots of stray dogs, for that matter and lots of lovely white fluffy snow.
Incidentally, I should tell you now that with all this snow over the last six months Liz and I have become the William Tells of Moscow, regularly shooting out targets 100s of yards away with a snowball. But all this snow over the last six months - something like six feet of it - has presented the State with a big question - where do we dump it all? The answer? In the wee courtyard down the road from us where, incidentally, everyone walks their dogs of course!
This courtyard is piled high with mountains of snow and with all the melting recently, we've noticed that the outer fluffy brilliant white layer of the snow has started to change. Looking a little closer, I realised that horrifyingly, it has changed to reveal six months of canine bowel movements. Frozen and forgotten, but now thawing to reveal mysterious ancient 'fossils'.
Making snowballs in this courtyard was nearly my second mistake.
I should add that cats are also to be found everywhere in Moscow. We see kittens being sold by trades-people in the metro, usually peeking their tiny heads out from under scarves or paper bags. At first this seems cruel but each kitten comes with a certificate (apparently) and they generally look in pretty good shape. I suspect though that they also come with lots of unknown bacteria and a 7 foot guarantee (step away seven feet and the guarantee expires!).
We spotted a sale at a market yesterday of a tiny but gorgeous kitten that looked a little like the one pictured adjacent, but cuter and less like Mr Tinkles.... Anyway, a crowd of envious on-lookers, with us, all "oh-ed and agh-ed" as she and her young daughter made up their minds. It didn't take long and soon the little kitten had a new owner and was tucked inside a big fur coat as they made their way to her new home.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
If you need help go to "Zdorovoe pokolenie" (Lesteva st, metro Shabolovskaya). The best service for whole family (better than in Canada) with a reasonable price.
High quality materials only - you'll never get amalgam there.
Any doctor there (Pugacheva, Borcova etc) is good but we recommend Aref'eva Tatyana.
Updated Jan 8, 2011
Phone: 225-52-68, 954-36-84
Last few years Moscow's winters were more as european than as russian but sometimes weather remains you where you are :) This winter (2010-2011) present us some really cold weeks till -32 C (-22F) and icy rains and we got some problems with that - transport, electricity etc.
But nature is especially beautiful in winter time... After al winter is a wonderful time for touring Russia. It will give you the opportunity to feel the beauty of Russian winter.
And... In winter like that you can easy understand why fur-caps and fur-coats are so popular in Russia.
Updated Jan 8, 2011
:) 02 Aug every year paratroopers selebraite theire day... Sometime they are "a little bit" drunk, sometimes - "a little bit" agressive... Be carefull and don't visit Park of culter (theire usial place to meet) this day pls :)
Updated Dec 19, 2010
The market economy surely liberates the creative energy of an individual.
Shut behind the Iron Curtain, we used to have a very airbrushed image of the outer world here – what with Sophia Loren or Gerard Philipe gracing the red carpet at our film festivals, or Paul Scofield drawing in crowds of Moscow theatre-goers, or Charles Aznavour singing for his native Armenia, which was part of the USSR in those days.
Now see who is bearing the torch of democracy and human rights these days
Updated Mar 17, 2010
If you want to have good access to your Emails, better take care not to read Western newspaper by Internet. I read German Spiegel in a hostel, and on next morning Email was very disturbed. I started browsing in English Pravda, then Emails worked again, but I got an Emails with a bad joke about 007 from a friend, and another one concerning German Election, which clearly was interrupting the Email transfer for some minutes. On the last evening I dared to hear German radio SWR3, which ran quite well during music, but was then disturbed heavily during news about a German Nuclear power plant and some Terrorist news - also a Eastern German youngster radio like radio Sputnik did then not run any more. On the next morning my Internet access in the hostel was dead (but for sure not from the hostel people, they were very nice - there came a Russian language error message from the Moscow Wifi company Beeline - I am frightened I maybe killed the internet access for the complete hostel).
I had to to go to McDonalds to get my Emails - for God sake they have free Internet in all the McDonalds in the city. Usually I am not a McDonalds fan, but at the end of old Arbat street near Smolenskaya Metro and at Tretyakovskaya metro there are very comfortable McDonalds with very nice coffee shops, where you get great Russian cake and great European style coffee, and WiFi for free.
Updated Aug 28, 2009
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