Friday, July 21, 2006

Live from Moscow

A few things that I've learned in the past 48 hours:
  1. Atlanta has a "Bobby Brown Parkway." Yeah, that one.
  2. My in-laws are all crazy drivers. The 10 hour plane ride was nothing. I sat there and read the first half of David McCullough's "Truman." My wife's cousin picked us up. Everything that you've heard about Moscow driving is 100% true. Several times, I saw a lovely recap of my life narrated by Morgan Freedman flash in front of my eyes. Apparently, I'd been re-born as a penguin. (My wife insists that my cousin was an absolutely safe driver. Since she is currently standing over my shoulder, I won't comment on that.)
  3. It didn't help that my body thought it was 3:30 am. But then again, I managed to make it through passport control at the airport. Trick: I didn't say a word, just handed the lady my documents. Now, I was so disoriented (new language, bright lights, been on a plane for 10 hours, fatigue) that I wouldn't have been able to compose anything coherent in either English or Russian. (Those who know my Russian will chuckle. Come to think of it, those who know my English will outright laugh.) I've been told that smiling, nodding, and then doing what you were going to do anyway is the best policy. Sounds like marriage.
  4. Strangely, no one here flies the American flag. However, about 25% of the writing is in English. Just enough to mess with my mind.
  5. The entirety of Moscow is composed of high rise apartments. Built in the 1960s.
  6. My niece is the absolute cutest thing in the world!
  7. I'm aware of the fact that it's now 6:45 am here and the Indians game is just ending.
  8. Did I mention my niece?
  9. We stopped over in Atlanta before heading to Moscow. You haven't lived life until you've been in the Wal-Mart toy section and heard Russian in one ear and drawl in the other. By the way, today's way to know that you're in the South: they sold scanner headsets specifically tuned to the frequencies that NASCAR pit crews use. This enables you to go to the track and listen in on what the pit crews are saying. I am not making this up.
  10. For obvious reasons, the announcements on the plane were in English and Russian. However, they occasionally showed a flight data read out in Spanish. Someone at Delta apparently didn't do their homework.
  11. The duty free cart came around (twice) and the top contained the following items: Marlboro cigarettes, Crown Royal whiskey, and Barbie. I think there's an artistic statement in there somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Speaking of, if you ever get a chance, actually look through some of the stuff in the shopping magazine available on every airline out there. I'm convinced it's there just to entertain you by making you wonder "now what would I ever do with that?"
  12. Yes. They have (toliet paper, running water, the internet, fire, etc.) Much to my great surprise. On our way to my brother-in-law's from the airport, we passed a Domino's Pizza. Seriously. And people say American cultural imperialism is a bad thing.
  13. Allofmp3 is legal here. Problem is that I didn't bring my laptop due to the difference in AC/DC current.
  14. My wife can pack enough clothes for both her and me for a week and our toiletries and other things into one suitcase. She then asked me if I wanted to put any of the books from my carry on in there.
  15. An update: I just took a shower. My wife told me that there were a bunch of shower gels, soaps, and shampoos already in the shower (true). I had actually brought my own stuff, but figured there was no point in searching for it (false). I got into the shower and realized that I don't read Russian. I right now have no idea what I just rubbed all over my skin, with the exception that it kinda looked like body wash. But then, I believe Lewis Black has a relevant saying on the ingredients of sunblock. (You may not like that joke, but you don't know.) If you didn't get the above joke, go find Lewis Black's The Black Album. You'll come back with an all new appreciation of that line.

This will be an interesting couple of weeks. I will update as I am able.

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