|July 29, 2012 | Asia, Travels

The former ministry of transportation, one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters.

Places I’ve been where people think I’m a local :


* Germany

* Austria

* Czech Republic

* Poland

* Russia


Places I’ve been where people know right away that I am not a local, and most likely American :


* Everywhere else


Day 1 : up before everybody else for a solo walkabout. I used to marvel at old peoples’ propensity for early rising, but, you know, that’s usually how things turn out. Seize the day, etc. etc. Feels good, man, this sensible living, although I am informed that today’s sightseeing will be highly alcohol-fueled and that we will be meeting in the hotel bar at 10AM for a pint. We are in the center of town, where it is quite ritzy, all high-end coffee and sushi, so, pretty much the same as any big city. I was asked for directions twice ( I do, in fact, look like these people, except for the very pale eyes many of them have ), and I could only shrug, which I hate, but I know exactly 5 words in Russian – yes, no, hello, goodbye, and thank you. It’s all bustle, as it is in any very expensive place, and the stereotype of the heavy-set Russian lady is very much not in evidence : high heels all around, short, tight skirts. It’s very summertime-pretty here, and there’s an air similar to European cities I’ve been to – Munich, say. Moscow, so far, does not feel innately foreign to me.