travel russia

For most Americans who grew up in the 1950s, Russia, has always been a land of mystery and agressive antagonistic politics.
Our planned trips into Moscow and St. Petersburg were expected to be the highlights of a ten day Baltic cruise.
We were surprised by the these clean, modern, and apparently prosperous cities.
We had the opportunity to talk with several guides, drivers, and other people who served the tourist industry, a few of which spoke to us openly.
Contrary to all the obvious signs of properity, we learned that the average Russian tended to be very pessimistic about the future.
We learned that political corruption is rampant and most average people still have little chance for advancement, travel, and... happiness.
I finally asked one man why, aside from some guides, nobody we met in Russia smiled. After a long thought, he explained that with the history
that most Russians had lived through, there was little to smile about. He said, that when a Russian smiles, it's because of something very important.
He observed that most Americans seemed to smile all the time without any apparent reason. Russians find this strange...

2009 - Moscow, St Petersburg...

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page last revised april 2015