My Russian is steadily improving, and I am quite proud of if. Today, I formed my first Russian sentence without the help of my trusty phrase book. I asked for “one liter of sparkling water” in the shop. And I actually got what I ordered. Fantastic! Little things like these make my day.
However, I am still mixing up two essential words: Bashalsta (Please) instead of Spasiba (Thank You). I have absolutely no idea why I do mix up these two terms, but I try to use them as much as possible to get better used to them.
After only two days, the lady at the bakery shop around the corner from the hostel is used to my random mixup of Bashalsta and Spasiba. Since she sells delicious bread, this has quickly become my favorite hang-out in the city. After a day out exploring Moscow, I love to eat her tasty “Pirozhki” for dinner. So I keep coming back to her shop, mixing up the words. But she’s patient with me.
Today, I did bump into a police control while taking pictures of one of the notorious Moscow traffic jams. Well, I wanted to take a picture of the car which parked in a 2nd row. That is certainly something very common for Moscovites. However, seeing the resulting rush hour traffic jam, created by one car, was worth taking a picture. However, I didn’t realize that – together with the car and the traffic jam – police officers were on scene. When they saw my camera, they let the driver go and rushed towards me.
“Oh my – I am only a tourist”, I said and put up a very honest smile. The three policemen shouted to me in Russian, what sounded like something worthy to write down. “Swear words? Russian swear words?”, went through my mind. I need to write them down! After checking my papers, the policemen let me go. Whew… Another lesson learned: Don’t take pictures of men in uniforms. Unless you want to learn a few new words.
Downtown Moscow, I decided to take a stroll through “Gum” department store. Shopping malls usually aren’t on my to-do list when visiting other countries. They all look the same to me and have the same boring shops as back home. The “Gum” department store, however, is an architectural piece of splendor. Moreover, it is also a relatively quiet and peaceful place in the middle of this bustling city. It’s clearly worth a visit since it is one of the few places in Moscow that come at no cost.
That’s all for now, my free Internet time (that came with an expensive cafe latte) in this coffee shop is up. Hey, I’m on a budget here – but I might order another coffee tomorrow…