Moscow Day One. It’s All Smaller

The Transaero flight was ok but they served us only one vegetarian meal. A mistake, they said. Antisemites. Hard the life of the vegetarian is.

Domodedovo looks like a modern airport, but it’s still quite small. Citizens of Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus have separate passport checks. The last dictatorship in Europe (not including Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, Norway, France and UK) has its advantages.

Olga’s husband Misha has a Toyota Camry. He helped us with the bags.

The gas stations don’t look all the same as they used too, but have brand names now. And there’s competition! The insanely rich oil companies which i keep hearing about in the news – Yukos, Lukoil, SibNeft, etc. – don’t just drill the Siberian permafrost for self-recycled dinosaurs, but actually sell it as petrol.

Moscow is full of light. There was a huge neon-lit billboard at the entrance to my God-forsaken neighbourhood Birulëvo.

The neighborhood looks mostly the same. Just with a lot of advertisement.

The 16-story house where i used to live looks absolutely the same. Except the entrance hall, which looks even worse than it used to. The mailboxes are all ruined (it’s a shame i didn’t take a picture of them.) The last time i was there, i was 11 years old, so everything looks kinda smaller now, but that’s understandable. The elevators stink as they always did; we were lucky that no-one shitted inside them. That’s how it is when the municipality is responsible for everything except what’s inside the apartments.

In the corridor near my appartment i saw the father of Misha Shvedov (almost all Russians are called Misha, Sergey, Victor or Vladimir. Sorry, not my fault). Misha Shvedov was the neighbour’s boy. A year older than myself, Misha used to piss me off a lot. He wasn’t particularly violent or stupid, just very obnoxious. I remember his father as a pretty serious, albeit snobbish, man. He used to wear eyeglasses and sported a very cool bald spot. Now he looks not fourteen, but forty years older than he did back then, his hair is completely white. And he’s a drunk. He tried to say something to Misha (we’re back with Olga’s husband now – i hope you’re not too confused), probably asked him for some money, but Misha didn’t understand what he said, because it wasn’t really Russian. It was very sad and depressing. I hoped Hadar wouldn’t be to overwhelmed by the terrible look of the home.

Inside the apartment everything was different. Olga rebuilt it completely, with new furniture, bathroom, kitchen, wallpapers (Russians love wallpapers).

Olga’s son Nikita has grown up a lot since the last time i saw him. He’s thirteen and almost as tall as his mother.

Misha made lamb steaks. It smelled good.

Hadar was surprised to see that Olga and Misha are giving their bedroom to us.

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