Friday, August 3, 2007

Looking back at Moscow

My first "real" trip out of the US - not including Mexico and Canada - was to the Soviet Union in 1990.

The first day in Moscow, three of us decided to "visit" Moscow State University or MGU. We bluffed our way in past the guard (yes, they had / have guards) and wandered around the campus and dorms.

Just three stupid American kids from a poor neighborhood with a reasonable command of Russian, meandering about in the largest country on Earth and long-time enemy of our home country. (Berlin wall just came down, Cold War still going, but just barely.)

Alone. Without an escort. Stupid.

Anyway, coming out the gate, we didn't realize that both sides of MGU look the same, so we thought we were heading back to the gostinitsa universityetskaya (hotel university) where we were staying. Oops.

After wandering around lost looking for our hotel. It became apparent that we had been walking for far longer than it took us to get to MGU in the first place. I posited that maybe we had come out on the wrong side and we should turn around and go back. Jeff (Jones) and Felix argued that we just hadn't gone far enough, so they voted to go onward.

I said I was going back and did so. Alone. Without an escort.

I made it back eventually, cold and tired, but very much correct in my directional instincts. Not so stupid.

Jeff and Felix got back much later, cold, tired and grouchy, after eventually finding a Metro station (MGU is pretty far out from the main part of Moscow) and working their way back using local transportation.

Lesson: Don't go to Moscow.

Just kidding. When visiting an unfriendly country, make sure you A: have a guide or escort. or B: speak the language or C: have a good sense of direction and / or D: the guts to follow your instincts.

Habe Mut! - German: Have Courage!

Tiny countries

So, here's the word on our next trip.

Our plan as it stands is to visit the three (possibly 4) smallest countries in Europe: Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino. Number four would be Liechtenstein. Andorra will have to wait.

As these countries are surrounded by other, larger countries, we'll also have to visit Italy and France (and or Switzerland and Austria). Oh darn.

Now go look at your maps!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I've been this woman!

OMG - I laughed, most sympathetically - really! - while reading this post from the Yarn Harlot. She got stuck in airport hell: