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Je suis Russia

Tuesday, October 12, 2016, after a very long 24 hours of travel, I finally arrived in Moscow. Unfortunately, the time between connecting flights in Paris was very short and my bags did not make it. Hopefully, they will be delivered tomorrow by noon.

I was met by Ruzhena Pugacheva, the woman who secured all of the invitation letters and visa information. We took the express train from the airport to somewhere in downtown Moscow. There are 17 million people living here…people and cars everywhere…and at all hours of the day and night. Two subway cars later and several stops and we were at my flat.

The flat is very simple with very little in the way of amenities, but it comes FREE. I’m not sure of the connection yet, but it seems to be owned by another of my friends or friends. Because we are all working for peace in the world, they are providing it for free.

Ruzhena cooked borsch for dinner for me, Nicolai and herself. Had some kind of gnocchi with tiny balls of mixed meat. I didn’t ask! Plenty of bread, cheese, three kinds of sweets, not of the chocolate variety, that were really good.

Ruzhena had purchased tickets to the Bolshoi tonight, but was concerned that I hadn’t slept in almost 30 hours and insisted I sleep. I wasn’t going to give up an evening at the Bolshoi for anything. Made it without dozing. Russian people, in general, seem very cultured. They love music, ballet (of course) theater, and literature. They are more familiar with American literature than most of us. Anton Morozov came with us and insisted I hear immediately about the history of Crimea, the Russian Revolution, the Soviet Era, origins of the Red Star and the Hammer and Cycle.

Ruzhena is a chemist by trade. Anton is a mathematician. Nikolai is a retired radio engineer.

Watching the chamber performance tonight you wouldn’t know you were anywhere but the US. They look like we do. They are very polite and very well dressed. The women look very western in terms of clothing, hair styles, and makeup. The younger ones are very western looking and very beautiful.

It is now 10:47 local time, so I’m hoping to be able to crash in a hurry…..

Thursday October 13.  Slept for 12 hours. Still waiting for baggage. They insist it is on the way, but Russian traffic in this city of 17 million is a bit backed up!

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