I just got back from a quickie trip to Moscow, where I got to meet for the first time two people who I previously knew only on the internets. I love when that happens, because despite the amount of time I spend on blogs and Facebook and stuff, I really am not one of those losers whose social life only exists in cyberspace. I love it even more when the people I meet are as lovely as Veronica (and Marta) and Julia.
I was reminded that I actually like Moscow. After my first trip to Russia in 2002, when I spent 3 months in SPb and a week in Moscow, I actually had this tentative plan in my head that I would return to Russia in a few years but live in Moscow. But then I had the chance to live in SPb with Aunt Kelly, and then I met Kostia, who is a confirmed Moscowphobe, and, well, the plan hasn’t materialized.
I like Moscow because it’s big and exciting, not as dirty as St. Petersburg, more cosmopolitan, and for all St. Petersburg’s self-congratulatory “we’re the cultural capital” stuff, obviously Moscow has at least as much culture. I’d also say it’s more “culturniy” – though I had the opportunity to ride the public transport during morning and evening rush hours yesterday, nobody pushed, shoved, or squished me unnecessarily. Why, Peterburzhtsi, why must you push so much?
On the other hand, not having been there in several years, it was a bit of a shock how expensive Moscow is compared to SPb, which itself is considered shockingly expensive to people from other parts of Russia. I hopped on a trolleybus (which had a card-reader machine and a turnstile rather than a conductor!), asked the driver if I could buy a ticket, and he said yes, of course. I had no idea what the fare was so I handed him 20 rubles thinking it would be plenty – the full fare for public transport in SPb is 14 rubles. “Devushka, 5 more rubles,” he said. Oy, how embarrassing!