The smoke of fatherland is sweet…” My trip to Russia

I just returned from my trip to Russia, to my hometown Khabarovsk. I am always happy to be there, to meet my friends and relatives; to wander through its streets and squares and see the changes that have happened to my city…

What is better in Russia than in other countries? What things are unique and can be found only there? Have there been any positive changes since my last trip there in 2014?  Here are my brief observations of what makes my country special and attractive to other nations

1. A LEGENDARY RUSSIAN HOSPITALITY AND GATHERINGS

The tables were fabulous!

I almost forgot how huge pans with fried potatoes and mushrooms can be with the rest of side dishes; I just wonder: how can Russians manage to stay fit with such table traditions???

This table would look moderate if you didn’t know that it was set for just me, only me! “Why??? Why so much food???” – I pleaded, having been exhausted by the previous parties. – “We are just happy to see you in our place” – I got this simple-minded answer.

Here is girls’ gathering, hens party, with heart to heart talks… We’ve known each other for ages, have passed through sorrows and joys together; they are my friends, strong, self-made personalities, beautiful ladies… This picture was taken, and 5 or 6 more dishes were served. Mamma Mia!!!

2. EDUCATION

Despite of negative changes in the Russian educational system, I believe that children are still taught and brought-up here better than anywhere else. If the parents have brains, they can always find ways to give their kids very good education for a reasonable fee, much better in quality than, say, in Thailand. And there is a great choice of extra-curricular activities, clubs, societies, art, music, sports schools Russian kids can choose from and their parents can afford!

Here are little Princesses going to the Puppet Theater Performance… Something Magic is going to happen

My Thai friends told me that developing classes for little kids in Thailand were extremely expensive and could be afforded only by the riches ones. If so, most of Russian kids are from the families of celebrities then! My Russian friends with little kids/grandkids confirm: the choice of developing programs for babies and little kids is amazing, and any middle-class family can financially afford any of them. As an example I took a picture of this Club’s Program for Children from 2 to 6 I bumped into while walking around the city; lots of sports activities are offered here!

Oops! This poster was placed next to the previous one: Thailand is always with me, even in Khabarovsk!

3. STOMATOLOGY

Look at this poster: it advertises the dentist clinic’s implant services. An implanted tooth (from modern stuff, on a modern equipment) will cost you 47500 rubles that is around 700$US. If you can find cheaper and better – I’ll applaud you!

In a tiny private dentist office (with the advanced equipment) I had my teeth cleaned with fluorine coating, 1 complicated treatment and small decays treatments on 3 teeth. My bill was 13,000 rubles – around 250 dollars.  No comment.  🙂

4. PAID MEDICAL SERVICES

Paid services means that your medical insurance doesn’t work here, you have to pay either cash or bank card. There are a lot of medical centers in Russia now with a variety of services. They are comfortable to stay in, with a polite personnel and skilled doctors who really eager to solve your problems. My extremely negative experience with Thai doctors – hurray! – was rewarded with a real help from Russian endocrinologist, gynecologist, neurologist and physician. Prices?  As twice as cheaper than in notorious Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

5. COSMETOLOGY, BEAUTY INDUSTRY

Russian ladies have always been beautiful and well-groomed – it’s a well-known fact. There are less men than women in Russia so the competition is tough, and a lady in her chase after a male has to look always fabulous. There are many beauty clinics in Russia with a wide range of the latest cosmetology technologies; the competition is high and it guarantees high quality of services and moderate prices. Moreover most of the Tha beauty clinics haven’t even heard about many of beauty technologies which are offered by Russian doctors.

Just the same about manicure-pedicure services and hair-dressers! Farang women living in Thailand know how difficult it’s to find a good manicurist-pedicurist, and it’s almost impossible to have a good hair-cut here!… Oh, Russian Hair-Dressers and Manicure-Girls deserve to work in the best international Hair and Beauty salons, trust me!

6. CITY LIFE DIVERSITY

A positive change I’ve noticed: there are more festivities, carnivals, parades, performances in the streets now

Concerts,

Fireworks, and other things that bring people together

You can even listen to the Irish Pipers in Khabarovsk at a Military Orchestras Festival!

The streets have become safer and less dangerous; maybe it’s only my hometown good luck, but walking in its streets is more interesting, comfortable

healthier and… cool again!

7. ORTHODOX TEMPLES ARE GROWING FAST

There is more and more Orthodoxy in the lives of Russians; it strikes the eye! There are more very beautiful temples being built, on private investors money, too

A very Russian landscape: a temple, a road, and a …balance beam!

8. PEDESTRIANS ARE PEOPLE, TOO!

Russian drivers strictly follow all traffic lights signals now; It’s less dangerous to cross roads in Russia now, in my mind and from my experience. My friends explain it by the CCTVs, installed almost everywhere – all drivers are under surveillance now! Whatever the reason is, it’s much better that to cross roads in Thailand, where you jump as a frightened hare!

9. TRAMS!

There are no trams in Thailand, and not so many of them are there in the rest of the world. They are endangered species that must be protected! J Old trams in Russia are being replaced by the brand-new ones, with the reclining seats. It’s so nostalgic to have a slow ride in a tram, tinkling on the junctions of the rails…

10. ATMs

Mini-offices with ATMs are at every corner in my city now; you can have most of your banking transactions here , and there are always bank staff around to assist you . One of banks’ ATM gave me cash from my Thai bank card without any commission, which was announced with pride… However later another bank’s ATM sternly informed me that the commission had been taken, but didn’t find it necessary to say how many percent. Russian banks are still  a Russian roulette!

11.  ADVERTISING

I really enjoyed the signs, poster and advertisements in the streets of Khabarovsk! Will try to give you English translation with much less effect than they are in Russian.

“Sisindom” –  though  written in Latin letters – its Russian meaning is “BoobsHome”!  It’s a Lingerie Store, where Bras – Boobs Homes  – are sold!

This is a poster advertising sauna (saunas are very popular with Russians!). It says: “Darling, take me to the Sauna… “ and the name of the sauna is a play of words:

three Russian pronouns YOU (plural) WE,  YOU(singular)  together make the verb “washed”.

Ads on public buses tickets – Russian know-how?

The services of a law company are advertised on the back of the ticket; if you produce this ticket during your first visit to this company, a free consultation is guaranteed!

12. TINY WINDOWS OF DWELLING HOUSES

After Thai Condos’ Full-Length Windows the windows of dwelling houses, built in the Soviet times look blind, and the reason for it – climate, long and severe winters!

13. FOOD YOU CAN FIND ONLY IN RUSSIA

Me, keeping a diet after my Russian binge eating, can’t stop talking about Russian food anyway! Bread for Russians is like rice for Asians – basic, essential food. That is why you can find any kind of pastry there you can only imagine! Even for those who keep fit. This is flax low-carb crisp breads. Have you ever tried them?

Mors and Kvas! Magical, relieving words for any Russian on a hot day or … a hangover!

Curd cheese cakes. Only in Russia. Delicious. Can eat them every day and forever.

Chocolates and caramel candies – are the best in the world, even Swiss chocolate can’t compete with them!

Surprise, surprise! Here is the food imitating red and black caviar! If you’ve run out of money but have to pull the wool over your guests’ eyes, this is the right food to buy then! Tell me later how was it, ok?

14. RUSSIANS STILL  DON’T  SMILE

Russian kids don’t smile either. Unlike relaxed Thai kids, Russian ones always look as if focused on solving some problem. But when they smile, they do it sincerely! And they are so beautiful, our Slavic children

 

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About Me

Hi. I am Elena. Welcome to Blondiary.com! In 2010 I quit my job as a university lecturer in Russia and moved to the Land of Smiles. This blog is a combination of useful information and amazing stories about Thailand with my “non-package tour” experiences. Hope you’ll like it here!

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