Sunday, March 23, 2008

High Tech Tram Chugs through Rostov-on-Don

Where am I -- Prague? Vienna? I asked myself on the tram yesterday. It wasn't the first time I'd managed to snag one of the snazzy newer trams on Gorky Street.

But it was the first time I noticed the digitial display for upcoming stops. I wondered, Am I really here in Rostov? The mega-cities have long had such high tech trappings with their public transport. But when technology reaches the us, the masses here in in the hinterlands of Rostov-on-Don, you gotta love it.

How about you ~ Do you regularly use public transportation? Or do you have special memories of a time when you did?


Rhea said...

I don't use public transportation much now. I did use it to commute to school when I lived in Austin, Texas. The shuttle bus was great to the university and parking on campus was horrible.

I have used public transportation in many European countries, mainly trains, which was a lot of fun, mainly because it was something new and different.

Happy Easter!

Jeanette M said...

Oooh...I'm green with envy. Will Samara have such CLEAN, upscale trams? And with digital stop notification? Wowie zowie. Frankly, even after 7 visits to Russia, I am terrified of the public transport (trains, buses, trams, trolleybus, minivans, taxis, and the "flag a car" method). I still rely on my friends to get me to and from safely. My fear isn't that I'll be mugged--but that I'll miss my stop and end up on the wrong side of town. Even the people who have lived their whole life in Samara say they haven't quite mastered the "system."

In my normal life, I drive my own car everywhere. We have NO practical public transport. However, I do see the benefits of it, and would use it for sure if I lived in a big city. No gasoline to buy, no insurance, no parking problems, no repairs and maintenance, and a forced daily walking regime. I've never seen a Russian woman with flabby legs...

Eileen said...

Hello Rhea, thank you for your comment. Are you still in Texas? Oh yeah - I see we have a Texas connection. Trains are neat aren't they, in European countries. Say, ever been to Eastern Europe? Seems to be a difference in trains between those in the western and central Europe (well, Germany and Poland, I've seen oh and Czech Rep) and those in Eastern Europe. Thanks for Happy Easter wishes. Hope yours was good. Can you believe, RO Easter (Russian Orthodox) is toward end of April! E

Eileen said...

Jeanette, are you serious? With Samara's fabulous train station (inter-city), the local trams are a bit of a mess? Yes, I'm with you on the fear of the public transport - I was always afraid of ending up in Siberia. And then I realized that wouldn't happen, that local buses do a loop. But some of my absolutely most frustrating moments - at least early on - were when using public transport. And misjudging where the stop was in relation to where I needed to go, ending up going too far, all that.

Your idea of going with the locals is the best idea.

Oh yes, there are sooo many advantages to going with the public transport. And then a cab when needed. But all those advantages, exactly right. Hilarious about the flabby legs. Yes, these Russians are pretty tough physically. Gotta hand it to them. Strong birds, those older babyshkas. Hope I can be the same!

One of my frustrations - that took me forever to figure out - was why people weren't letting me get through (you know how packed those aisles can be) to get off at my stop. Eventually figured out that I was using the wrong word for communicating needing to get off at the Very Next stop. Need to say "now" (sechas) for the very next stop. When I would say in Ru *next stop* (sledyshee), that means - the next one after the one coming up. Oh boy oh boy. / So then when someone understood that I wasn't getting off just yet and would block my path to the exit, I'd quite frustrated. The things we learn along the way, eh? ;)

Rhea said...

Hey, Eileen! I am still in Texas, just north of Dallas now.

I've never been to Eastern Europe. What are the trains like there?