Friday, September 24, 2010

Random Russian Sights on an Autumn Evening

Glory be, tram fares in Rostov-on-Don have gone up from nine rubles to ten. So with the current exchange rate - 31 rubles to the dollar - that's from 29 cents up to 32. See, I leave the country and inflation runs rampant. Which it does, regardless. But anyway, we're on the tram now, so let's enjoy the sights.

The main sight here is. . . folks getting on and some major discussion between the driver and lady about her transport pass.

Grabbed this picture quick like with my new little camera (Thanks dear JTO!) that's rather unobtrusive and easy to whip out in seconds. I was hoping for a quick little shot that nobody much would notice. Shortly thereafter, I spotted a police officer standing just two meters behind me and he was quite aware. I like to think that he was off-duty, anxious to get home to dinner. . .

Oh, here's my tram ticket. With the increased fares, guess they're giving out tickets again. Reminded me of an amusing Russian tradition I'd heard about years ago. I turned to the lady behind me to confirm. She smiled and explained that back during her childhood it was a fad to add up the first three black numbers. And if that sum is equal to that of the last three numbers, you're in for some good luck. But, only if you eat your ticket. That's right. Open wide and down the hatch. See, feels lucky already, doesn't it? Oh, well maybe next time we'll win. . .

Down off the tram and heading toward the Rostov Regional Library. In its shadow is this collection of used books: think Half-Price Books a la Rus. And look what we have here, the magazine, *Америка,* all about America circa 1978. Let's zoom on in.

Well my stars. . . and stripes. Here's our Abraham Lincoln. Never know who you're going to run into here in Rostov. Excuse us Abe, but we've gotta hurry along. Continuing on into the library, we head to the Department of Foreign Language where the English Discussion Club meets. Oh, what an interesting evening. . .

After our meeting, about half the group tromped together down Pyshkinskaya Boulevard and here we are. These young ladies are all quite fluent in English and they want to practice their English. They need to practice their English, but not nearly as much as I need to practice my Russian!

Welcome to McDonald's. It's quite the place to go, brimming with tech-savvy college students using the free WiFi. Besides that, the menu regularly features new menu items. Here McDonald's is introducing two new sandwiches to celebrate Mediterranean Weeks. On the left is Fresh Italian with crab, on the right is your basic Fresh Italian. Hamburger, that is. Which will you be having today? Myself, I went with the crab and it was pretty good.

Thank you dear friends for sharing a glimpse into life in Rostov-on-Don. I'm so grateful for the privilege of being here and serving as your tour guide from time to time.

Just wondering: Have you ever eaten a ticket for good luck? Or for additional dietary fiber? Have you ever run into a US President overseas? How do you plan to celebrate Mediterranean Weeks?