Saturday, 25 July 2015
The mundane is extraordinary
An initial perception of the Russian "personality" if there can be such a thing is that the people are reserved and to some extent forbidding, for example there is no eye contact with passers-by. But this is misleading and, when engaged, the people are friendly, helpful (and honest) and increasingly warm as the interaction develops. Language difficulties cause some complications, but are largely overcome because of the general goodwill no doubt in part catalysed by intrigue about our cars.
So contrary to my prior subconscious views, Russia is not populated by two-headed people with tails who eat their babies. They are ordinary people, fat and thin, good looking and ugly, with a more directly appropriate claim to being Caucasian, going about their lives and business (including producing lots of babies which they quite seem to like). Language and alphabet aside, you could be anywhere. Whilst parts of the industrial cities and many rural settlements are rundown, decaying or derelict (just like Detroit), there is not a general sense of impoverishment and little evidence of the effects of sanctions on the general populace.