The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

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Russia in Food

Posted on May 30, 2011

My last memory of Russia was watching german shephards eagerly search our train cabin and belongings, a comedic mirror considering our first impressions of this backwards shithole of a country (I say that with love!) were less than inviting. What will I miss the most? The people, the language, and the food. In a place where camels gallop down city streets, Veyrons cruise around like its no big deal, where rural poverty still commands the majority, and where stilettos are considered acceptable footwear for grocery shopping, one of the only links between the west and east is food. Considered gross by many, it takes me back to my childhood days when my grandma would fill me up with polish food, a culinary cousin, until I would…

Irkutsk Nights

Posted on May 28, 2011

Last night we went out with a huge group from our hostel. America, Canada, France, and Switzerland were represented.  We all acted like we knew each other for years and yet I’ll probably never see these people again. I think that sums up the best and worst thing about travel quite eloquently – its the people you meet, the conversations you have, and the sad acceptance you experience when the dinner is over and the last drink is finished. And then for some reason my thoughts go to Misha. His first trip. The truth is that Misha has proved to have more courage in his pinky finger than many people ever exhibit in their whole lives. The courage to attack your problems head on, the courage to…

Comrade Update

Posted on May 26, 2011

My comrades and I are getting along just fine. We have the occasional argument about which version of gin rummy is better, but those tiffs are just to keep things interesting. It’s no surprise you learn a lot about the people you travel with. I knew Misha likes blue a lot, but this is just ridiculous. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he aspires to be a smurf or a member of the Blue Man group like the great Tobias Funke. Blake has an underbite and sharp teeth. This supports my ongoing suspicions that he is in fact a vampire. He also likes to bite things and complains every time I try to drive a stake into his heart. Misha’s portrait was taken as we lounged on…

Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away

Posted on May 26, 2011

Take a hand full of sugar cubes and roll them out in front of you. Wherever they land, build Siberian cottages of all colors so that when you look at them from a hilltop, you can see every home blend into all the others. You can see the cottages and their ornate woodwork, but that is all. No people or movement, perhaps the occasional bonfire smoke that fills the town and moves with the whims of the wind. The architect of Galich used sugar cubes, and he had the good sense to throw them in front of a forest lake. He did this so people can climb the hills at sunset, look towards the purple skies, and become enveloped by the fading light of…

Tips and Observations from a 3rd Class Trans Siberian Railway Car

Posted on May 25, 2011

1. I’m not sure if I’m losing weight or the jeans I’ve been in for 4 days are stretching. Hoping for the former, probably the latter. 2. Good God. When you’re in the bathroom, lock the door. 3. Be kind to the provodnitsa. She’s a good person to have on your side. 4. When a woman comes around selling hot cakes, buy them. Buy them all. You will regret having to eat mushroom and sour cream chips later. 5. Bring hand sanitizer. 6. If you have food, offer it. If a man with gold teeth tells you to buy a siberian onion, buy it. It’s delicious with salt, black bread, and kielbasa. 7. You’ll come across many older Russian women. Some are kind from the…

Moscow

Posted on May 21, 2011

  I was on the eight hour train from Petersburg to Moscow, completely disillusioned with my own ignorance. I had never committed seven major faux pas in a row (that I’ve been aware of), and I’d never slept in a train bunk with an old Russian woman staring at me from below with her beady eyes and flashing her gold teeth when she wanted to let me know of something I’d done wrong. She was not mean or cruel, just strict amd fastholding of traditional cultural norms regardless if her victim is aware of them or not. She was on her way to the south to relax. During the trip her grandson was learning how to spell, scrawling down the russian equivalents of “tomato” and “dog” –…