Its been raining on and off here in Moscow for the past week, and the puddles here don't drain because they are close to the water table, so they just keep getting bigger. Now the puddles are to the point where you can't jump over them, and so you have to tiptoe through them very delicately. And you have to watch out for cars on the street, not because you'll get hit, which you most definitely will, but because if you're anywhere near the street you'll get drenched. So, lesson number 78: bring an umbrella and carry it always.
Then, as a result of so much standing water, you have these lovely vicious mosquitoes that come out around 7, so that you must find shelter or will most certainly be deprived of your blood within a little while, or at the very least you'll walk around scratching yourself like a crack addict/crazy person for the next few days. I've also rubbed about 10 holes in my feet with my shoes, which I had thought were pretty comfortable. But when you walk quickly for long periods of time, a paper bag would start to rub you the wrong way, and I have managed to accomplish this several times. Thank god for bandaids and sneakers.
This is where it pays to read all that miscellaneous info in the guidebooks, because I knew this stuff before I came and am well equipped, now that I have my suitcase. So, be warned of these things in summer if you ever venture over here.
Photo: Nadia, Mike and Jakob on the dreaded Moscow Metro
Getting around by myself has been fine here, even though I was told not to go anywhere by myself, I've kind of had to, and haven't had any problems. Just put on my "metro face" and walked fast! And I still have all my money.
Photo: Nadia, C, and Marijana at the ballet
Since we're students, we can get the cheap seats for only about $6! And I've learned enough Russian at this point that I think I can manage saying "four student tickets please". Last night I went with 3 of my girlfriends, the ones that rescued me from being stinky and unshowered when my suitcase was MIA, to see The Nutcracker ballet. Verrry interesting. The first act was very kidsy, with a lot of hokey dancing around with presents and simple dances. Not the best stuff, and everyone seemed to agree about this. However the second act was a lot better, I guess they saved their better dancers because they were really good, doing all kinds of crazy jumps consecutively and turns. So there was a definite improvement between the two acts.
But overall it was nice, and we went out for drinks and small plates afterward at this nice Italian restaurant. Now, don't get on me for not going to a Russian restaurant, its hard to find places here just based on addresses, so you kind of have to know where you're going! And there aren't necessarily real Russian restaurants everywhere either.