Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Real Russia

Russia is full of extremes especially with living standards. Most Moscovites live in  small apartments. Usually three generations in one dwelling consisting of grandparents, parents and children sharing 2 bedrooms, one small lounge, a kitchen and bathroom. (and they are very expensive). Others live in the outer areas in country houses - dachas. Some city residents use them on weekends and to grow their vegetables which they take back to their apartments. If residents live permanently in this these sorts of dwellings they are VERY basic.  The difference between those with money and those without is depressingly obvious as you will see. 70% of food is imported which is so sad as there is fallow land everywhere not being used for agriculture. Food is expensive to produce locally - butter comes from New Zealand, meat from Brazil and chicken from the US (which is fondly known as Bush's legs as George Bush was president when importing began!) Some of my photos are from the bus window so not very clear. There is some interesting info at wikipedia about the housing history....
 The wooden homes look very run down but they do have electricity but not running water

 Above - a central well is used for the neighbourhood's water supply
 A more upmarket dacha

 Fruit from the mountain ash tree

Russians like to have the biggest, the widest and the longest of everything. Big, bigger, best. Here is a massive rocket sculpture

 This blurred view is of illegal workers who stand on the roadsides of outer Moscow every day waiting for a car to pull over and offer them work - even for just one day. You can see several running at once to a car
 New estates are being built with much better housing
 We had an opportunity to go on an excursion to a village on the outskirts of Moscow. This included a visit to a working Russian Orthodox monastery. It was wonderful to be amongst the 'real Russians' going about their everyday life. Visions of stooped, squat babushkas are everywhere. Scarf on head, stick in one hand and basket in the other gathering wild berries and mushrooms in the forest was common. Or they are just sweeping footpaths or watching the world go by. But if you do the wrong thing they will let you know!! So no photos from me as I did not want to intrude on their privacy or get a some monastery views where we saw many babushkas praying....

 Above - St Nicholas - Russia's patron saint of travel

 Holy water that is supposed to bring long life - we got two bottles worth!!

 More BIG structures in the city from the bus window....

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