Murmansk to Moscow (original email)

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August 12th 1997
Published: November 22nd 2010
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Hi Everyone!

How's it going? Well, we have just come down from Murmansk, a 35 hour, 2 night train ride to Moscow. It was pretty comfortable though, we bribed our carriage lady with a Canadian flag pin and she took good care of us. We even got breakfast in the first morning. Plus there was this Russian guy in our compartment who didn't speak a lick of English, but we managed to figure out he was a officer in he army or something, anyways, he pulled out this huge bag of food, bread, sausages, tomatoes, cucumbers, boiled eggs, home brew beer. Man, we haven't eaten that much since I don't even know when. Apparently it's traditional on the trains though for Russians to share their food.

We gave him a nectarine. (And some cheese)

So Murmansk was nothing special. Just way north, that's all, near 69 degrees. We were there on a Saturday night, lotsa sailors and their girls walking about. We stayed up playing crib (oh yeah, we started counting in Russian playing crib on the train. I'm not sure if the officer was impressed or going to shoot us at the butchering of the language) trying to stay up until it got dark, but because it was cloudy, it got dark at around 1:30 and bright at 3:00. I think if there were no clouds that the sky would have been white the whole night.

Well, we arrived in Moscow, walked through the train station (with our big packs), walked to the hostel, got a room, walked to the subway, took the subway here (even had to change lines) and not once were we mugged, approached or looked at by any mafia types. The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion by the western media. Of course, they're driving around in cars with big corporate expense accounts, it's no wonder they're targeted. It's no more dangerous here than any other big city, if you walk around counting your money in dark alleys while drunk, you probably are asking for trouble. (Not that we didn't do that in St.Petersburg, although we were just using the alleys for pit stops, and we never walk out of bars with money). So we're not in danger from Mafia thugs.

We'll give an update later this week; we're here for at least five days (till Aug 17) after that we're going to the non-technical expanse of Siberia. So if you want to send a message to us (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, knowwhatimean, knowwhatimean?) if you send it by the end of this week, we'll pick it up before we get to Beijing.


Eric and Gerry (or Gerry and Eric, you know who you are)


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