Survivors of despots like Ivan the Terrible, and Joseph Stalin?
I really doubt it. Russian history seems just full of bad things, though some, like the older set, may view the Soviet times as glory for country and people. This morning (Saturday), I was at the Russian Museum, said to be the finest collection of Russian art in the world. Perhaps that is so, because nobody else wants this stuff in their museums.
It is totally dark and depressing. They even tried to copy Dali a little and made him ten times worse than he already is/was. A Chagall here and there, and some Kandinsky was about all I could say was somewhat uplifting.
So, let’s move on to something more fun. How about the bar and café’ scene? Much better except for the fact that most Russkies smoke like a chimney or Midwest factory in the 1950s. Eating a sandwich in a cloud of smoke is not my idea of fun. However, in mosquito season, perhaps the smoke keeps the bugs away? I do not want to find out, thank you!
What keeps these people going? I want to find out. There has to be more than meets the tourist eye. The young people seem to live and act with more energy.
Mostly, I think they know how to endure. Some of the art in the Museum depicts the Soviet times, when they stood in long lines for basic foods. It is a far cry from that now. They have learned capitalism quite quickly!
But for most people working in shops and restaurants, they just do not seem very happy. The staff at the hotels seem a little more upbeat. This is perhaps due to working in better conditions, and that jobs may be more satisfying. In fact, only the guides have mentioned job satisfaction at all. Speaking English might be the key.
Two full days left here, but I am ready to come home. The thrill of taking the Trans Siberian Railway has subsided. The fast pace and glamour of Moscow has faded. St. Petersburg is old, trying to become new. It will take time.
The number of people who smoke is totally ridiculous! This country will have a huge emphysema epidemic soon. I need to invest in a drug company that has a treatment for it. The mortality and morbidity rates are staggering.
As far as optimism, they have a rather unique outlook here, somewhat fatalist. They know change is needed, but have doubts as to its success or conclusion. Yet, they accept things for what they are. They live their lives, doing the best they can. It is better than survival, but not really thriving. Perhaps it is their treadmill of life.