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Moscow: the other world

As much as we recognized London by its red buses and phone booths, or Egypt by its huge pyramids, when we hear the word ‘Moscow’ we think about vodka, matryoshkas and snow. But beyond those abstract and general concepts there is an interesting culture, often complicated but magical, that can get a traveler who visits the country for first time completely puzzled.

Life in Moscow is difficult. It may seem too tough for the starters, but this is the naked truth. Life is Moscow is very difficult. You only have to spend a few moments at any Moscow’s metro station and see the avalanche of people to realize how hard it is; but if you really want to watch the show, stay sat the corners, never in the center of the station. Soon, beautiful colours will appear in front of your eyes, moving itself very fast if it had its own life. Different people, young, old, strange ones, will run in different directions across these wonderful undergrounds museums of tunnels. And, yet another truth, all of them are blonde with blue eyes, and with an extremely serious glance in their sad faces. Because in Moscow, the metro only knows silence. Nobody talks, nobody breaths. Only the sounds of the old wheels are heard. People are tired.

Life in big cities is hard, but in the heart of Russia it is ever harder; just imagine waking  up extremely early to go to work. If you are lucky, you won’t get a traffic jam, but there is also a bitter chance to spend hours on your way to work. The same happens while coming back home, after working all the day outside. And once at home, you have to prepare everything for the next day. And thus, day after day, without counting the extreme weather conditions that Muscovites have to bear.

But Russian people can survive anything. Because after having a hard day, a usual person from a usual country can relax themselves in a usual cafe and forget that bad day. But Moscow is special, and Russian people have to face courageously another two things. No time for free time. And prices on everything and anything, even on an evening in a coffee, are extremely high. Because Moscow hasn’t have enough with its own problems yet, and of course, it has to be the most expensive city in the entire world. If you thought that Japan is a country of contrasts, you should visit Russia, Moscow. It’s marvelous.

But not everything is so grey. Food is just wonderful. Although the famous Russian salad is not Russian salad in the Soviet country’ it is called Olivié and it is thought that it was brought by a French cooker, Russian cuisine mixes usual ingredients and creates very attractive plates that turn into a wonderful explosion of pleasure on into your mouth. Beyond pickles and marinated herrings, the traveler who visits Moscow is obligated to try the known pelmeni, strogonoff or the delicious borsch. Non-alcoholic drinks are not that famous abroad but it will be a proper sin not to try the delicious mors, compot or the delicious kvass. Wild fruit are a must on the menu.

Another delicious thing that is not really edible, but nonetheless is very nice are Russian children, that unlike adults, will make the day of anyone more than once. Although at first sight Russian people can look distrustful or cold, when you get to know them, they turn out completely kind and hospitable. Time is the clue. But be careful to go pubs to drink with Russian people; it is impossible to compete with them!

And, for sure, culture shock is served. To start with, when you enter a Russian house, remove your shoes before going into any other room that is not the corridor. Like in Japanese or Arabic culture, Russian people also have this curious habit, not only in winter, where snow is all around, but during all the year. Do not whistle at a house! Or you this household won’t see any money in a while. And always remember to bring presents to each member of the family. They will be very grateful with this gesture, traditions that they always put in practice with friends and family.

Books can be written about this fascinating culture. Sometimes you don’t have to travel to know about a place, but truly, visiting Moscow is an unforgettable experience. Any car can turn into a public taxi, and there are no laws on the road; beautiful places of your daydream like the great Saint Basil’s Cathedral, in Red Square, or a walking over the Muscovite river trying a traditional Russian salty corn is priceless. Guaranteed.

Filed under Russia Moscow Travel country matrioshka vodka Muscovite Saint Basil's Cathedral

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Language: the main tool of the traveler

The origin of the different languages that are spoken in the world still being a great mystery for linguists. Beyond the symbolism of the Babel Tower we find that, despite the more than 6,000 registered languages throughout the globe, it exists a thinking mind, an innate universal language common to all speech that may have originated in the earliest development of our human mind, when all signals of communication were based only on sounds and gestures.

There are languages that range from the roughest grunt until the most complexes declensions, and this may be precisely the main problem of the person who travels to a country without knowing the use of this valuable tool.

One of the negatives that arise from learns a language that is not the native one is the difficulty that lies in their endeavor. A rich language in vocabulary and complex in its grammatical form produces a much more developed than a simple language with easily structure. Languages condition our perceptions of the world and life as well as our society or our way of living, hence there are languages that are very difficult to understand and learn.

But nowadays there are no excuses to learn the language we want. With the possibilities that Internet supplies to us it is not difficult to find multilingual web content that facilitate the learning of a language. Moreover, each time there are more and more websites whose purpose is to facilitate interpersonal communication through international social networking where it can be shared hobbies, culture and folk with just one click.

For those ones who are not so keen on virtual reality can always count with an autodidactic learning. This method can be developed through intensive sessions based on the display of foreign films of the language we want to learn, subtitles included. The ongoing use of a book for beginners related with the selected language is also a first step to dive into a new language.

The desire to know a new culture over reading travel guides and even the fact to cook nonnative recipes put into practice in our own kitchen help to increase the interest on a language of a specific country that is not ours.

And even if so, the person is only interested in knowing a particular place without delving into the language of the area, with the means available to them, may get one of most usual visual dictionaries, manuals of many pictures with which the traveler will be easily understood with natives to the simple fact of pointing the draws by which wants to express their messages.

As we have seen, tools are everywhere and with the peak of Internet everything is possible. The only that we need to learn a language is patience, perseverance and desires, and learning some new aspects every day we will see good results soon. It consist of open a new window to the world we have around us to let seep through the fragrance of a new way of living across a different culture. As Ludwig Wittgenstein so aptly said: ‘The limits of my language are the limits of my mind’

Filed under Languages Travelling Natives Mother tongue Country Grammar Social Networking International Communication