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Russia, August 25, 1997

Hydrofoil Commuting

Russians sure know how to speed on water!

The need for speed was amazing
And the race was on!
I love the river ports in every Russian riverside city!

Richnoi Vokzal in Moscow

Today I wanted to be in Riga, chilling with my friends there. Dima, my host brother talked me out of going because he said he had a surprise day planned for me. I am so glad I did not go because it was quite a fun day. One of the interesting parts of the day was the hydrofoil ride we took with his father, Vladimir.

The three of us got on a hydrofoil here in Moscow, and went way up the Moscow river into the dacha country. I was so amazed that there were hydrofoils in the middle of Moscow that I didn't notice the passengers at first. After I started looking around I was a bit shocked. I expected the boat to have sightseers like ourselves, but instead it was families and babushkas going to their dachas. It seems the hydrofoil, like the electrichki, and the bus, is another form of mass transit here, not an a end in itself.

The trip was quite pleasant though. We started from this beautiful old dock house and traveled down a very picturesque canal. It was wide and each bank had fishermen, sunbathers, and hikers waving back at us. On occasion, foolish kids were floating in the river on inner-tubes, just waiting to be hit by a speeding hydrofoil. Once we were in the river, the scenery really opened up. Sailboats, flocks of gulls, and barges competed with the forests, meadows, and sunbathers for my attention. The return leg went down the same path, so I dozed a bit on the sunny back deck of the boat.

I enjoyed the trip, and next summer I would like to do it again, stopping this time to have a picnic in one of the meadows and a dip in the river. I might even do like the Russians, and spend the weekend living on the banks of the river.

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