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The Semi-Regular Newsletter

Travels in Russia

KLM Rocks Across Europe!
Santa Claus in Moscow
Television Is a Time Suck
The Reality of Irrelevance
Salute Mayor Luzhkov
Impeachment Happens
I Am Not The Only One...
Chechnya Burning
Weddings in Winter
The Jews Are Here!
Gailyn Goes to Town
Is There a Central Bank?
Santa Barbara is Real
Nick's Thanksgiving in Russia
Den' Rozhdeniya = Birthdays
Those Crazy Expats
It's Just a Few Drops of Vodka...
Elections Are Always Rigged
The Blind Leading the Blind
Good Russian Grooms
You Say 'Boris Berezovskiy' Fast
Too Cold to Care!
Russian Oil Towns
Sneaky Siberian Tigers
Which Way is St Peterburg?
Where am I again? Oh, yeah...
I Love Me Some Vodka
It's a Gosorg Halloween
Hunger Comes to Us All
Why Don't They Just Learn English?!
Post-Crisis, Life Goes On
Is Yeltsin 'The Man'?
Murmansk - Brrrr!
Taganka Hides Her Secrects
These are Communists
It's a Power Vaccum
The Commies are Back
Propaganda is Good for You
You Better Buy Russian!
Sex Ed Soviet Style
Party over, oops outta time!
Russian Healthcare in Moscow
What Russian Financial Crisis?
YE Prices in Russia
The Hungry Duck
Russian Caviar Mafia
Magical Mushrooms
Shhhh! We're Bear Hunting
Soviet Street Scams
Bez Dollarov
A Koshka Konspiracy
On The Dacha
The Banking Implosion
Surviving Army Life
Shashleek is Steak on Steroids
Dacha Thinking
Beach Weekend
Dos Vedanya
Hello from Vladivostok
Equality Means Only She Works
Jogging is an Extreme Sport
Russians Have Reunions Too
My Folks in Massive Moscow
Better than Fireworks
Miners Are Real Men
The Russian Mafia is the Roof
No One Smiles in the CIS
One Year Anniversary
Russian Brides Rock
Laura is My St Pete Connection
Change is in the Wind
Chuck Norris' Beverly Hills Casino
The Expat Woman's Predicament
Street Food is Yummy!
Spring Flowers Make June Leavers
The Provinces Are Provincial
Ever Take an Elektrichka?
The English Invasion
Nuttin Like New Money
Rules Are Made to Break
All Black is Russian Fashion
Easter Memories = Easter Dinner
Politics, Russian Style
Theresa Tries to Russify
I Go to Gay Clubs Worldwide
I Hide on Women's Day
New & Shiny: Nizhny Novgorod
Psst! Wanna job in Moscow?
Fili Park Has All the Bootlegs
Web Page Reactions
Take a Break at Dom Odaha
Expat Living in Moscow is Swank
Why Are You Remonting?
They Look Like Telephones...
In Need of a Decent Hairstylist
Smashing Bottles in Red Square


Russia, December 14, 1998

I'm Back! Did Ya Miss Me?

Re-entry into the USA after a few years outside is one hell of an experience.

USA!After an absence of one and a half years, what can I say?

I love America!

I flew into Miami, and in half an hour I was in heaven waltzing down Collins Avenue on Miami Beach with the sun tanning my white skin. Now I sit in my hotel room, recovering from an afternoon of sun, an evening of frozen daiquiris, a night of dancing and a morning of bright sunlight. Looking around, I see that America has changed a bit in my absence.

Yesterday, the same tan gods and goddesses were worshipping the sun god on the beach, as they always have. Constantly turning to expose a new angle to the mighty Ra, I was in awe at how much I have changed from my former beach bum self. Gone were my powerful swimming muscles, sun-bleached hair, and bronze skin, replaced by my little Buddha belly (more a twelve-pack size than a six-pack), my thick frost-fighting beard, and my butt-white cold-tolerant skin.

In the evening, I went out to dinner with my good friend, Misty. When we used to hang out, I was too young to drink, and never really had the desire too when the opportunity presented itself. Now, I can drink six shots of vodka before I get wobbly, and Misty noted the difference as I drank my way past her.

Oh, and all these cocktails confused me. I'm used to a vodka shot with a pickle chaser, not a 'Fuzzy Navel' a ''Buttery Nipple' or other such concoctions. Who dreams up this stuff and how can people drink it?

Misty and I did step out on the town, grooving right past the bouncers to check out Madonna's new club, 'Liquid'. The Queen of Pop has a respectable entry in the Miami Beach scene, but nothing I haven't lost a bit of hearing too before. The bar was very red, with good chill music, and the dance floor has the usual three-room partition (house, R&B, and chill rooms). The dancers were good (but clothed) and the music was great (but a bit too loud).

Surprisingly enough, I didn't get jet lag, and I awoke the next morning to bright sunlight and the need to forage for breakfast. At Dan's Cafe, a Miami landmark, I ate my breakfast in awe. Miami has always been slanted towards Latin America, even before the waves of Cubans descended on the city post-Castro, but now their influence is amazing!

Spanish was the minority language in Miami, but I do say that it is now equal to, if not a bit more common than English is. I knew I would be an oddball for knowing a bit of Russian, but I was shocked at how hopeless I felt when Spanish was spoken more than my native tongue! Now I know how New Yorkers felt when the waves of Italian immigrants swarmed into their city at the turn of the last Century. I'm confident though, that in one or two generations, the power of McDonalds's and MTV will mix these newbies into our melting pot as seamlessly as all the Cirpiani's, Vargarisi's, and Vota's have.

The 80+ channels on the hotel TV will sure help with the mixing, if they can get the content right. I was a little daunted by all those choices after my 15 channel Moscow situation, until I clicked through the channels and found that quantify does not equal quality. There still isn't anything on the idiot box worth my remaining brain cells, though South Park and Celebrity Deathmatch were pretty good.

Ok, more as I continue to explore...

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1 Comment


I've been reading your comments on travel since I became infatuated with Russia a few years ago. I'm very glad that you continue with your posts. You appear (I have to say it this way as I haven't met you) to be an American who has been able to escape the preconceptions of his country and observe your surroundings with a fresh eye (or maybe the vodka helps?). I will come back at some time to read most of your site (I'm somewhat of a compulsive reader) and I'll get a lot of pleasure from it I know. Please keep on with your writing - you provide a window onto a part of the world that I would not otherwise have any idea of.

Best regards,
Marc Erickson

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