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Travels in Russia

Russian Remonts
Stop Theif!
Almost Worth Staying For
Offshore Your Rubles in Swiss Accounts
Russian Women
You Can Buy Anything in a Russian Kiosk!
What Did Russians Eat Before Potaotes?
Nothing Like a Birch Branch Beating!
Anything Can Be Scrap Metal
Serious Soviet Pollution
Day-Tripping Around the Garden Ring
The Russian Poezd
Yeltsin's Family
Soviet Photography
Happy Times in HTML Hell
Road Runners Rule!
Piva is Good!
A Subaka Says What?
Soviet Swimming
Manly Russian Men
And Peter is a Distant Second
Invest in Russia?!
The Zen of the Line
But He Went by the Name of Lenin
That Looks Just Like My Dom
Russian Adoptions by the Dozen
Internet Cafes Are Everywhere
Going to See Mama Russia
Going to the Movies
Russian Visas
Eta Notebook Batteria, Durak!
Fidelity is Not a Brokerage
Soviet Suburban Living
Cash Transfers Across Russia
Time to go...
Do Your Spring Cleaning Now!
Reclama Nation
Russians Do Tours
Going Local
Pecktopan = Restaurants
Yevgeniy Primakov, Who?
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
A State Secrect: Women's Ages
Russians Blew up the US Embassy!
It's Dacha Time Again
I Love Me a Starlite Diner
Anything Goes at Night
Yesho Piedesat Gram Vodkoo
Shock Thearpy
IMF & Reform
Zoos Should Be for Politicans
There Was Giligan, And the Skipper Too
The Regions Exist?
Do You Believe the Media?
What is Russian Feminism?
Russian Music Rocks
Bye Bye Fast Food
Yest Klooch?
Addicts Are Addictive
Racism in Russia Too
An Education in Russian Politics
Orphans Are Lonely
Making Bliny
Nasty Newspapers
#51 If you get the jokes
Sick as a Dog
Those Crazy Russians
An Open Road Ahead
Iron Felix
You Can Buy (Almost) Anything in a Market
Education Makes Elections Happen
Ice Cream in Winter
Superstitions Are Sneaky
The Adventures of Flat Jon
Ice Fishing in Sibera
Death is Painful in Any Culture, Anywhere.
Lenin is Alive
Every Thing is Leaking
New Russians
Go Dollar!
Corruption is Endemic
The Joe-Cool Moscow Crew
Taxes Will Find You
I'm Driven Mad
Holidays Last and Last
It's All About Location
Taxies Take You Everywhere
Russian Religion Re-emerges


Russia, May 20, 1999

Taking the tramvai

Trains in the city? In Russia, YES!

I've never really figured out why Russia has such a fascination with the tramvai, electric trains that run on steel tracks imbedded in the street. First off, the ride is rough, with each bump in the tracks magnified by the big steel wheels, and felt right trough the hard plastic seats. Next, I swear they hold fewer people than a trolleybus, and are definitely louder!

Stepping out in Ulyanovsk

Also, unlike a trolleybus, they require steel tracks in the road. Not only do the tracks fix the route the tramvai takes, they are in constant need of maintenance and are always under construction. I've never ridden a tramvai route that didn't have a section torn up for repair, or a section that should have been!

All day, all night, rattling alongI guess they do have a historical place in the minds of Russians, being the first forms of public transport in Russia and featuring in so many writings. Remember one of the final scenes in Dr Zhavago, where the good Doctor sees Laura from the tramvai and screams out her name? Not the same scene if he'd been on the Metro.

Too hot in summer, too cold in winter!

With so many smog producing buses and cars, I should be happy that Russia invests in such an ecologically sound form of transit. Too many times I've been running up a hill and almost been killed by a blast of bus exhaust.

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