Thursday, June 30, 2005

It sounds like English

This picture is the interior courtyard of the Rossia Hotel.
The hotel is supposed to be the biggest in Europe or something like that. It was kind of a joke, because we saw a picture on the internet of it when we were researching Russia. It occupies a whole city block, so we wondered what the interior rooms must look out on, and figured they were buried in the building with no view. I didn't think the company would put me up here, because they usually use hotels closer to the office, but when I came in there were no rooms available anywhere else - so guess what. That is where I stayed. It wasn't bad, a little old, and the beds were on the small side, but it was ok. The people were nice as well, and the hotel was clean. The inside of the square is like a mini park. You could get your exercise just walking around the block on a single floor - it's a block on each side!

Culture shock.
It is so strange - I don't quite know how to explain it. Russians seem so much like Americans - so it is a little shock each time they speak and it is unintelligible to me. It is more like going to California and trying to understand why they different from Tennesseans than going around the globe. In England, the people were different - culturally. Similar, but noticeably different. In Latin America, or most other places, the people look different, as well as speaking a different language. So it is a little cultural shock several times a day to be walking around and hearing this strange language intruding unexpectedly.

Another thing has happened several times as well - someone will say something in Russian and it will sound perfectly sensible to me - but it isn't. The Russian words have formed a verbal pattern so similar to an English phrase that it sounds sensible. A guy said something to me in a store yesterday - I thought he said "Drinking whiskey?". It caught me completely off guard, as it was a computer store! I just responded "Excuse me?" and instantly realized that he must have asked me a question in Russian, and said nothing in English about whiskey at all. Either that or I'm hallucinating.


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