Big, big day for Steve and me this past Saturday. For the first time in 8 months of living in Moscow, we actually drove ourselves to a grocery store. Hallelujah!
I know this sounds strange. But...when you live in a large European city, can’t read the road signs, traffic signals and rules are different (well, actually non-existent), and everyone on the road is “driving like a maniac!” (as my mother would often say)... then, we’ve leaned to the more rationale side - safety first, of course. Many ex-pats have drivers for this very reason. Steve and I opted to buy a car - which Steve drives to and from work...a relatively easy drive that doesn’t take him through the driving abyss through town. This girl is on foot 100% of the time - thank goodness for the amazing metro! But this calls for limited grocery buying as I can only buy what I can haul....hence the happiness brought on with the drive on Saturday. I took Steve to the store that has some US brands - we stocked up on Nabisco, Duncan Hines, Old El Paso and Kraft products ... heaven!
A few people have asked about the process of obtaining a drivers license....quite easy, really. No driving or written test needed for ex-pats - come one, come all! Our US licenses were translated into Russian - and we were free to hit the streets!
I witnessed a driver turning right onto a road full of drivers waiting at a traffic light. Rather than drive down to the end of the waiting drivers, make a U-turn and get in the back of the line, the driver U-turned immediately under the light in the very front of the waiting line of cars. Now that’s efficiency!
This doesn’t mean people don’t get pulled over for traffic offenses. This is actually another reason we are careful when we drive. The scenario: traffic accident....you don’t speak Russian....the police officer and other driver do....you’re asked to sign off on a police report, written in Russian, of course...any guess who is at fault? Not typically a winner for the non-Russian.
Garmin is also in Russian...the hunting and pecking through the Cyrillic alphabet is a bonus round for the adventure!