Totally confused by the overnight bus, I stupidly made my first mistake in booking-land. Shit happens, but if there is one rule you always have to keep in mind it’s this: Never Ever Give Up.
Even if computer says ‘No’.
Instead of paying 65 Euro for a new bus, I ended up paying only 27, sincere excuses of the management included.
I’ve worked in the service sector, bitch.
The bus ride promised to be a lot different than the one from Berlin to Kaunas. Only Russians with serious faces were seated as close as possible around me, no partners in misfortune in sight. Every time I was seeking for contact I was ignored. It went this far that when we changed buses in Kezèkne everyone looked at me laughing when my bag with food ripped open on the parking lot. No one even pretended to do an effort to help me. I was the only tourist on the bus, so they probably needed a scapegoat to make their ride more liveable. Glad I could help.
I sincerely hoped this was only a snapshot of the Russian culture, because I have two weeks of train scheduled with thirty of them in one dorm.
Nevertheless, the motivation was still high.
It was only when I offered some Wasabi nuts – in my very last attempt to connect – to one of my neighbours, I could hear my own voice again and a conversation began to enrol.
When I woke up after the most uncomfortable bus ride ever and opened my little curtain, I’ve had never seen this bad weather in my life. I remembered the unkind people I have met the past 17 hours and began to doubt in what I got myself into…
In Moscow it was quite clear I was new in town. The Wasabi-man directed me to the Metro, but when he saw I looked really lost trying to decode the Russian language, he brought me all the way to Dobryninskaya. I would love to see a Belgian do that; after a long busride and a lot of luggage, craving after a shower and a real bed.
There was I, lying in an apartment on a bed I haven’t connected with yet, hearing voices of strangers talking with a weird tongue.
I am on a couch in a living room where I have never been before, as if I was born here. The hospitality of these people made me feel at home instantly.
The people in Moscow are beyond friendly. I invite you to forget everything you thought you knew about Russians and come and have a look for yourself. You might have the feeling they are never laughing; looking deprived or mad, but that is just their way of expression. Because you simply do not understand what they are saying, their body language brings you on the wrong path.
Even though the mother of my host wanted me out to gain back her personal space, she cooked me food and made me a pick nick for on the road.
Even though I was invading her whole living room, she was the most helpful and understanding person in the world.
After sitting on the bench in the hallway, as Russian tradition states to have safe travels, I left with a clear heart, ready for some more cities in this gigantic country.
Following the signs I decided to move on and say goodbye to a city where the toilets talk and no one ever crosses the road.