Well, it's actually Sunday at 1 a.m. here. Stupid jet lag. Somehow Jeremy is not as affected by it as I am, and I'm not taking any naps! Natasha has been asleep for over four hours, and Jeremy for one, yet here I am, surfing the Internet and trying to tire myself out.
It was an eventful day. Our social sponsors here at the Embassy took me to Auchan, a local "hypermarket" (yes, it's just what it sounds like: a grocery store on steroids). We spent about an hour and a half there, and that last 30 minutes was spent waiting in the checkout line. I picked some household effects like a mop and bucket, and a couple of glass mugs for tea, since the ones in our welcome kit are too small for my thirst these days. Then it was onto the grocery section, which was completely overwhelming. In Armenia, there were rarely very many options for any one particular product, so, if you wanted rice, you maybe had two choices. At Auchan, there were like 13 different types of rice. My Russian is good enough to understand what I read, but not good enough to read fast, so it takes forever to analyze the choices. I was relieved to get to the produce section, where I could just recognize things.
For the most part, the prices were not too outrageous (unless you count the $20/kilo cherries - totally insane). I've found so far that the cheaper things are on par with regular prices in the U.S. Thing is, I used to buy mostly on sale - and I have yet to find similar prices on most items here. My frugal soul insists I must be able to stick to the same budget we had in the U.S., but I know I need to either give up that dream or stew in frustration for two years. Point: Washington.
Then this afternoon, Jeremy, Natasha and I headed out to Gorky Park. We took the Metro which wasn't too daunting. A woman gave up her seat for me immediately - not sure whether it was because we had Natasha with us, or because she could tell I was pregnant. Whatever the reason, it was nice to see polite behavior on public transportation. Point: Moscow.
Gorky Park was very different from my memories of 20 years ago. It is now a respectable amusement park, complete with a bouncy house, log flume, and a couple of surely vomit-inducing roller coasters. Jeremy lamented that Natasha won't be old enough to ride on the bumper boats before we leave (you have to be three years old), but I'm sure he'll find some guys around the Embassy who will be happy to join him in that endeavor.
We took a bunch of photos and will post them soon. I'm off to try to go to sleep. Stupid jet lag.