Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Monday, July 04, 2011

travel update from Moscow

Well now I am here. Here I am now. Uuhhh, wow wait let me start over. I am in Moscow.
The capital of Russia. I arrived here on the morning of 4 July. Independence Day in USA. To what Ronald Reagan once called the black heart of the dark empire. He of course was stuck in time. I am a A Eulipian...a time traveller. A journey agent...I know everything is in a constant state of change. I know that "This too shall pass" There is no need to annihilate one another if one is patient...
"I hung around St. Petersburg until I saw it was a time for a change" Mick Jagger "Sympathy for the Devil"
I was in St Petersburg for 4 days haunted by that line from an old Rolling Stones song. St P. is a beautiful and vibrant city full of friendly and helpful people. I am walking in history. Staring in open eyed wonder at the Hermitage, the old summer palace of the Czars since the time of Peter the Great until the Bolshevik Revolution. Wow those folks were awfully good at spending other peoples money. The architecture and art and just sheer beauty of the old imperial city are in a word, breathtaking. Truly one of the worlds most magnificent cities.
My first day in St P. however was another one of those travel days in... HELL!! Murphy was watching and guiding me from on high. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. It started out fine, our bus from Helsinki was on time and going through customs was a breeze. A nice girl on the bus offered to walk us right to the front door of the hostel we reserved as she was walking that way herself. So it was easy to find. Then the fun began.
We arrive and it is too early to check in. We must wait until 1pm. The receiving agent at the desk speaks no English or Spanish only Russian. The place looks like a real dump! She will not let us look around. She does not want us to leave our stuff there so we can go out and walk around.Okay, so we pantomime and get directions to the bank machine so I can get some Russian money. Tom stays behind with our stuff. I get the money count it up and go have a walk about.
When I return I am going to sort my cash and notice that somewhere along the way, I lost a 500 ruble note and a pair of 100ruble notes. I can not believe it. I withdrew 7000 (about 250 or 270 dollars) and somehow, lost 700 (about 25 or 30 dollars). I counted it all at the bank machine, so I know the bank did not short me. I lost it. I do not know where or how...I feel like such a fool. I realize that I am not breathing with awareness so I watch my breath and immediately feel better, even if I do not feel richer! It is only money why let it molest me?
Now Christina the owner of the hostel comes and tells us she is over booked and has no room for us. I am breathing with awareness. I smile at her. She says "I can take you to another hostel close by". "Let me call" she says. I am breathing like a Buddha and things are improving. She says she can get us in, and she can walk us over there in a few minutes. I ask if I can use the toilet and she says " It is for guest only, do you really need to go?"...I smile with my out breath. It is better than telling her she is a 3 holed ass!
After I get back from the toilet, I feel better and ask her if she can register us with the police. All tourists who stay in Russia more than 7 days must register with the police. She says yes it will cost 3600rubles. I will think about it I say. She says well...I can do it for 2800. Okay I say let me think about it some more. She goes down to 2100 for us both. The girl who walked us there from the bus had told us it should cost about 300 each.
We get to the new hostel. It is cleaner, brighter , friendlier, and just all in all much better. We get into our dormitory and I need a nap. I have been traveling all night and did not sleep well on the bus. I am asleep when our new administrator wakes me and says I must change rooms because Christina is back and she has more guests whom she over booked and...I am angry. I am not breathing with awareness, I am pissed off. I am tired. i am an important person. I demand respect and to be treated kindly I am an ego machine and I want to scream, I breath in calm and give her a smile on the out breath and move my shit. What else could I do? She is grateful for my understanding. I am glad. I am really tired but I am happy.
Christina wants us to commit to letting her register us. I breathe calmly. I tell her go ahead, I will pay her tomorrow when we go to the ATM. I am clever. I know it costs her nothing to register me and after she has done the work she will accept the normal fee. If not, we can register in Moscow. I smile knowing this, while I breathe out. I am a New Jersey Buddha. Two days later after more of her belly aching we pay her 300 each.
Moscow. Red Square. The Kremlin. St. Basil's cathedral. It is like a dream. I am walking in history. It is 4th of July 2011. I am in front of Lenin's tomb. Standing on the exact spot that 20 minute man ICBMs used to be pointed. Ground ZERO of the nuclear nightmare. Only that was then and this is now. That too has passed. It is peace. We are friends. I am at peace. I watch as the thing I call "me" breathes in calmly and breathes out smilingly and i am loving life, right here right now in Moscow!
Tom asks the desk clerk of our Moscow hostel, The Comrade Hostel, how much it costs to register a guest with the police? She says 900 each. Tom smiles and breathes with calmness.
Peace and love to all of you
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" Mohandas K. Gandhi
"Travel teaches toleration."Benjamin Disraeli
"The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure."Thornton


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