7/16 Tuesday Moscow
VDNKh was one of the first places we visited. We saw a famous gold fountain depicting each of the Soviet republics. Had a long discussion about whether they are truly free to secede from the Soviet Union, not likely any time soon. I’m beginning to understand what is meant by red tape; we have to wait for everything. Too bad the Russians didn’t learn from the Germans, who imported granite for a statue commemorating the victory at Moscow, before they had won. The line for food is ridiculous.
I’m really interested in finding out how the Russian people live. Today I talked to Alla, our Russian guide about schools. I’m having fun trying to communicate. Sometimes I am shocked at how rude some of the Americans are to the Russians. I’ve really begun to appreciate the classes we had before leaving, except that they made me so afraid to eat the food here. I remember what a hassle it was to fill out the Soviet visa. We had to make three copies with no mistakes or start over. They gave Susie such a hard time because she still has relatives here. The whole thing made Edie very nervous. Mr. Cordell caught a man trying to walk off with his suitcase and all of our passports. This is making him very anxious to leave Moscow.
The big movie in Moscow now is MacKenna’s Gold with Gregory Peck, Julie Newmar and Omar Sharif. http://www.julienewmar.com/movietvhistory.html What a loser! I don’t think I ever saw it. They made such a big deal about it though to show proof of the lack of censorship, that they get to show Western Movies. Cowboys and Indians is that really what they think of the United States.
Many of the Russians are afraid of Americans, many will not smile but some smile and try to be friendly, especially the black marketers.
I had an interesting experience with a black marketer who I call Charlie. When I came to my room from lunch Charlie, dressed in American clothes, asked me in perfect English if I was from Missouri too. Since I had met another Missouri group in the lobby I said yes. Charlie followed me into the room and locked the door, which I quickly unlocked. Then he sat on David’s bed and started offering us Commie flags and belts, all cheap junk. He wanted to trade for clothes, especially pajamas. Then he wanted gum, but more than anything he wanted records. I told him that Barry had some records and to ask him. After David had given Charlie the fictitious Barry’s room we all ran down stairs. What an experience!
The opera tonight was fun but I wouldn’t go back too soon. Boris Gudanov at the Kremlin. It was fun making up my own endings. Some of the food they had there was delicious. Champagne, caviar and other things. I still hope we get to go to the circus. There are many things I want to do on this trip that I would not do at home, just for the experience.