Friday, July 11, 2008

Das Vidanya, Russia

Doug and I followed the river upstream until we stumbled across the Sochi version of the Maui Swap Meet this morning. There were all the standard piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and nuts, poultry and red meat, herbs and spices. We saw some unusual items as well.

Surprisingly, the mounds of dried fish did not stink, but I was repulsed by the truck full of fresh horse meat. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't noticed the horse heads mixed in.

There is definitely an aura of the Wild West in Russia; and a lack of "political correctness." The city does have wheelchair ramps everywhere, but they aren't exactly navigable. I certainly wouldn't be able to survive a trip down one of these things, and would have no idea of how to get up the other side.

Unlike Turkey where there was a mosque on practically every corner, we saw only two churches in Sochi. This Russian Orthodox church near where the ship was docked was St. Michael the Archangel. I was fascinated watching the behavior of the devout. As soon as they saw the church from the street, they would begin genuflecting and crossing themselves. They would continue their actions of penitence until they disappeared out of sight into the church.

Most people, however, paid no special attention to it; simply using the grounds as a nice picnic spot.

As I write this a little after 9 p.m., we are sailing into the setting sun. Good-bye, Russia.

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