You’re Putin Me On

So I thought it would be a good idea to swing through Russia over a longish weekend and just see how things are going over here.
And what a freaking fascinating place. First thing I noticed were the yellow cabs were Audi A6s. And also, all the cars, even the clean ones, had a thin film of dusty grime on them. Every single car. Which was curious seeing as how I spent about an hour falling asleep in the back of my ride while sitting in dead- stopped-Lincoln Tunnel-at-4pm-on-a-Friday-traffic. How did such dirt accumulate when everyone was going nowhere fast?
Anyway.
My hotel is grandiose and both in size and simplicity.  I got my key and ran up to my suite immediately. I dropped my bags off and promptly took a nap.
The thing I really needed to do was get cash. I went to the ATM in the hotel and was “denied by my bank.” OH HELL NO. I try again, there must be some misunderstanding.  Still denied. Back up to my room to call Chase and figure this out. After much back and forth, they tell me I should have no problem. I go back down, try again, have problem. But at this point, I am not messing around with the machine any longer as I am burning daylight.
I ran down the block, down and up some steps, and before I knew it, I was in Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral looming in the distance.

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Spectacular! Can’t believe I was there! Best part – there were almost no crowds. That’s one of the highlights of visiting countries almost no one else seems to want to go to – personal space.  I can get used to this.
I spent the evening marveling at my location on the globe, the Kremlin and the square. Fantastic.
Just adjacent to the square is a state-run mall, called the GUM, maybe. I stopped in to check it out. I saw another ATM and decided to try it out. I said a little prayer at the alter of St. Gucci, and wouldn’t you know I had a handful of rubles.

After wandering about for hours just enjoying myself in unseasonably warm temperatures,  I went back to my hotel and passed out.

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