Thursday, June 03, 2004

Back In Moscow

We arrived by train at about 6:30 p.m., checked in at Hotel Gamma (yes, named after letters in the Greek alphabet, and we passed Alpha and Beta on our way), and just returned from dinner and a walk.

Trust me, the walk wasn't my idea. I hate taking walks in the United States for "fun," and I definitely wasn't thrilled about the idea in a country where you walk probably an average of a mile every time you want to go somewhere -- even if it's just from flat to bus to final destination. Nothing is right at a bus stop; everything is at least a small hike. I am thankful to be feeling well enough to walk more than a few yards from a bathroom, however.

I'm writing from an Internet cafe in the lobby of our hotel, which looks like a high-class joint ... until you actually get to the room. We're on the 27th floor, only one floor from the top. The room has narrow and short twin beds and just mattresses with no box springs. The bathroom smells wreaks of raw sewage. We can't decide whether to keep the door open and hope it airs out or keep it closed to spare us suffocation in our sleep.

Jeff and I are in one room and Tom and Masha in another one on the other side of the hotel but the same floor. Masha warned us that the look of the lobby could be deceiving, and boy was she right. But Jeff really had her going at dinner. He asked her if she and Tom had tried the jacuzzi in their room yet ... or watched the big-screen TV mounted on the wall. Then I told her about our huge canopy beds. It wasn't until Jeff mentioned the kitchen that she realized we were lying through our teeth (always a good way to end a missionary journey, huh). She said she's always told her friends she is naive enough to believe any lie. We may just have some fun with that newsflash tomorrow.

We also had a chance to tease Masha a couple of nights ago for her English pronunciation of the word "bitter." It sounded like she was saying "beat her" ... and the context of the conversation was one of the Christians here whose husband was a drunkard, so that wasn't out of the realm of possibilities. We kept telling her how to pronounce it, using the word "bit" as a guide. She pronounced "bit" just fine, but when she added the "ter," the pronunciation just fell apart. Very funny stuff ... but probably one of those had-to-be-there moments.

Another pronunciation note: I love hearing Masha translate prayers because of the way she says "Our heavenly Father."


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