Saturday, August 17, 1991
We woke up early and had breakfast. It consisted of cheese, bread, and this disgusting cottage cheese/cheesecake/pudding thing. It tasted like garbage, but I had to eat some of it because I was starving. After breakfast, we went back to Red Square to see it during the morning and when it wasn’t cloudy. The day was warmer than yesterday, but the weather here is schizo. It changes a lot. Oh..I forgot to write that we took the metro to Red Square and it costs us 15 kopek which is like less than a penny. We then went to the Intourist hotel and had coke and chips. Intourist has a monopoly on all the country’s tourism and the hotel costs about $100 USD a night. After that we went to the post office to call home and send postcards. The postcards were easy, but the phone call was difficult because I could not understand the operator. So we went back to the Intourist hotel and I called with my Visa card.
After that, we walked down Gorky street and entered a store. I’ll start with this fact: one has to make three different lines just to buy one thing. One line for a sales rep to help you. The other to actually pay for the item, and the last one to pick up your purchased goods. Ana, Ralph, and Vivian bought like 1,000 wooden dolls. I bought one. These are the nesting dolls that stack into each other. We also bought some really cool pins. It was all very cheap. After we walked to McDonalds. The line went around the park. It was incredible. It seemed like the thing to do so we stood in line with the rest of the folks. Vivian had tried to rig getting ahead of everyone, but that doesn’t work in the U.S.S.R. We met a nice employee who spoke English and she tried to get us in, just to see it, but she couldn’t help us so we left and saw some man playing around with a monkey for money.
Soon after that, Ana discovered her USD was missing. We (frantically) went back to hotel and money was tucked safely in her wallet. She sighed relief and we all went to the dining cabin for lunch. Lunch was good today. We had tomato soup and pork with potatoes. Then, I went to the check-in center to see what was for dinner (the food was exciting me) and ran into Leo, mom, and aunt. They had just arrived after their flight being delayed for hours. They were glad to be in MOW. I met her mom and aunt for the first time and they were nice/cool people. After they unpacked and got ready, we all went back to the Kremlin and Red Square.
We walked around and went to the Intourist hotel to book some tours of the Armoury Chamber, Kremlin grounds, and the city sights. After, we walked to the GUM. It’s a State Department mall. It had Benetton. We were about to buy the whole store when we realized the prices were in New Rubles which made it a lot more expensive than we thought. We soon left. We met some Soviet computer students who tried to sell us watches, military hats, and sweatshirts. They spoke English well and we talked for a while. After GUM, we all went to TrenMos. It is a restaurant that was suggested by a flight attendant and that they gave Pan Amers discounts. It was about $5 USD per person to eat a good meal. We were supposed to go to some Peking restaurant, but the people were not very nice so we took a cab to TrenMos.
TrenMos is a restaurant owned by Jeffrey Ziegler who was originally from Trenton, New Jersey. He opened this American restaurant in MOW, thus the name TrenMos. We ran into the same flight attendants who were on Leo’s flight and we talked for a while. The food, service, and atmosphere were awesome. The bill which included meals and champagne was only $16.00 USD for five people. It was incredible. I had pasta. We toasted to things Russian and to the whole trip. We even bought bottles of Champagne. A flight attendant also suggested this place called Savinsky’s Bazaar. It served great Russian food with a traditional Russian show. We took a cab back to hotel and talked to Leo’s aunt and mom. It was funny because we spoke loud and we woke up this vieja who was on the flight with Leo and all she did was complain about the food, hotel, and us talking loudly. It was only about 23:00 and she was having a coronary. So, we talked louder, she was so annoying!!! We soon stopped, went back to our rooms, fell asleep, and had good dreams.