I'll never know or experience life during Soviet times, but during some of my visits to Russia I feel like I'm transported back to that era, or even another century. The road trip is coming to an end, with the final stop today in Yaroslavl. Along the way, I explored many small towns and spent an entire day and night in a village, talking to the locals in their homes, eating freshly prepared meals, and sleeping alone in an old house in the forest! But that will be the topic of another post. Yesterday in Soligalich, I entered a small meat shop and discovered this woman. I don't know for certain, but this blue uniform looks very Soviet, especially the hat. However, the most interesting thing in the provincial shops was...can you guess from the photo? :)
The object below! I became so confused when the shop owner started moving the balls, and thought she was offering to play some type of game. Then, my Russian travel companion informed me this is the shop's "calculator" or cash register, to add up the total cost of your purchase. How does it work? I still don't understand, but I was always bad at math. :)
The woman in the cheese shop next store was wearing this same blue outfit, but she is progressive! She had a normal adding machine, and even modern day scales to weigh the cheese.
I think it's always good to preserve your culture, including some old customs. But, yes, I was shocked to enter many small shops in Russian provinces and see no cash register, but this wooden contraption to calculate sales. Not just one or two shops, but a lot. Is it normal for a "modern" country? I think not. But maybe older people are so tied to tradition that they don't even want to purchase a basic calculator, which I assume is inexpensive in Russia. Progress in thought, technology, infrastructure...all signs of a healthy nation and culture in my view.
So many other things to write about, but I have no time on the road. :( On this trip, I've met a lot of friendly Russians, and experienced no hostility based on the fact that I'm American. I'm very happy about both of these things! More to come soon...