It’s Saturday, and we’ve now been in Kazan almost an entire week. We’ve had time to stroll around the neighborhood, venture downtown a bit, and generally get our bearings. While it’s no surprise that things are different here than, say, Abu Dhabi or the southeastern USA, it’s also different from what we expected in more ways than one. This is, of course, because one of us used to live in Russia, and because the other has been to the country three times before. Here’s a quick list of first impressions.
- Kazan isn’t like Ryazan, Moscow, or St. Petersburg. While those cities have their charm, this one is notably cleaner and the mood different.
- People are friendly. Yeah, okay, this is really an extension of #1. But, considering earlier experiences in Russia, it bears mention.
- The city center is pretty; the outskirts are like most other Russian cities, if possibly a bit less drab.
- Sunny days are beautiful. That said, it seems like there are lots of cloudy ones, and they’re cold and dreary.
- What’s up with letting grass get overgrown? That’s par for the course in Russia, but still. I must say it was remarkable to see someone with a weedeater the other day cutting back the tall stuff nearby.
- All the usual mod-cons are here–wifi, etc. I might add it seems A/C is a bit less common than we’re accustomed to. One super-duper handy smartphone app we’ve been turned on to is called Tap Taxi. It allows us to call a taxi using the app, and it’s even possible to request child seats. Since the interface is in English, it makes the task much easier than calling on the phone.
- Cabs are cheap and public transportation cheaper still. The public transportation is clean and modern, and most of the announcements are made in both Russian and English.
- Russian food is still tasty! Kvas, anyone?
- This seems like it will be a completely decent place to live.
- And last, but not least, considering the international climate of the last year or so, there seems to be no anti-American/Western sentiment from the average Joe (Josef?).
Although we have been impressed by most of the same things, Jenia has a somewhat different perspective. Stay tuned for a post from her. Until then, dosvedanya.