Novomoskovsk, Russia: Little Industrial Town

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Russians are always the villains in movies. Probably because they are better known for their spies like KGB or maybe it's the intimidating accent. Now that I've met, dined, joked around, chatted with some Russian girls, I honestly wonder where we got our styreotypical mindset. Russians are the friendliest, happiest, easiest people to be around. They are very accommodating and hospitable much like how Filipinos are.
Novo at night.
One thing that really confused me is if Russians are classified as Asians or Europeans. In some websites, the country is under Asia and in some Europe. Although I think Russia is technically Asia,but since their capital and big cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow are closer to Europe, they consider themselves Europeans. Their accent and physical attributes very much are similar to Europeans.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Confusion aside, living in Novo is very much like living in a province in the Philippines. But instead of nipa huts, there are 4-5 story brick/concrete apartments with little square windows properly lined up when you look from outside. They said that, that is the typical Russian apartment. They rarely have stand-alone houses as they came from a communist regime so certain order and uniformity was imposed. Being that Russia is more of an industrialist country, apartments and factories were all that you can see. There is a supermarket, lots of trees and piles and piles of snow. Walking around the town is not advisable since the next sign of life is too far ahead. By the time you get there, you'd be freezing and shivering already from the cold.
Snowy walk home.
 We lived in the P&G housing compound, around 20mins away from the plant by cab and 20minute walk to the nearest market. The supermarket is just 300meters away from the gate of the compound however we walk a little slow because we are afraid of slipping in the ice and falling on our butts in the middle of the road.
Typical russian apartment
Our house is very very homey. I really like the layout and vowed to myself that I will build a house similar to it. We have 7 rooms and each person gets his/her own room with bathroom. There's a kitchen, pantry, laundry area and a living room. The living room can be a bit of a mess since my housemates just leave stuff anywhere like food, Mac laptops, iPad and DSLR. However, we do have a care-taker who cleans up after us everyday so by the time we get back from the office, everything is sparkly clean including our rooms.

FOOD

There are no fastfoods in the area so we buy groceries and cook at home. They say that the typical Russian women know how to cook. In fact, they even grow their own vegetables in their gardens in the summer. Wow! We, on the other hand, had a hard time cooking since, I for one, am not really used to it. Good thing I brought pancit canton and cup noodles. We just buy bread and cooked chicken then that's dinner.
Blini - thin pancakes more like crepe

Russians eat very healthy and light. Well the women eat light. The men on the otherhand eat straight from the stove (almost). They cook food good for 5 Filipinos then eat it all by themselves. haha! Their specialty is BLINI which is like crepe or thin pancakes. They put either jam or cheese or meat. I tasted the one with meat. It reminded me of an episode in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. where Rachel made desert and it had custard and meat in it and Ross kept saying "it taste like feet!" hehe I had the same reaction as Joey where he said, "What's not to like? Custard good. Meat good." :)

There's also BORSCH. It's soup that has some veggies in it mostly onions and radishes The color is slightly red. It tastes good too. I don't complain much when it comes to food. I just eat and eat.

TRANSPORTATION

Around Novo, we usually take a cab for fear that we might get lost in the middle of nowhere. The challenge with taking a cab is explaining to the driver where he should go and asking him how much we should pay. haha! We usually have a pen and paper for him to write down the amount. A cab which usually just costs P90 in the Philippines costs around 300Rubles there, which is P450 when converted. Pretty expensive. But I guess it's a little justified since the cab is warm and walking is really a pain in the snow.

There are shuttle-like buses but people rarely ride those. They call a cab instead. Here, it's very hard to just flag down a cab in the street coz you might already be frozen before an empty cab passes by. So they call before-hand to ask the cab to wait for them in the area.

The cars in Novo are mostly box-type cars. There are rarely new models in the streets. Most people still take the trains or the shuttle buses. The Russians said that only recently have they started buying cars. Most people still prefer to commute. This explains the old 80's retro car style.
Retro-car. Most Russian cars in Novo.
I guess things are a whole lot different in Novo because it is more like a province. It is more like the Philippines than we realize. It's nice to get a feel of real Russian living outside of the city. It is really an eye-opener.

Just a trivia, the driver in one of the shuttles tune in to LOVE RADIO every morning. hehe! They have love radio too. But it plays old school Russian love songs i think. 

4 comments:

Anna

February 9, 2012 at 1:13 PM
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1

said...

hello dear,
i am also going to krasnodar, russia by the end of february,i am just wondering if you could take a photo of what boots you've used. i am having a hard time finding a good pair of boots.

thanks!

karz

May 7, 2012 at 3:37 PM
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1

said...

Hi Anna,
I'm very sorry that I just saw your comment now. I hope you found some winter boots before you left. The boots I wore had almost no heel, were knee-high and had a lining inside for warmth. :)

1

said...

Hi,

I don't know if this blog is still alive, but, just in case..
What is the easiest way to arrive to Novo from Europe? A flight to Moscow, and after rent a car, or there is an airport in Tula?

Many Thanks!

karz

November 22, 2013 at 7:58 PM
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1

said...

Hi Antonio,
Sorry for the very late reply. I hope you found your way to Novo. :)

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