The great thing about Russia is that the Rouble is almost equivalent to the Indian Rupee. INR 1.1 is equivalent to 1 Rouble. Russia is like enjoying a holiday in Europe at the price of India. I was lucky to find a driver by the name of Muzaffar who spoke good English to drop me to my hotel straight from the airport. I checked in to my hotel which I had booked through Expedia and realised that the breakfast was not included in the total tariff. I had to pay for it separately which was a bummer. Moscow has wide roads and Kia cars. It was cold but my jacket gave me adequate protection from the morning breeze. I struck a deal with Muzaffar – he will take me all around the city and I would pay him Rouble 10,000 for his efforts. Along with that, he will be my camera assistant and guide at the same time. The hotel was comfortable and I had a good sleep as I was suffering from jet lag.

Next morning was my date with Muzaffar as we drove around the city. First stop was Red Square and Kremlin. I took a dip in my camera bag and got my GoPro camera out. I started shooting the vastness and expanse of the Red Square and got busy capturing the scenic beauty of the city. Then it was time for lunch which was steak falafel with roast potatoes. I treated Muzaffar and he was happy to be obliged. Then we marched on to Gorge Park for a stroll. This is a major spot for skateboarding in Russia. Near it flows the Moscow River where people can go for a cruise if they please. The nearby shops sell ice creams and lollipops so that the kids can enjoy themselves.

I was feeling a bit impaired without my spectacles which I lost during my flight from Delhi to Moscow. Muzaffar was however in good spirit as I showed him videos of my Kenyan safari. He was amazed to see my adventures and told me how much he loved Bollywood movies and especially the acting of Amitabh Bachchan and Mithun Chakraborty. He had seen disco dancer three times. Russians also like Raj Kapoor and, of course, his famous movie is AWARA.

In the evening, we were back to our den. My hotel was surrounded by three more hotels which are called Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Well, that made life simpler I guess. I also took a stroll around the nearby flea market with people selling coats and caps and all sorts of Russian antiques. With my photography done for the day, it was time to retire for dinner – beef steak with mashed potatoes and salmon salad, yum yum! And now to wash it all down with cranberry juice. Russia, here I come!

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