Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hello, Mockba

When I landed in Berlin nearly 20 years ago, I kept noticing what felt like these big differences between US roads and German roads - the cobblestones, the cars parked on the sidewalk, and of course everything European about the road was different.

Now, familiar with European road signs, I land in Moscow and am struck by similar/familiar everything looks. I can follow the road signs, so I could theoretically drive here if someone would hand me directions. Even though many of the letters are wildly different, I can figure out the names of some businesses and what they sell (ресторан is a restaurant; аптека is an apothecary = pharmacy; банк = bank).

 Course, it's easier to identify some businesses than others:
Image result for McDonalds in RussianImage result for burger king in Russian 

Partly that's my development and experience, but it's also amazing how much convergence there has been over 20 years. I bet you 20 years ago Moscow at night did not look like "random western European city." Today I see all sorts of US and European brands that I'm confident were not here in 1996. On the other hand, the reason I'm describing a city as a set of brand names is just because I arrived at night and the neon signs are most all I can see and identify. 

I may have a different idea seeing the city in the daytime, but that's at least my first impression.