I counted yesterday. I had to tell 5 people that I didn’t speak Russian. That’s a typical day for me.

It seems that "point and grunt" communication is a skill, and one that many Russians lack. I guess I’m used to Southeast Asia and China where most people you interact with are part of the tourist industry and therefore know how it’s done. Most of the problems I remember are the times I needed to head to a market "off the beaten track" that usually only saw locals.

Yesterday, I went to the Gulag Museum in Perm, which is the only surviving Soviet-era labour camp (currently being restored as funds allow.) The woman at the ticket window couldn’t manage to sell me a ticket, and had to summon an English-speaking tour guide. Wow, your main job is interacting with tourists, and you can’t point and grunt? At least she figured out on her own that I didn’t gavaryu.

(Currently 746 km from Moscow, 4862 km from London!)