The workforce in Russia is comprised of an army of little old women. They are everywhere- in hotels, museums, restaurants and trains. They are the tendons and muscles holding together the service industries. Some guard the floors in hotels, growling at bypassers until guest passes are profferred, to which they then wave you down the corridor to your room. Babushkas sit on designated chairs in museums and watch your every move. They stop you from leaning on and touching things, and slap your hand away from the camera when you shouldn't be taking photos. Some check your train tickets and most importantly make sure you get off at the right stop.Others are the keepers of public toilets, who sit outside and take your 10 ruble admisssion fee for the loo. The Babushkas clean up after, supervise and cajole their guests to make sure things are in order and everyone follows the rules. Without these endearing women, I suppose our travels in this country would not have been so comfortable. We were only to learn later that most of the Babushkas are forced to find menial jobs beacause they can't live off the measly state pensions allocated to them.
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