Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on August 3, 1987 · Page 5
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 5

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Monday, August 3, 1987
Page 5
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MONDAY, AUGUST 3,1987 CO THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Ukiah student and father visit Russia By U BEI WEN Journal CttffMponitent This is the year for visiting Russia, if the travels of Ukiahians are any indication. Students, (Ukiahi's wrestlers are there now) teachers and private citizens are trekking to this land that many consider the home of the enemy, and others look at as a people just as concerned about world peace, environment and other issues as Americans are. Those returning, including Steve Geiger and his 12-year-old son, Morgan, tell a story of unsmiling Babushkas, friendly young people, military personnel in abundance, and a mass of adults too busy with their own affairs to be curious about visitors. The father and son duo came home with identical feelings that they had some surprises about Russia and her people. ' 'I had a big misconception. As a geographer, I have outdated information. This is not the same U.S.S.R. that I've been teaching about They have made big strides in modernizing, but they still have a long way to go," said Geiger, a social studies teacher at Ukiahi. He agreed with the intourist guide assigned to the group when she observed that of all the international groups she deals with, she has found that Americans and Russians are the closest alike, specifically mentioning family life, care for children and desire for peace.. "The people are very much like you and me in our ideas, and they look like us. We weren't distant or strange to each other. However, he noted, "To the Russians. World War n was just yesterday. "They are extremely defensive," he said. Geiger also noted that the Russians are suspicious by nature. "They have had so many invasions from Europe, and they are suspicious of Americans." He said he doesn't see that view '''Changing under the present situa- •,-,tionj -but added, ''I-believe the •'Soviets truly desire peace. They've seen so much war the., don't want it • again. They care about their children and the future of Mother Russia." This attitude of defending their country may account for the fact 1 that military personnel were very much in evidence. Not surprising, , Geiger said, since they have a military manpower of three and a half million. "They are very young looking, ' 16 to 17 years old, but that s 1 because they only have 10 years of general education, and after the ' 10th grade they are obligated for two years of military service," he ' said. Mtr&an noticed that the people r didn't smile much, and his father called it "gray mentality,'' refering to the fact that most of] the year in Moscow the weather is cold and sunless. ' 'You have to remember it gets to 60 degrees below zero in the winter. ; Weather that cold is bound to affect ' people. In nice weather, (and the ; Geigers were there in July), the people come out in groves until midnight." The younger Geiger said he had no preconceived ideas about Russia before the trip, but, still it was not what he expected. ' "Their clothing and equipment is from the 1920'sto 1960's,' r nesaid. Ice cream, which he purchased on the street, had to be eaten with a small wooden popsicle-type stick, and he visited many old buildings and churches. However, he was impressed with many of the modem conveniences, especially the underground walkways and the subway. "It's real neat. They go 60 to 80 miles an hour and it's really pretty,'' he said. It is closed during a certain time every day so the Babushkas (a common name for older Russian women) can clean it. These stoic women are often the guardians of museums, churches, and other public places. His dad also enjoyed the subway. "The subway is their showplace. They want to show people they can do something well. It is 300 meters deep, a perfect bomb shelter, and the stations are very close." Geiger said the Russians seem to be concentrating on housing construction now. "They are masters of the 16 to 25 story apartment buildings. Below each building is an elementary school, so the children don* t have to go far to school," he said. Morgan was delighted to find Russian Pepsi. He said the most impressive thing he saw was Lenin's Tomb, where thousands of people were in line to view his body, but the most fun was the black market where he sold the tennis shoes right off his feet and bought several items, including a Russian flag, which were not available for sale in stores. A popular black market item for the young high school -students from Ukiah and New York, who shared the tour, was any part of a Russian military uniform. One New York boy got out of the country with a complete outfit, from the boots up, and was wearing it when his,parents met the plane in New Morgan Geiger accompanied his father Steve on a trip to Russia last month, and the two learned the meaning of the symbols on the Russian flag, which Morgan bought on the black market. .. . .... . "The department stores reminded •Geiger of old five and dime stores in the U.S. They purchased several things there, but not a pair of Lee Jeans which were priced at $70. Many common items are not available in stores, but on the very open black market. For example, T- shirts and sweatshirts with Leningrad University on them aren't sold in stores where tourists would grab them up. Geiger, noting that soviet socialism works but not very well, said the reason these items are not stocked in stores is because there is no motivation to make money. "Any entreprcneurism is in the black market. Making more money doesn't advance them one lickety- split. There are no official awards. They can't live any better. Only privele 0 e does that and that's under party control," he said. Without market pricing, there is a large distortion in production and consumption. For this reason, there is often a shortage of a particular item, and an over-supply of another. Geiger said that meat and bread prices in Russia haven't changed in 30 years. He feels it is difficult to compare the U.S. and Russia, especially with their government managed media. "Our guide thought there was a restriction on Russians traveling in the U.S. and thought they would not be well received by Americans — that we would be hostile. "Also, she wondered why we can not find at least one we could sign of the several peace proposals Mikhail Gorbechey , has suggested," he said. The Russians have seen pictures of the poor in the U.S., such as the bag ladies in New York City, but they know very little about the life of an average citizen. "They don't know that the reason these people aren't starving on the streets is because of our socialism. How we go about doing it is the difference. After 60 or 70 years of rigid interpretation of precepts it is difficult to make change happen. "They live in an authoratative society. Things are not permitted unless itemized. We live in a society where everything is permitted unless there is a law against it," he explained. However, Geiger noted many areas in which the Russians are very open. The group he was with were teamed with six Russian teenagers to help them learn English and one of the young New York boys developed a close friendship with one of the Russian girls. She took him to Gorky Park and the zoon, with apparently no official restrictions. And, as a teacher, Geiger was impressed with the Soviet's open door to foreign university students to come there and study, particular- ly people from third-world nations. The USSR pays the tuition for five years, he said. Vietnamese, Africans . and others from Central America are taking advantage of the free education. /'Can you imagine the political significance of this policy? The instruction is in Russian and in one year the students are totally fluent in Russian. These are the future leaders of these third-world countries," he said. The 15 students and two teachers from Ukiah flew from New York to Zurich Switzerland, then on to Moscow where their tour was sup- posed to start. However, when the arrived in Moscow ilic people involved in the Peace March were there and no rooms were available. The local group was put on a night train to Leningrad where they stayed three days before returning to Moscow. The also visited Za/orska. . "There is a saying '1 love Moscow, but Leningrad is better,' and that's true. Leningrad, is a pretty city. Moscow is an e'fficient mcgopolis. It is a residential city. It is .the scat of government but it is more of a housing complex - vertically speaking. There are 8.7 million people in the city and another 6 million more just outside the city," Geiger noted. The biggest adjustment for the young travellers was getting used to strange food, Geiger said. "I don't think we further our soviet relations with our picky eating habits. They prepared well- rounded meals for us and some of the kids barely ate, some refused to eat at all. I think if you're traveling in a foreign country you know the food will be different and should be prepared. These are people who have so little and they're trying to give you so much," he said. The group left Ukiah on July 1 art! returned July 12. —Calendar ONGOING WOMEN'S SUPPORT GROUP, 5:30-7 p.m.. Mendocino Family Services. To register phone 5:50 to 7 p.m. Phone Mira Walt ,r, 462-9029. YOUNG PEOPLE'S AA, 6p.m., 2205 S. Stale St., Ukiah. FREE PREGNANCY TESTING AND COUNSELING, 6 to 8 p.m., Crisis Pregnancy Center, 331 N. School St., Ukiah. Phone 463-1436. (24 hour crisis line). NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS, 6 to 7 p.m., 2193 N. State St, Ukiah. ADVERTISEMENT Wrinkle Cream Great Success I You're Invited To Attend ENDEAVOR HOMES' OWNER/BUiLDER WALL RAISER Construction Beginning Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8th & 9th Starts Early Come see for yourself how people are building their own homes while saving $Thousands$. Be your own contractor, do some or all the work. s CROWDS ARE COMING INTO DEPARTMENT STORES across the country for the exciting wrinkle cream, EB5, developed by Pharmacist Robert Heldfond. He is pictured above showing his cream in a JCPenney Cosmetic Department, It's an exciting story of a pharmacist who developed a wrinkle cream which wonv • -•«• requesting throughout the country. Robert Heldfond is makiiiL ,«• his EB5 Cream. His dream >mu resulted in a wrinkle cream V.IIK dous sales in department sii u highly by customers. Research lab tests show Cream, morning and niglr eyes, on the forehead, anu smoothed. And you'll be so pit and night cream, a moisturizer, an eye cream, and a make-up base... all in one. Pharmacist Heldfond's EB5 Cream leaves the skin ,.'\< ,cl\vi> and younger-looking. It contains Liprogen .UK! olli r elleciive n •ViJii.'nl". It you arc concern ih.'U' '• ••• '''nytobe agins! too in ' i I or • Many plans to choose from. custom plans are welcome. Factory Rep's on hand to answer questions. Bring your Plans — Bring your Dreams! We Help From Finance to Finish. COMPLETE OWNER/BUILDER CONSTRUCTION AND PERMANENT FINANCE AVAILABLE PLAN TO ATTEND! FOLLOW THE SIGNS SITE 401 POMO I N POMOLANE | If you can't make (he wall raiser but would like more information, contact: ENDEAVOR HOMES, 401 Pomo Lane North, Ukiah, CA 95482 (707)462-2769 uB5 is _i_ I City .. . _ Zip . .._. . •_.. j Own a lot? .Yes .No Need financing? _.Ye§ .No 5 creams in one jar.. .EB5 is a wrinkle cream, a day | [

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