I'm not sure what it is about Russia and the FSU that makes me find the little things so interesting.  I've long felt that a large part of the attraction is that it is just different.  Different from what I grew up with, and different from nearly every other place I've been.  While one might say ok yeah obviously I didn't grow up with a huge statue of a worker and a peasant reaching upward together towards communist utopia, and certainly that applies to most, but this phenomenon goes well beyond the exceptional.

 Everything from the light fixtures to the ancient electric trolley buses to the bizzare childrens' playgrounds has a feel that is quite different than the same type of item or stucture in the West.  I guess 50 years of post-war isolation had one advantage, that being that nearly everything created in the USSR, while perhaps similar in function to a Western counterpart, was designed and often operated differently, and usually appeared even more so.  Along these lines I have to admit that one of my earliest and most favorite photographs from my first visits to Moscow is of a lonely underpass clad in what can only be called light blue bathroom tiles.  Is it beauty that made it so interesting to me?  Why did Soviet central planners think bathroom tiles made sense for an underpass?  Oversupply one year?  Someone exceeded the five year bathroom tile plan?  I even sought this underpass out on a recent visit to see if it still remained in the state I remembered it...it did...Anyway, along these lines here are a couple shots of my friend's balcony in central Moscow...perhaps you'll find it interesting, or perhaps you'll see just a balcony...

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