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conductor | by masha kirikova
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from a train Moscow-Izhevsk



She was a normal looking Russian conductor, middle-aged, peroxide hairs, red lipstick, uniform gown. Most of our conductors look similar, but this lady posed like a statue. Her impressive body stayed still for 10 minutes, eyes concentrated on a mercers eager to sell smth to passengers of an opposite train. She was taking a break from her normal duties, breathing deeply and almost smiling. I write 'almost' because middle-aged Russians do not smile too often especially when it's service.


This strange tradition of not showing sympathy for a customer is one of the hardest for foreign visitors. They struggle trying to receive at least a bit of positive emotions from a shop assistant, post office worker or conductor. In vain. Women keep their lips tightly compressed, eyebrows shifted. Nothing melts her steel look. You won't believe, but most of them are kind at home, caring and sentimental with their friends and family, an old Soviet style order keeps their gargouille appearance.

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Taken on August 16, 2012