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Descriptive Essay: A Trip To America

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Here's the thing about about language: What isn't said can be as subtle as what is. While preparing to spend some weeks touring the late unlamented Soviet Union, I once took a highly abbreviated course in Russian offered by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Then I went off, armed with my pidgin Russian, to see what was then Leningrad (now St. Petersburg again), as well as points as far east as Novosibirsk. Wherever I went, my attentive hosts -- and there are no hosts more attentive than the minders assigned visitors in a police state -- tended to assume I was a comrade from Cuba, since my primitive Russian bore telltale traces of a Cuban accent. Little did they know that our crash course in Russian had been taught by an exile from that prison isle, who'd taken the first chance he'd gotten to make it over to the land of the free. And I certainly felt no need to go into detail. At one point in our whirlwind tour, our closely watched group of…show more content…
Then the well-armed captain proudly made it down the aisle. He seemed as relieved as the passengers to get his legs back on terra firma. The sound of a well-trained children's choir in Yerevan, Armenia, paraded out to show us the excellence of Soviet education whether they wanted to or not. They were forbidden to speak their native Armenian -- down with bourgeois nationalism! -- but were drilled in Russian. The hissing sound made by the obvious KGB man striding through a hotel and shooing away any and all in his path while he muttered muzhiki! -- peasants! The contempt in his voice was as obvious as his steel teeth, the pride of Soviet dentistry at the
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