"Bill Gates! Bill Gates!"
Steve and I went to the Kremlin and the Red Square here in Moscow today. We toured the Kremlin and its churches before we went to see Lenin (that's a warped experience and a "must see") and quite a few other sights around Red Square. Yesterday we had a great event with about 700 people, lots of very interesting questions, two most excellent guys doing simultaneous translation, our slides in a booklet all translated into Russian, and we were even asked to give autographs....
The funniest little story at the Kremlin went like this: We're walking by the congress center (of the former communist party) towards the Palace of the Patriarchs and a group of maybe 20 school kids from St. Petersburg walks in front of us. Suddenly one of the kids (who were all about 15) turns around after hearing us chat and says "Where you from?". Steve grins and says "Seattle ... Washington ... USA". All of a sudden he's got the crowd's attention, all the kids stop. And then he puts up his special kind of amused smile and says "I work for Microsoft". Awe. Disbelief. Happiness. One kid says: "Windows XP!". Steve, very visibly enjoying himself, says "Yes. Yes", pointing to himself, "I worked on that!". More happiness and the kids start chanting joyfully "Bill Gates! Bill Gates! Bill Gates!" and would not let us get further away than 10 meters while we were in the museum in that building. Finally, Steve made one of the kids the star of the day by trading 2 rubels (about 6 cents) for a 1 dollar note. The dollar from the "Amerikanskij" was surely one of the trophies of the day judging by the way they were all inspecting it. Since they're not from Moscow, it appears like they're not seeing Amerikanskijs that often, much less Microsofties.
I am not making this up. And for me as a German, non-Microsoft person it was sure a lot of fun to watch ;)