I've spent my first week in Moscow and it is hard to say yet whether it is or is not what I expected. I basically came here straight off of another project with little time to research or look into the city and Russia in general. I have been so focused on Asia, this trip ranks together with my trip to South Africa last year another adventure into unknown territory.
At the same time, I am here on a project with a major Korean company. Almost the entire project team I am on is made up of Koreans, the hotel I stay at is managed by Koreans, and I am eating Korean food for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. As a result, I often feel like I am back in Korea eventhough the surroundings are of another extreme.
Unlike Tokyo and Seoul, English is not to be found on signs, menus or literature in most places. Thus, without knowing Russian, it is difficult to navigate. Starting this weekend I am going to make an effort to memorize the Russian alphabet so I can begin to at least get by when I am on my own. Since I can at least speak Korean, I now rely a great deal on the Koreans to get up to speed...
As for the supply chain industry here, I haven't really had much of a chance to explore it yet. I am semi-lead on a functional design for the Korean client, so it means spending a lot of time in the office rather than the warehouse--which is actually a nice change from the last 3-4 months. One difference is the customs clearance tracking on imports that enter the country and the need to track by batch these imports even after products reach the customer.
Since I will be here five more weeks, I should have a chance to write more about the industry here.