Now, like the Mayan city of Tikal, the great buildings and artifacts of the Soviet Union are crumbling. The Soviets planned magnificent cities with broad streets and ample public spaces. Unfortunately nobody can afford to maintain them anymore. The parks are overgrown, the sidewalks are crumbled. The Pakistan border post with China is a small tin shack. Kyrgystan has a large marble building but when you go inside everything is abandoned and fallen apart. Broken lights hang from the ceiling. You walk through empty halls until you reach a small shack set up in a larger room. This is the border post now. Eventually the building will fall apart completely and the shack will be moved outside.
Lenin Statue Outside a School
It is an amazing experience to be able to walk through the ruins of one of the world's great civilizations only 20 years after the civilization crumbled. Only two decades ago it was impossible to visit these places. Now you can walk around freely almost anywhere in the ex-Soviet Union. You can talk to the people and hear their stories. The Lenin statues still look out over the streets. But the secret police are gone and there is food in the stores.