Thanks to our wonderful hosts in Moscow :
Stas and Nastia
Being my first official blog from my adventure trip comes to you from a tiny hanging cot on a rather noisy (fort now in a fun way) train from Moscow to St. Petersburg, at 11am.
This is what our living quarters look like right now:
Not for the lack of trying, but it appears Emir and I will NOT be sharing a bunk "bed" like I thought. Im not even sure I can share it with myself, come to think of it. Its SO tiny! Had to eat my dinner with my chin in my chest and head against the top of the train.
So, Moscow... I called this post the herd of the heels since, in this choice of passage, I have found the herd too which I belong. For those who think I wear crazy heels to crazy places, you don't even want to see the shoes worn around here...
And the women are absolutely gorgeous! dressed sexy, modern, chick!
I am also not the only one posing for pictures, achem, achem!
This is not me, but I wish it was :D
But enough about that, Moscow is a wonderful place to visit. None of the horror stories ive heard have touched me. Maybe its because of the wonderful couple we lived with, but also because its not such a scary place. Of course my benefit is that I know Russian, which I can guarantee would have been almost impossible without. There are plenty of signs in English for getting around, but not many people can point you in a given direction.
Speaking of people, they have a very distinct and unique characteristic here. They are super friendly only if you close your eyes. Haha. Ill explain. Its like a magic trick.if you keep your eyes open, their mean expression would make you believe they would rather hit you in the head for asking then something. BUT if you momentarily close your eyes, at least metaphorically, you would see that they are actually very open and willing to help in any way they can. Magic! They are good people!
Some Stories: to read one at a time:
A little thing of history. The Kremlin is actually NOT that cathedral with the spiral colorful roofs. In fact that is the cathedral of Saint Vasil. The kremlin is a walled area which most Russian cities possess. And as usual of most famous sites, the cathedral is much smaller in life than it appears on tv our books (if any of you read those anymore).
Pic taken from the Red Square outside the walls of the Kremlin
This picture taken from the Aleksandrovsky Gardens ouside the Kremlin
The following pictures are from inside the Kremlin:
Largest bell in the world
The plate you see above is the 0 mile point from which all other distances and cities and measured. Tradiotionally you make a wish and toss a coin over your head whilst standing on the mark.
I.5 ( side note about being here)
Walking around Moscow, you do get the sense of the separation of classes. It is true what they say about that. Some people walk around wearing things worth more than my life, while three others in outdated or polyester attire. I mean that doesn't mean they are any less sexy, because believe you me, there is plenty of that no matter what the social level of scale.
Prices here are kept exceptionally high sure to corruption. It seems to open up a whether a franchise or your own place, you need to pay out lots of bribes. Even Ikea was about to bounce, piter much stating in a paper "common, you've got to be kidding me, how more bribes do I gots to pay!" So in short don't plan on doing much shopping. Which is very unfortunate because the fashion is damn good.
My favorite day was actually the last day.
It happens to be the day of Russia, a national holiday, and it was on Sunday. On the advice of our gracious hosts, we went to the area know as VDNH - Vistavka Dostixenja Nationalnich Xozyastvo, which means Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. But really what it means is a shit load of people prancing around the wide flowered allies, splashing around in fountains, and having really strange pass times like putting their kids in balloons on a small pool.
There was an impressive entrance, and strangely the sound escorting us was "the road to hell" playing out of a biker's stereo. A small symbol of americana in what used to be it's greatest enemy's exhibition of achievements- haha-ironic. Also ironic was the monkey sitting on the back of that bike, but I won't get into that (or I will upset mirza).
It is quiet amazing how much money, labor, and detail was put into all of this. The people really take advantage of it's glory and really know how to enjoy life. They socialize in a way rarely seen in the western world and I think it is a great gift to them left over from communism.
But what real Moscow blog post would be complete without mormons. Mormons? In the most orthodox country? Oh yes, mormons. Americans trying to mormonize in Russian no less. Jake Anderson and Milton Zim. MILTON!!! hahaha... Well he looked how hits name sounds.
We were walking along a beautiful lake in Moscow, passing the very skin showing russian men and women, enjoying their saturday morning with beers and shishlicks (bbq skewers). We followed the shore until the beach turned into wood, and even further til suddenly we came to a fence that went perpendicular to our path and duped into the water. It seemed we were lost with no answers and no one to show us the path to freedom. As our heads sank in despair and all hope was sunk, we heard a noise coming from deep inside the woods. English? We waited til the image came closer and closer and was finally upon us like angels onto George Smith. It was Jake and Milton. With only their bags of wisdom (in the form of the mormon bible). I dared to ask them who they were and what they were doing here. Even more daring was when I asked them to explain. Needless to say, they didn't save or souls, but another russian couple did as we watched then go through a secret whole in the fence, and gave us an excuse to cut the conversation off. We quickly took the chance and ran after them. And while we ran, there were distant echoes beseaching us to "go to w-w-w-dot-mormons-dot-org for more vital information".
Well alls well that ends well, right?
Can you imagine being called milton (with dorky glasses and a talking style that reminds me of milhouse from the simpsons), american, a mormon, and being sent on a mission to RUSSIA, to convert drunk, highly orthodox russian macho men, wearing speedos on a saturday trying to relax at a lake? That is one job I do not want to have!
Just a word about the pollon. For those of you with allergies, consider Moscow to be your living hell. When I say theres a hell of a lot of polon, it would be a drastic understatement. The trees are beautiful, it's called Topol, but might as well be called sent from hell. I dont have allergies but I do have eyes, and jeezus were they filled with that damn fluff. Just to give you another example, we lived on the SEVENTEENTH floor, and do you think that stopped the constant inflow of white fluffy friends? No! Walking in the streets, it would seem at first glance that it was snowing. But when you realize that its like 80 degrees you know better.
Ok Here come some pictures!
An aisle in a TINY deli, just for Vodka.. thats right, that is ONLY Vodka
We got to see a fire :D very exciting...
The guys, just hanging around...
Roof of the Cathedral of Vasil
A memorial to all those lost in the hands of Nazis...a truly moving peice. Maybe the best I have seen.
The Red Square at night
A bridge for lovers. When you get married you have to buy a lock, lock it to the tree, and throw the key off the bridge. Thus ensuring that your loved one never runs away.
A view from the bridge leading to and from the Church of The Savior
The Church of The Savior
No one is gonna save HIM though
Old Arbat - one of the main streets in Moscow- very artistic and full of life
Also on Old Arbat
Selling kittens on the street
Some different looking ducks by the lake
HE'S ON A BOATTTTTT
Some wild night life... notice how at 2 am it is not dark out!!
Saying goodbye and getting on the train (from which I wrote most of the blog)