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Blurred memories Memoirs of a lost and bewildered Australian chick through Europe.

From Russia with Love - Moscow

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Saturday, 30 August 2008 | Views [623] | Comments [1]

Moscow was amazing! It really is the ‘real Russia’ I was hoping for. I’ve been to red square! And the Kremlin! And saint Basil’s (very famous onion influenced looking church in red square).

 

 

Moscow was everything I had hoped for and more. It is a wonderful city, and so different to St Petersburg. St Petersburg is kind of a European city in Russia. Moscow is Russia. The day we arrived in Moscow was Russian Independence Day or something so the city was in celebration mode. I watched the fireworks from the window of our hotel (a skyscraper monstrosity attached to a Casino that looked like it belonged in a seedy part of Vegas). The next day we did a city driving tour and saw the main sights. Moscow traffic is certainly not as bad as the traffic in St Petersburg. Our Russian tour guide, who was brilliant and had a certain fetish for men in uniform (she certainly didn’t mind all those times we got pulled over!), seemed to know the history of every single building in the city. After this we were left to our own devices for lunch and a little exploring before a tour of the Kremlin. I went to Red Square and nearly died with excitement. St Basils is beautiful (and not at all what you’d expect inside!). And Red Square is well…unbelievable! I rang home to Australia and said:

“Hi Dad, guess where I am!”

“Where?”

“In Red Square in front of the Kremlin!”

“Bloody Hell!” – His words exactly, I’m quoting accurately here!

 

It really was one of those breath taking life experiences just being there.

 

That afternoon we did a tour of the Kremlin. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting there. But I didn’t get it. I don’t know- there was certainly lots of official military guys in uniforms with guns and whistles yelling at people, but I sort of thought there’d be tanks and scary stuff like that. Not lots of beautiful ornate old churches, some lovely gardens and buildings and a bloody great bell with a big chunk out of it. It wasn’t scary or oppressive at all; it was nice, really pretty. And the guys in uniform weren’t bad either!    

 

That evening we went to the Circus. MOST of it was brilliant. The only bit I really didn’t like was the lions. They were well trained and did all the tricks and roared on cue and stuff but it was just so sad. I wanted one of them to get jack of the irritating lion tamer and rip his throat out. But they didn’t. They seemed sad, tired, and resigned to their fate. I didn’t clap for that part at all. They had a few animals in the circus. A bear who looked a lot like the lions- wearing a muzzle and sitting in a toy car for people to have their photo taken with. An alligator with its jaws taped shut. A camel who looked evil (well they all do!), and two of the cutest tiger cubs I have ever seen. A guy walked past me with one in his arms, held it out at me and said- “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!” I must admit it was kinda funny because the cute little thing was so sweet looking, but the sad thing is that their future is probably to be like the lions. And it is very sad. I suppose they don’t have the same animal laws as we do. But maybe one day the animals will take their revenge….

 

Apart from that the rest of the circus was absolutely brilliant. The acrobats were the best I have ever seen. This girl could hang upside down up like 15m in the air by only her toes! The clowns were pretty good too (I particularly like the tap dancing in ski’s).

 

The next day was another early start to do a tour of some of the underground stations. Strange you might think, but Russia, and in particular Moscow, has the swankiest train stations I have ever seen in my life. Think marble, chandeliers, mosaics, and statues. Absolutely beautiful and amazing, and an utter, utter waste of money! I can think of a lot of ways the ridiculous amount of money for this excessive lavishness could have been spent. Some properly tarred roads for example! I think that while they are incredibly beautiful, and their aim is possibly to show the ‘might and power’ of Russia. They are insulting to all those people who can’t afford things like heating and have to beg in the streets.  

 

That afternoon we had the option to line up for a ridiculously long time to see Lenin, or to do whatever we wanted. I couldn’t really see the point in lining up for 3 hours just to see a dead guy. Dead people have certainly lost their novelty for me since working in the health system. So I decided to go shopping instead. I went with one of the boys and our mission was to buy him a CCCP or something shirt- I think its some sort of Russian secret service or something, and to buy me a Vladimir Putin t-shirt. Yes I am strange, but I think Putin is tops. He loves his country and will do anything to defend it and make it better and certainly doesn’t give a shit what the rest of the world thinks. I may not agree with a lot of his methodologies, but he is a very strong man, and kinda sexy in a KGB sort of way. It’s like I know that he knows how to kill someone with like a spoon or something, but it strangely makes him more interesting!

 

By the end of the day we were both successful in our purchases at pretty damn good prices. I love to barter!

 

That evening we went to the ballet. I’m very cultured like that. It was a two part mixed thing. The first half was kind of strange. I think it had something to do with a wedding or something and 2 guys fighting over a girl. It was ok. The second part was pretty cool. They had this choir sitting either side of the stage sing this really dramatic music and the dancing I think was something about heaven and hell, guys vs. women. It was really powerful. The dancing was much better than the first half, although certain parts of it seemed to be a bordering on soft porn. Or it at least should have had an MA rating. Skin coloured bodysuits don’t leave much to the imagination. So that was my first experience at the ballet. Interesting. Different. 

 

After that a group of us decided to go out for some drinks. We went to a place that didn’t have too many people and the boys ordered some beers for themselves straight away while the rest of us looked at the menu. We ordered about 10 minutes later and the beers still hadn’t arrived. We asked for them again. The table next to us ordered some beer- and got it quite quickly. We asked again. Half an hour later the boys got jack of waiting and walked out. The rest of us followed – I mean it was ridiculous. They weren’t particularly busy, I understand cocktails take a little longer to make but we had ordered the beer 40 minutes before hand and asked numerous times and it still hadn’t arrived. Unfortunately though for us some of the girls got out but me and 2 others were pulled up by a very angry looking security guard and the waiters- they said that we couldn’t just leave without paying- we said you’ve got 5 minutes or we will- and where the hell is our beer that we ordered 40 minutes ago. We waited a bit over 5 minutes and the drinks turned up- minus the beer!!!

 

Needless to say we did not give them a tip. 

 

After that one of the other girls and I decided to go back to red square for just one more look. It’s amazing at night. Beautiful. Another eventful trip home (2 young men took a real liking to us whether we liked it or not!) But we managed to lose them. An exhausting day, but definitely a memorable one!

 

Tomorrow it’s Velikie Luki!

Tags: russia

Comments

1

"Bloody Hell" It sounds interesting!

  Dad Sep 1, 2008 6:12 PM

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