Monday, August 2, 2010

Moscow, je t'aime

Moscow-lovers will be vindicated to hear that we went to Moscow--and loved it. We took the overnight train there, and got there at breakfast time. Everyone was a little apprehensive about going, especially since it was going to be 40˚C there the first day we arrived, which is about 104˚F. Oh, and this is Russia: there's no A/C or ice. Anywhere. Good news though: there was air-conditioning on the train, and I have never been so happy to wake up in the middle of the night, totally freezing.

Party train to Moscow!

Almost immediately after we arrived, we started our city tour; we had the most amusing, sarcastic tour guide yet. We got into a bus and drove around, looking at the old KGB building, among other things:

Tour guide: This is KGB building. It is highest building in all the world. You know why?
Us: Huh? *confusion*
Tour guide: Cause you can see Siberia from the basement. Heheheh.

After driving around, we stopped at the Red Square to take pictures and look at St. Basil's Cathedral.
It's sooo preeeetty...

And Lenin's mausoleum:
He's just, you know, chilling inside

After that, we went to the Armory in Red Square, and on our way, we met a very special someone...Vladimir Zhirinovsky. I didn't really know who this guy was up until that point, but I got a quick lesson, and up front, this guy is a psycho. He's the founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, an ultranationalist party that supports the abolition of almost all religions but Russian Orthodox in Russia; the reunification of the former Soviet Union; state control over technology and agriculture...oh, and it's also the "brain-child" of the KGB. Zhirinovsky is a Jewish Jew-hater (he's known as Russia's Hitler) who starts fist fights in the Duma to remain on the political spectrum; he was the one who started the food fight this past spring, throwing eggs at his fellow Duma members. And we--we got to meet him.


After this exciting interlude, we learned a little about Boris Yeltsin. According to our tour guide:

Tour guide: Bill Clinton came to visit Boris Yeltsin and there were two menus: Bill menu and Boris menu. Bill menu had soup, chicken, and dessert. Boris menu had Smirnoff, Smirnoff, and Smirnoff.
Us: *giggles*
Tour guide: What? Don't believe me? Most Russian prefer Boris menu...

Later that day, standing outside the Presidential palace, our tour guide brought up Yeltsin again:

Tour guide: Okay, and what was Yeltsin's hobby, again?
Us: *laughing* Vodka!
Tour guide: *looking wounded* No! Tennis...

Outside of the Presidential palace, there sits the biggest cannon in the world. Unfortunately, typically of Russia, it's actually too big to work; the cannonballs weigh over a ton each, and they are too heavy to fire. Funnily, the cannon points directly at the Presidential palace...

Tour guide: So, after a long night of drinking, Yeltsin came into the office with a hangover. He felt terrible. So he stuck his head out of the window to get some fresh air...

Tour guide: And saw this:

Tour guide: ...Pointing directly at him. Next day, he moved to building next door.

Next, we saw the biggest (and, surprise, nonfunctional) bell in the world:

With our lovely tour guide!

We went inside the Kremlin courtyard, and saw the several lovely cathedrals and churches inside:
Where Ivan the Terrible was married!

The next day, one of the Dartmouth kids in our group (oh hi, Clark) had a minor (okay, major) Starbucks meltdown. We were exiting a museum when he decided that he really needed a latte, so we decided to try to find one...

Setting off to find Paradise

Found it!

Crying because there's no more

Post Starbucks, we wandered around the city for a little bit, and then headed back to the hotel to meet the rest of the group for the 12:50am train ride back to Saint Petersburg. We arrived back this morning, and went to the banya today! (That will be another, fun-filled post :) With only two weeks left in Russia, we're starting to get a little sentimental, and forget the radioactive mosquitoes and beets and rude babushkas. So in the spirit of dewy-eyed vapidity...

Bridge over troubled waters (really, just polluted waters)

I should actually be editing my final paper right now, so I'll leave you with that deep thought.
Until the banya post, comrades.


No comments:

Post a Comment