A Travellerspoint blog

Спасибо и до свидания!

(Thank you and goodbye)

all seasons in one day 30 °C

This is my last hurrah, just a nice little entry to round out my blogging time here in Russia. You can use your imagination to insert all the usual ‘Wow-time-has-flown’, ‘a-month-already-can’t-be-possible’, ‘I-can’t-believe-its-not-butter’, but it really is true. This week has seen me purchasing up a storm of Russian books (luggage allowance, please be kind), spending lots of time meandering through backstreets (mainly because I am still getting hopelessly lost), and coming to grips with the idea that this time, next week, I will be back in Australia, studying at university. I foresee some pretty horrific jetlag lurking behind my return- With Russia being 6 hours behind, even though I am getting up at a sprightly 7:30am here, that translates to early-afternoon-you’ve-missed-half-the-day-get-your-act-into-gear in Aus. I have also learnt to cook a Russian desert (which, incidentally, I can’t eat), gone on an art-gallery bender and seen some of the finest works not only in Russia but also the world (hello, Russian art/artefact poaching from days gone by) and begun a whole sequence of lasts- last time I will have to deal with the metro ladies, last time I will be able to buy bananas at $1 a kilo (loss), last time I will have to buy broccoli at $7 (win), last time I will play ‘Get off at the metro and head for the nearest golden spire’ to explore, last last last. The next few days are sure to be a whirlwind of finishing class, packing in the last few adventures to markets and a final visit to the Kremlin and Red Square and figuring out times and transport for the airport fun on Sunday. Here are a couple of photos from the last few days:

Happening on random Michael Jackson tributes is one of the small joys of life.
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Another Stalinist skyscraper, viewed from the street outside the American Embassy (where I didn’t dare loiter, I was getting some pretty hostile looks from the security guard. Paranoid much?)
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Mosckva City, the new keeping-up-with-the-world development. Grown since my last visit, but still a work in progress.
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Britney Spears. I’ll say no more.
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NECTAR OF THE GODS. In food form. Found a vegetarian restaurant akin to the Vegie Bar in Melbourne, but better. Oh yes, I said it. Sublime food, very good looking male waiters (not that that had a thing to do with my enjoyment of my meal) and not too expensive. Opposite a cool park where there are always buskers- the music floats over to Avocado (the restaurant), at dusk on at Saturday night, there is nowhere I would rather be.
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Post-unbelievable food, wandering back towards Red Square as the sun finally begins to set at 10:30pm.
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Statue of Marshal Zhukov, Soviet commander from World War II.
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GUM at dusk, lit up like a Christmas tree.
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A brooding Tolstoy surveys Maidens Field, near where his winter estate is preserved as a museum.
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Church of St Nicholas in Khamovniki, a result of one of my many ‘spot the golden spire and wander until you find it’ adventures.
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Thanks for reading for this month of language misadventures, Russian cooking lessons (Cover everything in sugar. Then add more sugar. And some cream), “Garry Potter” and getting drunk in parks. After 24 hours in getting there, I will be hitting the tarmac at Tullamarine on Monday night, with a summer’s worth of awkward sandal tan lines and freckles everywhere, and in no way prepared for a Melbourne winter welcome. But I am also bringing home a new perspective on life, language and the necessity of wearing cripplingly high stilettos everywhere you go.

Posted by lucyfbaird 22:32 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

That alcoholic lemonade, it'll get ya.

all seasons in one day 30 °C

I am sitting here nursing a green tea and an upset stomach, after an afternoon of drunkenly wandering around a Soviet-style theme park. Yes, you read that correctly, Lucy-who-doesn’t-drink has again been bamboozled by this country and its bag of tricks which ended in very-not-sober midnight solo ramblings in St Petersburg last time I was here.
Let me explain.
Post-class today I decided to head to VVTs (Vserossiykiy Vystavochniy Tsentre) or the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, a huge sprawl of soviet-era pavilions, fountains and theme-park rides, thronging in the sunshine with tanned roller-bladers, BMX tricksters and your everyday Russian perusing the kite or balloon stalls and the pavilions themselves. First up I jumped on the 75-m high Ferris Wheel to check out the view, and ended up in a cabin with a lovely Russian couple, who I spent the ride stumbling through Russian/English conversation with- the boyfriend’s reply to everything was ‘Simply super!!’ and the girlfriend couldn’t believe that I actually had left Australia to come to Russia. By choice. (I think she secretly came to the conclusion I must have been exiled.) Post thrilling ride, (it actually was, I was in an open cabin and only had a very flimsy lap-bar to secure me) I was thirsty and hot- having tried kvas, a midly alcoholic soft-drink made from fermented rye bread and finding it wanting, I steered well clear and headed for a stall selling what looked like homemade lemonade- a cloudy, pale yellow drink which I had seen children and adults alike downing by the massive plastic cup. Following their lead and proud of my ability to order in Russian, I grabbed a cold cup and keep wandering around. Well. Tasted like sort of nutty-lemonade, and I can now say, whatever it was, it is definitely alcoholic. Whether it was because I was dehydrated, had an empty stomach, and haven’t had alcohol in years, or because it was quite alcoholic, (I am betting on the former), a mere three-quarters of a glass later a very tipsy Lucy was lurching her way down ‘Fountain Alley’, unable to take a straight photo and making eyes at all the roller-blading guys. I took many a giggling rest in the shade, gracefully (or not so gracefully) sprawled on the kerb, and was seriously considering swimming in the ‘Fountain for the Friendship’s of the People’. All this, at 4:30pm in the afternoon.

Here be photos from this excursion, hopefully all straight:

Straight out of the metro, you are overwhelmed by the enormity of the Space Obelisk, a rocket blasting nearly 100m high on a gleaming stream of titanium-clad ‘energy’.
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The ‘Mosckva 850’, an awesome way to see the VVTs.
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The ‘Fountain of the Friendships of Peoples’, backed by the ‘House of the Peoples of Russia’.
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Another of the ridiculously lavish fountain, whose golden gals circle a golden wheat sheaf. Yup.
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Vostok Rocket, of the sort that carried Yuri Gargarin into orbit.
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The entrance to VVTs.
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Statue of Lenin, around whom the BMX tricksters were doing their thang.
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After two weeks away from my home-away-from-home (ie. a climbing wall), I could feel my callouses slowly breaking down into soft skin, my forearm muscles shrinking to a near normal size, and the clearly-not-permanent layer of chalk under my fingernails had finally come out in the wash. Time to venture into the Moscow climbing scene- I set my eyes on Skalatoria, a ‘climbing house’. After heading in (typically) the completely the wrong direction straight out of the metro, I eventually orientated myself – or so I thought. About ten minutes later I was in that awkwardly familiar position of I-may-have-gone-past-it or may-not-have-gone-far-enough, and was going through the go-on-go-back dilemma (also all too familiar) when I decided to through caution to the wind and follow my finely honed instincts. In this instance, my instincts were represented by a toned, tanned, shirtless man on a beautiful mountain bike, with climbing shoes slung over his shoulder. My instincts served me right, and after the routine guard-in-the-cloakroom I was pointed across a partially demolished parking lot and through a rusty door. Somewhat cautiously I headed into the corridor beyond- exposed electrical wires, humming pipes, dust everywhere- my imagination was having all sorts of fun freaking me out. However, as I reached the end of the corridor I was suddenly surrounded by climbing posters, gear stickers, my ears were filled with ridiculous Russian rap, and my fears were allayed. Managed the Russian to get in, but that seemed to be about all I could manage- I was the only girl surrounded by such toned and shirtless specimens as that I had followed to find the place, though I did feel better about my comparative lack of skills when I read the side of one of the gym bags casually tossed against a wall to find its owner was on the Russian national bouldering team. (!!)

The weather gods have been wreaking havoc lately, and I have been caught in many sudden downpours, which end as quickly as they begin, and leave me soaked, laughing, and with a brief respite from the heat. The rain appeared to interrupt my Sunday post-study stroll- but I was armed with my umbrella and wandering around Donskoy Monastery, so the dark clouds and spitting rain could only bolster the atmosphere of the higgledy-piddegly graveyard and the melancholy ringing of bells. The rain cleared up to allow an epic stroll through parks, over and up hills, over roadworks, under bridges, to surface to Ella Fitzgerald playing at the entrance to Gorky Park, the sounds of which drifted with me as I perused the art in the gallery that occupies the underpass, and continued to waft through the air as I wandered through the sculpture park museum- where lots of the no-longer-loved soviet statues live. Super hungry post intensive tourism, I decided to eat out- but suffered the usual frustration in trying to find a restaurant with even one dish I can eat. Defeated and starving, I headed back to Indian and had the best (but also out of control spicy) mushroom masala I have ever had. After dinner I found a gourmet supermarket, with fruits that I didn’t know the name of and a make your own pasta section, but with prices to match. Proceeded to get my bag stuck in the lockers, and had to be helped by the security guard- if my gasps at prices and hiking sandals hadn’t already ousted me as an anomaly in this gourmet world, my failure at locker operation sure did.

‘A Sunday smile, you wore it for a while…A Sunday mile we paused and sang…’ Photos from Sunday rambling.

Looking from Gorky park, past tired theme park rides, across to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
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Enjoying the sunshine on a paddle boat.
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Graffiti in the park outside Donsky Monastery.
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One of the sculptures in the Art Muzeon Sculpture Park, where I experienced the typical flip-sided Russian hospitality- The cashier was entirely unwilling to give me a student pass until she saw my MGU student card, and once I told her I was studying Russian she forgot her frosty attitude and chatted with me gaily for a good 15 minutes. (Of which I probably understood 9 minutes of. It’s an improvement.)
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Walking across a pedestrian bridge spanning the Moscow River, looking across to the Kremlin.
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A break in the clouds illuminates the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which commemorates Russia’s victory over Napoleon.
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English graffiti, looking to the cathedral and moody clouds.
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A 24-hour flower shop, heading home later that evening. There are flower shops absolutely everywhere here, and while they aren’t any cheaper than in Australia couples strolling through the city are rarely without a floral accompaniment clutched by the female half.
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I’ve been dreaming in (still completely garbled) Russian lately- when I wake there are still wisps of almost-clarity and half-formed sentences floating by, which soon disappear when I turn on the TV (thankfully not to more birthing scenes) and find that I understand as little as usual. However, the not-understanding is starting to feel comfortable rather than overwhelming, and the wonderful (though tongue twisting) sounds of this language are finally sounding familiar. My hand is constantly tattooed with new beautiful words I discover- to help myself fall asleep when still buzzed from a busy day, I run through my favorites to sooth my harried brain. Though I have tried to stop myself, the countdowns have begun- 8 classes, 11 balmy nights and 12 crackling-hot days, until I have to leave. However, there is also; 1 weekend showing a new British friend around Moscow, at least 2 more visits to the cinema, 4 more visits to Skalatoria, a week of marathon training, a famous souvenir market, a banya visit to beat Moscow out of me before I fly out, a book-shop crawl and more spicy mushroom masala on the horizon. There are still a few days of scrawling-words-on-my-hand yet. Though hopefully no more days of drunkenly wandering around parks.

Posted by lucyfbaird 22:24 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

"Garry Potter."

Or how a Russian translator somewhere along the line got very confused.

rain 24 °C

Again I sit here with strong coffee to kick start my day, and an hour or so before I need to jump on the bus for the 15-minute ride to university. Bus trips, once so scary, (where am I going, how do I pay, how do I get the darn thing to stop) have slipped into a routine without me really noticing- I iPod it up and read through my phonetic exercises (which are a collection of children’s poems, with titles like, ‘Pink Rabbit’ and ‘Puppy’- if anyone wants a rendition, my teacher told me I should read them over Skype to my friends). The news is on television, and as far as I can gather at the moment it is a story about berry picking in the east. The news programs in Russia are very interesting- much more gory than in Australia; I often glance over just in time to catch bullet wounds or men being arrested in their tighty-whities after a house bust (why oh why?). In fact, this morning a sleepy Lucy was greeted with a full-on film of someone giving birth. Goodbye, lethargy. (Hello not wanting breakfast).

My experience with the Russian public seems to oscillate between wildly hospitable (come-eat-my-food, marry-my-son, move-in-forever) and downright nasty (glaring, sneered answers, why-would-I-help-you-I-only-work-here). My Russian mum explained this as Russians simply not being used to the idea of ‘service’, and their attitude to foreigners as a throw-back to the communist days when the West were irresponsible capitalists destroying the world. I also think, in my experience, that Australians are just very friendly, and I tend to expect the same in everyone else.

Ran the full gauntlet of nasty on Monday. Searching for a tranquil retreat in which to study of an afternoon, I hit upon the Russian State Library- a monster of a building, surrounded with pigeons flitting around a state of Dostoyevsky, men sitting on steps, shooting the breeze with litre bottles of beer and chain-smoking, and literary types adjusting their glasses as they head through the imposing wooden doors with their readers cards at the ready. To obtain a readers card was my first mission, and after producing passport and conquering the Russian form I had my confidence shattered by an exchange with the stern lady behind the desk in which I understood nothing. She was unwilling to make any allowance for this and shooed me away with an aggressive flick of the wrist. Once I figured out that I needed to go to another window, then another building, it seemed I was finally set- card in hand, I swung through those intimidating wooden doors and prepared to get my study on. However, the stern patronesses of the library were not done with me yet- another, even more unforgiving than the first, demanded I surrender my bag to the cloakroom. All very well and good, but she failed to explain that I actually was not allowed to take anything into the library. This led to many unpackings, repackings, shook fingers, tsking, shook heads, before I finally deduced that this would not be the study retreat I was envisaging if I wasn’t even able to take my books in. However, once I got inside (figured I might as well have a look) I was mollified by the warren of ancient reading rooms, shelves upon shelves of every sort of book imaginable, amazing marble staircases and the respectful hush to the air- that would have been very conducive to study had I been allowed to. Study plans in disarray, I retreated to Alexandrosvky Gardens, which hug one side of the massive Kremlin, to eat my feelings- more hommus and black rye, sitting near the tomb on the Unknown Soldier and allowing the afternoon sun to sooth my dejected self.

My text book, as most foreign language text books seem to do, (and logically so) subliminally presses the importance of immersing oneself as fully as possible in the country- with texts such as, “John goes to the movies all the time, and always listens to the radio- he already understands Russian quite well. Tom does not go to the movies or watch television, he still understands Russian very poorly” (maybe subliminal is not the right word). With the urging of my textbook and a spare Tuesday evening, I decided to take a leaf out of John’s book and head to the cinema. Successfully bought a ticket by replying ‘Da’ (yes) to every question the cashier asked, and settled in for the dubbed version of ‘Monte Carlo’, an American film on the not side of the enjoyable scale. And while I got the main story, I understood almost none of the dialogue- I didn’t realize how much my understanding was tied to being able to read or at least know the context of what was going on. At least there was a bag of blood plums and a pleasantly cool walk home through the misty park waiting at the end, even if it was accompanied by the knowledge that I have a long, long way to go.

At least my skills have extended to the absolutely crucial ability to decode my Russian horoscope- definitely the most mystical homework I have ever been given. Hot mushroom soup aided the translation effort, and while I struggled at the movie game at least I can be comforted by the fact that, ‘In spite of the fact that progress on the career ladder is not possible for you right now, you are to be envied on the love front- this week you will meet an interesting person, and develop a relationship with them as in the movies.’ Oh la la! As a side note about movies- in Russia, Harry Potter translates as Garry Potter. Must say, it loses some of its dramatic effect when you have a dubbed Voldemort rasping “Garrrrrrry Potter”. Hence the title of this entry!

Here be photos, this time with descriptions- oh homework/getting read for uni procrastination, let’s be friends.

Movie poster of my complete failure of an excursion to the cinema. John from the textbook would be so disappointed.
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Wandering around Red Square again on Friday night. I am continually drawn back to Moscow’s dramatic centrepiece, and the alleyways and backstreets scattered around it.
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McDonalds. Sigh. Do you have to be everywhere?!
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The Kotelnicheskaya Apartment block- another of Stalin’s “Seven Sisters” which my uni’s main building also belongs to.
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Church of the Trinity, dating from the 1630s, hidden down the backstreets winding around near the Kremlin- surrounded on all sides by dreary soviet-era apartment blocks, it is a complete shock to round the corner and run into this beauty.
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Looking down Moscow River towards the Kremlin. Definitely getting sunburnt right about now, even though it is 8:00pm.
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A poster at the entry to the Gulag Museum. Chilling museum, very interesting though. The text on the poster says, “What cost people?”
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Charming park where I noshed my way through lunch, to the tunes of the band playing old school Russian dance music- some lovely old couples took a couple of turns around the park.
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Indian restaurant, hunting yummy food. Can report complete success- hidden down an alley, the bollywood on tv and naan totally sealed the deal.
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Wandering around the old streets of Kitay Gorod.
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Translating my horoscope and eating soup. Food here has been great so far- my hostess actually knew what vegan meant, and has been amazing at cooking things I can eat, when I’m not cooking up a storm for myself. Planning on picking up some recipes to bring home! However, it is obvious veganism doesn’t really exist in Russia- buying food on the street is pretty much impossible, and my teacher often makes not-so-veiled references to it being a ridiculous choice- the reason I was hungry just before lunch, was because I didn’t eat the ‘right things’, and tired after a run was because ‘I wasn’t getting enough energy’. Also, fresh fruit and veges aren’t as available or as high quality as they are at home, and prices are always interesting- broccoli comes out at $7 a kilo, but bananas only $1.
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Coffee, the Russian way.
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John from the textbook also advocates Russian friends (“John has made many friends already, he was invited to a housewarming and had lots of fun practicing Russian.”) so where John leads, I shall follow. Thus, I have blind friendship dates lined up for the next 3 nights, and a bouldering/climbing adventure set for the weekend. So if I disappear, please call Ramon, Ana, Natasha or Sari and ask them where they’ve dumped my body. Until next time, (as long as I am not carried off into the sunset by my horoscope predicted lover or sold off by one of my new friends), до свидания-Из России с любовью.

Posted by lucyfbaird 00:20 Archived in Russia Comments (1)

And then I got sunburnt going out on a Thursday night.

You read that right. Post-dinner exploration leading to sunburn. Whod’ve thunk.

sunny 30 °C

Just as I think I am adjusting to life in this hot, busy city, new surprises jump out of the smog to put me in my place. A simple raid of the freezer section of the supermarket and the delighted discovery of frozen blueberries resulted in the familiar flicking of dictionary pages to figure out exactly what I had bought- because the sour imposters on my morning porridge sure as hell weren’t no berries (they were currents. Black currents, to be precise). After a day of class I felt like I was finally beginning to get a grasp of this beautiful and difficult language, which was all turned upside down when two platform-wedge sporting Russian fashionistas asked me for directions (Russians, asking me for directions. Ironic, right?) and I not only didn’t understand a word they purred but also had no idea where I was, let alone where they wanted to be. And that is to say nothing of the dignity-destroying mistakes I make in class- Just yesterday my teacher asked what I often cooked for breakfast, to my emphatic reply; ‘Oh, I always cook cat for breakfast!’, accompanied by a massive grin on my face. (The word for cat, koshka, and porridge, kashka, are regretfully similar). And then, after affectionately recalling the animals of Australia (snakes, boxing kangaroos, spiders etc), Elena (my amazing and almost saintly patient teacher) told me that I could single-handedly stop immigration to my country if they gave me a job at the embassy and asked me to tell prospective immigrants all about home. Well.

However, my silly mistakes and oft-criticised phonetics belong in class, and my real immersion in this language and city begins as soon as I shoulder my bag, put on my sunglasses, whip my hair back and forth Russian style and head off into the hot, hot, heat. Over the past week I have meandered through the monastery where tsars used to send the unwanted women in their lives to get all holy, almost been smothered by tiers upon tiers upon tiers of fluffy, frilly, sequined wedding dress when trying to pass by a wedding party only to find the whole path consumed by the bride’s dress (well, I assume there was a bride in there somewhere; I actually couldn’t see her), sheltered from a storm in a park with the best black rye bread I have ever, ever had, hommus and more Sense and Sensibility (which I have since finished. I was not overly impressed), watched Russian period drama (period drama. In Russian. Lord-ee), and have attempted to address the sad reality that I have no Russian friends (dance parties in the elevator of a morning aren’t as fun as you would expect, especially the shaky elevators in my building). And yes, I am aware of the lack of fullstops in this paragraph but there are just so many stories to tell that as soon as I start a list, I can’t seem to stop myself. However, the purpose of lugging my computer to my windowsill perch this morning was to hit y’all up with some pics, which my last entry was lacking. So I will quit with my lists, and instead give you a snapshot (pun, what?) of my life in Moscow thus far. With plans for a Soviet-themed extravaganza of a theme park thing, a famous market and maybe a nudist beach or two this weekend, look out for another chapter in Lucy-making-a-fool-of-herself-in-the-country-of-irrational-footwear-choices-and-women-constantly-and-obviously-forgoing-underwear (there I go with my lists again) early next week.

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Posted by lucyfbaird 03:53 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day One (and a bit)

(Arrived on Saturday, blogging on Monday. So hardcore.)

sunny 28 °C

As I write this I am basking in the early morning sun (7:30am morning sun, thank you jetlag), at a shaky old kitchen table with a bunch of oddly-numbered chrysanthemums (even numbers are for funerals) and a glass of ‘multifruit’ juice which is suspiciously fluorescent orange. The breeze wafting in the window is fresh but quite warm, typical of a Moscow summer. Soon my host mum will get up, and we will feast on porridge (carried my addiction halfway round the world), apples and coffee, before I head off for a short walk, metro ride and a day of class.

After the familiar airport slog of check-in, customs, waiting at the gate, waiting as boarding time slipped by, waiting to take off, 25 minutes between flights at Doha and being taken for Russian on my flight from there to Moscow (bluffed through it quite well; at least I look the part, but then considering the myriad animal prints and sparkly jean appliqués sported by Russian women perhaps that is not a good thing), I was finally back in Russia; home to 141,850,000 people, 11 time zones, and temporarily, me. For the next four weeks I will be studying at Moscow State University, staying with my host-mum Alexsandra, speaking practically no English and diving headlong into the language that will cause ‘Вы сломаете язык’, or ‘you’ll break your tongue.’

I am staying on the 8th floor of an apartment building, with shaky lifts and a very complex key process- tried to go for a run this morning only to find I have somehow locked myself in. While in outer Moscow, my area is a popular and pleasant place to live, with huge parks nearby, fruit vendors outside the door and all necessary bits and bobs close by. Alexsandra, my host mum, is a widow and has lived alone for 9 years, hosting students most of this time. I am her first student from Australia, and the usual ‘There is no snow in our cities’ and ‘We don’t have minus temperatures where I live’ have caused the usual shock and disbelief. (But really, I do live there. I think I would know.) She speaks German fluently and teaches it at the university, but as my German is limited to ‘Without you everything is stupid’ and ‘I have one water buffalo’ we communicate mostly in a mix of Russian and English.

Of course Alexsandra has her own social life, friends to see and things to do, so Sunday afternoon I was left to my own devices. After being on a plane for so long I think muscular dysentery was starting to set in, I managed to get out of the building and went for a jog in the fresh air. There are hills, parks, mysterious laneways- what better for my restless legs and curious mind. However, be warned- parks in Russia and actually forests with children's play equipment dotted through them. Seriously. I went for another park adventure this morning (Tuesday, yes, I'm confusing time streams and adding info post-event and all those things I am probably not supposed to do for coherency of writing but my brain is swimming with prepositional rules and I just don't care) and found mountain bike trails, but lost myself- yes, my famous sense of direction (or lack thereof) did me poorly, and I ended up having to ask for help. Several times. To get out of the park. A park!! Post-run (back to Sunday, sorry) I had a freezing shower- no hot water until the end of the month, reason being- just because. Thank you, Russian government. I threw on a summer dress, grabbed my hat, sunglasses (I can see you all drooling with jealousy), beaten-up lonely planet and trusty camera. Survived the death-glare of the babyshka behind the metro desk, and made my way into the centre of Moscow. Revisiting Red Square was a familiar and yet foreign feeling- the last time I was here it was snowing and cold, and tourists were few and far between. This time, it was hot, sunny, and the hordes were out to play- Chinese busloads with enormous hats and similarly sized cameras, Russians posing (literally. Reclining on the ground, jutting a hip out on the grass…), and anyone and everyone out enjoying the amazing weather. The colours of Red Square are vibrant under a summer sun, and I feel my camera has failed to do them justice. Russian orthodox churches always strike me as if someone has giving a child, who is on LSD, a rainbow of putty and said (in a typically intimidating Russian manner), you there- make us some buildings. Ridiculous.

I wandered the familiar roads, avoiding cyclists and rollerbladers and posing Russians. Peckish, I grabbed a snack- wait for it- a drumroll banana. Gasp! Doesn’t Russia know about the floods in Queensland? What’s more, my amazing snack cost only 8 roubles. Plug that into your exchange calculator, and it will come up at about 30 cents. However, the banana of bliss failed to completely hit the spot so I decided to hunt out some dinner- at about 8:00pm. Moscow being located where it is, it is light by 5:30am and not dark until 11pm. Bit of a mind trip, but fantastic for getting so much more done! I meandered through back streets until I found Jagannath, a famous vego haunt about 20 minutes walk from Red Square. Bumbling Russian aside, I managed to get a bowl of lentil-rice-tomato amazingness and a salad of zucchini, carrot, red and yellow pepper- happy tummy times. After braving the supermarket I metroed home- steeling myself and returning the babyshkas glare, successfully hauling 2 full shopping bags through line changes and elevator crushes. Home at last at 10pm (still light), I settled in with tea, Russian vogue and 85% Lindt choc for a cozy end to the evening.

Now being Tuesday (milking the free internet while I can, and debating with myself about whether I should get more coffee; I think we already know who will win), I have attended my first two days of class, been left alone with Russian television and no idea how to work the stove, locked myself IN to the apartment (seriously, someone is trying to tell me to give up on running. Lost in a park, locked in the apartment...), conquered Starbucks and been bamboozled by the many , many, many exits to each metro station (so much so someone asked me if I needed help after coming out of the same exit three times, each time looking around befuddled and throwing my hands in the air in disgust before trying again. At least I could answer him though!). Class is great, my teacher is lovely but does laugh at me a little to much for my liking. The internet at the apartment has gone the same way as the hot water, so I will be getting to know Moscow by virtue of cafe-hopping. I am finally kicking my jetlag, and 6am is becoming once again a time looked upon with surprise at its existence, and desire never to become acquainted with (can you tell I've been reading Sense and Sensibility?). I am afraid to say that this internet connection can't deal with photo uploading (Fail, Starbucks, fail) so no pics this time (which is probably the only reason most of you are reading this) but I promise to attempt uploading asap- I have such gems as 'The Russian Man and His Mullet', 'Why Would I Wear a Shirt (Even Though I am Old and Lack Toning)?' 'My University- Stalin Going All Out'. With those titles, I can almost see you shiver with antici....pation.

любовь, from Moscow.

Posted by lucyfbaird 05:11 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

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