Thursday, October 22, 2009
Well, the Mayor of Moscow has decided maybe it is more cost effective to do this than to let it snow this year......
Moscow will blast clouds from the sky this winter to save money on snow removal, a city official said Wednesday, but the plan threatens to anger the surrounding region, which would have to cope with the extra powder.
Airborne snowfall prevention will save the city about 300 million rubles ($10.2 million) this winter, said Andrei Tsybin, head of City Hall’s department for public works and utilities. Moscow is ready to spend about 180 million rubles to disperse clouds “in the event of very big and serious snowfall,” he said at a news conference.
Mayor Yury Luzhkov is a long-time proponent of fighting clouds by spraying liquid nitrogen, silver, or cement particles into the cloud mass, which forces precipitation to fall before it can reach the capital and spoil holidays like Victory Day and City Day.
What do you think?
I am certain PETA does not exist in Russia. One day, I saw bear skins, but the batteries in my camera were dead - so, you only get to see the wolf skin.
Mosaic on church in Red Square...
The only part I can read is below Medvedev - "where is my truth.... " Also, there was a Russian Football (soccer) match that night. That is why the guys in front were dressed up. Russia lost to Germany.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
So, about 3 weeks ago, it was decided that I would return to the US as soon as possible.
Although I really was not finished in Moscow, I agree it is the correct decision, and am looking forward to having more sanity and comfort in my life.
But, there are still many pictures to post - and stories to tell!
One quick story from last week - so I decided to go back to the Tretyakov Art Gallery - I had been there before, but I knew it was important for me to go back. I needed to see some of the works of art again - because I knew they were an important part of my decision to come here (I'll post on that later)...
Everywhere in Moscow has a cloakroom - you would never take your coat into a restaurant or theater or museum... So, I go to the cloakroom. Well, apparently my US made jacket does not have a little horizontal tag at the neck area with which it is supposed to be hung... The babushka was quite irritated and told me I needed to pay 10 rubles for her to hang it on a hanger.
No, 10 rubles is not much - there are paper bills worth that amount - but of course I don't have any. So I end up counting out all of my change - down to the kopecks.....
Well hey, at least I agree that charging 10 rubles to hang something on a coat hanger is probably a profitable business decison....
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
This is a news story about the illegal immigrants arriving here in Moscow. I found this story to be quite haunting. Although I realize it is really not different than the immigrants illegally arriving in the US every day - I think I see more of it here.
Snoop Dog returns to Moscowhttp://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/381274.htm Buddhists love Medvedev?
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1292/42/381214.htm cop runs over someone, hides body, investigates self?
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1292/42/381083.htm killed with a hammer?
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1016/42/380874.htm hunting sheep from a helicopter?
And I swear, I saw something really shady happening in a Georgian Restaurant tonight... Hachipuri was excellent though...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It is my medicine here. Since I don't do yoga or exercise regularly - I go here
There is actually a good video here demonstrating how it is done. Fully clothed, no oil. It is like rythmic, assisted yoga. They stretch and pull using their body weight and some really interesting moves.
So, this is the salon I go to for everything. They speak some English... and believe me, when trying to communicate what you want done to your hair, that is important. When walking up Bolshaya Ordynka - I see St. Basil's down the street before I get there. Yes, it is in some back alleyway... but it is good.
They have the best jasmine green tea here....I am always amazed. And, I am amazed at the feeling I get when I walk down the stairs into the massage room. The incense, the music. Reminds me of yoga class and GrayBear. They give you a t-shirt and baggy cotton pants to put on. I always think of Jason from GrayBear who lives in Thailand alot of the time.
The first thing she does is strike the singing bowls. You yoga people will know, but I can't describe to you how calming that is. The second thing she does is to wash my feet in a bowl of water with rose petals. Even though Thai massage is clothed, it is still very phyiscal and close.
For two hours, she presses and pulls and stretches. Look at the video - there is one point where she has her knees bent, and the person's back is arched up over her knees. That was amazing. And another where she sort of swings you from side to side...
This helps me. It brings me back to my body. Back to here, and now.
Something in my new book described Russia as Schizophrenic - which is defined as - "abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. Distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch" and I must say I agree, although probably not in the bad way most people would first assume.
But Thai Massage (and yoga if I would go) relieves this distortion. Right now, I choose the Lazy Man's yoga. It is worth every penny.
I guess this is the only place outside of work and the grocery store where I am surrounded by people living daily life. It was quite eye-opening. I had been told that some of our clients at work still did business manually, like the railroad has all of these babushkas keeping the books on paper.... now, I understand and believe it.
Inside the bank was quite a jumble of lines... They don't really know how to make lines here... Older people, from the Soviet times, who seemed quite upset - all I could make out was this old guy did not have his passport, and he was upset because he did not know he needed it.....
Ok, so my turn comes. Polina gives a paper to the clerk with the number of the account - or Visa card? we are going to put this money on. I had 100,000 Rubles in an interoffice envelope in a small paper bag........ I never thought I'd be doing this... But, a girl was telling me how when her parents bought their apartment, they transported the cash in suitcases. Apparently, you can hire protection for these sorts of things to accompany you on the metro. I often wonder what people are carrying in those large bags.
Back to the bank... I give my passport, and she looks for my visa, because it has my name in cyrillic. She asks Polina how much - "sto teseech" which is one hundred thousand transliterated into the roman alphabet. Ok, so I have to sign two receipts, and she gives me this poker chip...
Seriously, it was a poker chip with 21 on it.
Another line.... to go into this room where I actually give the money. The lady puts it in a counting machine.. Yep, 100,000. So, I get a receipt - which Polina tells me to keep, and we are done.
This is normal life. This is what people have to do. I told Polina I was fascinated, because I would not have believed it.
I finally found a book that I think will help me understand how things work here.
I started it today, and have almost finished it. It is like everything has started to click in the last few weeks... I have realized all of my shock and confusion was because I expected things to work like they did in the US (at least at work) - but what I know now is that CULTURE overrides everything.... and I was not understanding that culture.
I am sure I will enlighten you with many interesting facts....
Well, I have another post to make about something really good!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I was starting to watch it tonight - and I had forgotten that some of the opening scenes are in Moscow. When I heard Russian being spoken, I thought, oh no, this wasn't one of the English language CDs.... but then I rememebered... Red Square, the State Historical Museum, the workers in the FedEx warehouse, the translation of Tom Hank's speech, the numbers on the buildings, yes, this is Moscow...
What was funny, when the FedEx driver delivered a package to an American guy (from his wife) to an apartment where he was with his Russian girlfriend, the American's Russian was so bad! I think he was supposed to be from Texas - had a cowboy hat on....
So, I am learning to improvise so many of the conveniences we are used to in America. Here are things I have done in the last week that I never would have done at home:
- Every summer, the hot water goes out in Moscow. It rotates, depending on your neighborhood. Water is heated centrally here, so they say they have to clean the pipes.... So, I have no hot water. I do have this sketchy little contraption I (or my landlord who still has not collected last month's rent) could attach to the shower... Now, I am sure safety standards are not required here, and the thought of electrocution quite frightens me... So, I have learned to boil water for showers and washing dishes.... So, you GrayBearians..... I am getting payback for all of those cold plunges I was afraid of!
- I have started cooking more here, because I cannot find the food I want here..... I have made macaroni and cheese, and refried beans from scratch this week - wait till I bust out the chicken and dumplings!
- I was trying to find some really cheap trips to Egypt, but the site was all in Russian....so, I had to use my Russian (some sites - especially ones that require input - like dates, do not translate with services like Babelfish)....
I was chatting with someone at work today in the US, and they said, "it must be frustrating." I said, "Yeah, it is, but you get over it." And someone else here in Moscow commented on my "resilience."
I think - it is just different, and once you learn how it works, it is much easier. I can easily walk just oustide my apartment and become so grateful that I have enough food, I am not homeless, and I come from a country where anything really is possible.
Travelling, and especially living in another country really shifts your perspective on many things. Things no one could tell you, because you would never believe it possible from your own set of experiences.
Ok, now back to the movie!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
It is a contest where people make their own flying machines and fly them off of a barge into the river. I had actually seen one of these in Nashville, and it was alot of fun...
The reason it is fun is because they really have no idea if they will fly until they try them out in the contest.... No motor power is allowed... Some of them obviously will not fly at all, and fall straight to the water.. That was the case today with "The Kook" team....
Here are a bunch of pictures - keep in mind, there were tens of thousands of people - so we chose a spot where we could see the end of the barge, and watch it closer on the screen...
This was a mosquito - a "gangster mosquito" I was told....
Random Crowd Shots
The Kook team - basically, it was a head......they made no attempt to actually make this fly....
Ok, here is the Kook........we wondered if the white things were supposed to be teeth - they all went and just jumped off the barge... then, a white hand pushed the head into the water...