Oct 3, 2011

i figured it was about time i got around to this... moscow day 1

so, moscow. 2 weeks ago. i'm a horrible blogger already. it's a lot like writing in my journal... i get really excited about it and good at doing it for like a month... or a week... and then i suck. but! i'm gonna get caught up! i swear! so- MOSCOW. RUSSIA. EUROPE. ACROSS THE OCEAN. how cool is my life right now?!? i think it's pretty great. but i've been having a good weekend :) anyways, focusing. now. alright. fair warning- lots of typing and blabbing in this post.

so, we take an overnight train to moscow. we sat on the floor at the train station, because there was no more places to sit and a cleaner lady started throwing water at people and splashing them. we went out to the train and we realized we were surrounded by 5 groups of spanish and other men. that was fun.
 we wanted to go as cheap as possible, so on the way there we sat instead of having beds. not so horrible, right? we did it on a plane. wrong. it was horrible. but that's neither here, nor there. it was my first time on a train! besides the metro. that doesn't count. so it was a very exciting day. turns out there was a creepy guy right behind a couple of the girls and kitty corner and down one from me. in the middle of the night he got up and acted like he was gonna look around a bit and then he realized one of us girls was still awake. it was bekka, and so he started talking to her, and trying to get her to go outside for a smoke. she started talking really loud to wake everyone else up and eventually just kicked leslie to wake her up. apparently he was going to moscow for a birthday party and then he was gonna play hard core techno punk in the woods..... with his guitar.... and he needed to figure how many liters of vodka he needed to stay warm because it was going to be 7 degrees! we meet some interesting characters. 
this is how happy we were after the train ride.
after a whole night on a train, i really had to pee. i had to pay like a dollar to use this squatter. and provide my own toilet paper. freaking ridiculous. i hate 15 million people cities. you never realize how much you take for granted in america. like free public restrooms. i miss america. 
funny story behind this picture.... so we had plans to stay with some of the ILP girls in moscow to save money. so we had instructions about where to go- "get off at this metro station, get on this bus, and then you'll see this and this and this, it should take about this long, call me when you get to here". so allison calls the head teacher there who was supposed to meet us to tell her we were getting close. she said that she was waiting for us at the bus stop, and NOT to get off if we didn't see her there. not long after that phone call, we get to this bus stop and the bus driver turns around and starts speaking to us in russian and looks at us like, "why aren't you getting off my bus right now?" there was other people still on, but it seemed like it could have been the right spot and he seemed to know/think that this was our stop. so we sit there for a few minutes while allison tries to get ahold of the HT again, but she's not there, and she's not answering and she said she was already there waiting, so we didn't get off and eventually the bus driver kept going.  we ended up way out in the boonies of moscow. the bus driver stops eventually and turns around and starts yelling at us in russian again. of course, we don't know what he's saying. it doesn't take long for us to realize that we rode the bus all the way to the last stop- especially when he pulls the bus into a parking lot and turns it off. and then gets out and leaves. we get ahold of the HT and find out that the stop he was telling us to get off at, was in fact our stop. apparently a big group of american girls is something people notice in russia. he comes back not long after and starts calling people and laughing, and we know he's talking about us from picking up on a few words, so we start laughing, so all 9 of us are just laughing our heads off on this bus and the bus driver starts yelling at people out the window, asking them if they speak english. of course, none of them do. he asks us if we can call someone who speaks russian. and i finally think of our native coordinator, alla! so we call her and try to explain our situation, that we need the bus driver to take us back to our stop, but she doesn't understand. so she calls the moscow coordinator who calls allison, who explains the situation and then it finally gets explained to the driver. of course we're in the back seat filling in the conversation as we please. the bus driver agreed to take us back for no extra charge, but we'd have to wait 20 minutes. so we start playing catch phrase. he starts calling all his driver buddies over to look at us. we offer him cookies. it's a good time. finally, we get back to our bus stop. the moscow girl said, "wow what a way to start out a trip, huh?" we were annoyed. it was her fault. it made for a good time tho. 
alright, enough about that....

so went into their dorms, (they were at a school and they were frickin nice! especially compared to our ghetto apartment) and freshened up. then headed out to see the city!
arc de triumph russian style! built for victorious russian soldiers. it was originally wood, but then they changed it so stone.
 mockba! a functioning clock made of grass and flowers? so dang cool.
just another beautiful cathedral! it looks simple from the outside, but it's amazing on the inside! a lot like st. isaac's cathedral in st. petersburg 
 beautiful fountains!
 part of the museum of the great patriotic war (AKA WWII)

 this pillar is phenomenal! there's so much detail engraved on every inch of it, it's so amazing!
 everlasting flame :)
 hall of memory and sorrow. so beautiful. so peaceful. so sad.
 the statue symbolizing all the mourning mothers/sisters/women for their men who died
 words can not describe. pictures can not capture.
lists of names of men who died

 hall of glory
 sword? what?
 beautiful? more than a little bit.

and then there was arbat street... a wonderful cultural place with a street filled with artists of all kinds. 
musicians- both drunk and sober. both with instruments and without. 
aritsts- with spray paint. finger painting. drawing. pictures. all sorts
sculptors- this one guy had iron or something figurines of people, but distorted... cool, but trippy.
puzzle bracelets!

i like it at night too. it's a fun place. it's a party :)

and after leaving arbat street, we had some more transportation troubles....
so again, that moscow head teacher. she told us that the easiest bus home ran until 10. so we get to the nearest stop with 5 minutes to spare. and no bus... we waited till a quarter after... and no bus. so we figured the route finished at 10, not that the last run was at 10 and got back on the metro and headed to a different stop. we were waiting for our bus number and we kept seeing that bus pull out and drive in the opposite direction. we really wanted to get home by that point, so we considered taking a taxi, but the driver told us that the bus stop was right there and to just wait. so we did. except that the freaking buses kept just driving away! fed up, allison runs out into the middle of the street, in front of the bus, and chases it down to let us on. turns out we were just down the street a little bit from the bus stop. so we get on the bus and there's this super creepy guy that i can tell speaks english and understands us just plastered and staring at us and listening to us and taking pictures of us on his phone and sending them to his friends... not cool. there was this other old guy who walked by us, because we were kind of in front of the door. i had the following conversation with him:
him: "excuse me."
me: "oh, you speak english?"
"yes, of course."
"oh, so you know we're stupid americans?"
"it's ok." (like he forgave us for it.) "i expect it."
and we're just laughing because we're so tired. then a nice guy started talking to us and helped make sure we got off the bus at the right stop and home ok. then security guards at the school started yelling at us, because it was like 12:30 when we got there. oh good times. 

and then there was day 2....


  1. the real toilets are actually worse half the time... the squatters are just difficult