good meetings today. one with a central library and one with another ngo. there are just too many laws here that one must follow and figure out in order to get any sort of programme running. ‘Russia for Russians’ was a term used. every building is super secure. keypad outside to get into the main building. then a bell to get into the office you want to get into. met with a lovely lady at the ngo today, who was so enthusiastic and believed in the cause. we had tea in a little room that reminded me of a cottage with old saucers and plates. sort of like a home in london. spent a lot of time in the car.
finally made it to the city centre. red square. kremlin, etc. getting there was a mission though. i mean there is no english written anywhere. even the russian alphabet is different. i took the metro and there are no names on the wall at each station to let you know where you are. so i got to the right station and then getting out was a problem. i think there are 3 levels with trains in the stations and way too many people, that you feel like you are in a can of sardines. fire hazard! so i followed the masses, thinking they would lead me out. instead i kept ending up on other platforms. finally, someone assisted me in english. i spent a good 20 minutes in the station going up and down escalators! i probably looked like a lost child.
now i have seen part of the city centre i suppose. not real busy. doesn’t feel like a ‘downtown’. ended up at GUM department store, of course. Names like Dior, Armani and Zara. found a cute cobblestone street with a starbucks, obviously. what can i say, free wifi and great music. the man next to me is sketching a picture of two girls. he’s not bad actually.
the women here love their heels…like super high heels. and knee high boots.
i guess i need to figure out how to get back to the hotel now. that will be interesting.
The Madness of Moscow
A mixture of the new and old.
Tons of people everywhere,
Even a lady in only her underwear!
And everywhere hookahs.
Busy streets, lots of bustle,
Saucy ads, not much muscle!
Madness of Moscow.
first time on the moscow public transport. some of the stations are beautiful. high, old ceilings. where did all the people come from? non rush hour times are busier than london or new york rush hour. but i guess it is much bigger of a city with way more people. the first subway we got on felt like a rollercoaster. it was super fast and just had no control. next, a taxi. but not a legit one because i have not seen those yet. how do you flag a taxi? well you stand by the side of the road and stick your hand out, as you would in an other city, but random cars will stop. you then find out if they know where to go, negotiate a price and then hop into the stranger’s car! yes, that is what 3 of us did today. gypsy taxi as one of them said. very normal for the other 2 girls. of course, i would not do this on my own. then on the way back from our meeting, we took another form of transport, a van. a public van. the latter part of the afternoon was spent this way. my appetite is definitely back. im okay. had some really good sushi today. still cold. i will have to get into the central city area before the weekend, as then, im off to another are in russia for 2 days. people keep speaking russian to me.
check out the subway system
parent workshop all day. good to see a few fathers out. difficult to sit through a whole day and not understand the language. translation is there, but even that sometimes becomes tiring. nothing superbly exciting to blog. found my second home…starbucks. having a chai and a red velvet cupcake. this is the first meal i have been able to finish in about a week and a half. appetite is gone. not such a bad thing i suppose. moscow is cold and gloomy. hoping to see more in the week. life is full of surprises…some are alright….like a red velvet cupcake in moscow – even if it did not taste quite so.
long day. this is kind of different from being in the ‘field’, in that it is not quite in the field. cannot really say moscow is the ‘field.’ went to valdamir region, 3 hours there and 3 hours back. felt like a 10 hour drive. however, it was nothing like the beautiful drives through the mountains or the bumpy adventures on dirt roads. all i saw was highway.
tajikis/pamiris in russia are our focus for this particular programme. cute baby caught my attention after ages. nice visit. i thought kyrgyzstan was the only place i would get that traditional bread…but no…i had an authentic pamiri meal which consisted of that same bread! i had tea in a special cup today. it was a message to me, ‘my best wish is your happiness’. getting that cup today, from all days, was a nice way to get the message. i was not sure how i was going to feel today and that message came at the right time.
the funniest thing happened today. a lady at bp would not sell me water and toothpaste until the person filling gas in our car paid first. but he had already paid, and then she still wouldn’t ring me in. of course, i left my stuff on the counter and walked out. so strange.
tomorrow is sunday. a full day workshop for parents.
landed in moscow a little after 6, local time. a bit delayed. how do people not board their flight and still not make it to the aircraft in the time it takes to remove their bags off the plane? the traffic into town was brutal. first thoughts: not such a pretty place in terms of natural beauty. unless of course you count the russian women. concrete. new and old. skyscrapers scattered here and there. great 5 lane roads. many one way roads. bright signs. big malls. ikea. marks and spencer. no flowers. english is not a problem. interesting that every driver i meet here, or in kyrgyz is named alexander!
went to an indian restaurant for dinner. what a view. the moscow state university was the most magnificent building in the skyline. there are 7 buildings (sister) that look the same. like…wow. this weekend is a full day to evening work weekend so tonight i had a briefing. the food was great and i have a much better understanding of the programmes and why they began. it was only difficult to hear one another, every 10 to 15 minutes when the music was pumped and the russian dancer came out to belly dance! we watched her perform 5 times. what to do.
moscow has more billionaires living in the area than any other city in the world. i will have to check out tret’yakovskiy proezd and if i get time, though it does not look like it based on my schedule, hit the russian ballet.
get to sleep in a bit tomorrow…until 9 so that will be nice. it is friday, midnight. i found an english TV channel. god only knows what i am watching though. the ‘radio’ channel is wicked.
nice to be back out in the field after a couple of months.