Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moscow—It’s like Texas, but communist.

Moscow—It’s like Texas, but communist

The saying goes that everything is big in Texas.  If everything is big in Texas, everything is epic in the former soviet Russia.  Moscow takes the epic cake if you will and builds a giant statue of Lenin on top of it, then eats it all and has the nerve to ask if you liked the cake.  

Best Baba dolls ever:

First off, the hostel situation was not nearly as good as in Peter. Maybe that is because we had such a good time at the last one that the next was bound to fail.  The main problem with this one was getting that all too common guy that has a problem with Americans without actually knowing any.  Everybody is guilty of this at some point. Luckily for us we met a group of the French in St. Peter and had been hanging out with them in Peter and Moscow. So France’s image wasn’t ruined by the one douche.

Pretty horses statue:

Initial highlights have been the Stalin Skyscrapers, seven or eight different buildings done in similar styles as the Empire State Building. They are placed throughout the city and are beautiful communist relics. Gorky park was a strong highlight as well. We rented go kart type of bikes, fulfilling a strong desire of Chris’s, with our French friends and rode all throughout the park, which is quite large. It is a cool park that runs along side of the river.

It rained and that is one of Stalin's skyscrapers:
 KGB building:

Like I was saying before Russia is a pretty epic place and if there was a heart connecting to that epic pulse it would be Moscow, specifically Red Square.  Red Square has a powerful presence for many, many reasons: There is only one size in the Square and that is immense; all of the buildings are beautiful; the many statues always depict a powerful man giving a stern stare and/or crushing something like the Nazis under his heel. The most epic part of Red Square is Lenin’s Mausoleum. The room is stone silent, with dim lighting barely lighting the crimson and black walls.  In the middle of the room is a well-lit plexiglass box with Lenin’s embalmed body laying in it. He just seemingly rests there with his hands to his sides as thousands of visitors come to look at him four times a week.   It has a bit of a haunting feeling to it, but that is well worth and incredibly fascinating.

A bad ass:
 Typical Russia:

Both St. Peter and Moscow have great metro systems. Both of which you ride a 3-minute escalator deep under the cities. St. Peter seemed to have a bit better quality trains and was a bit more English friendly but Moscow wins by having essentially museums as metro stations. Moscow, if you look at the map below, consists of concentric circles that become huge as you go away from the center. One of the rings is known as the golden ring and each of its stations make for great poor man’s museum.  On paper Moscow has 10 million people, but the locals say that there are about 7-8 million people living there illegally and 2-3 million visiting or doing the tourist thing. So at any given moment the city has 20 million people there.  During out four days there, we saw the central ring only. It is surrounded by 8 or 9 other district of the same size.  Remember that if you travel there.


 Bill 6:
 More typical stuff:

Engrish.  We realized that this trip will become increasingly difficult as it goes on.  Starting in Petersburg was  easy. It seemed that almost every sign had the English translation below, and lots of people spoke English. Moscow seemed to have lost most English translations, but we still seemed to find some English speakers as we went.  The farther into Russia we get, we are assuming that English will probably become a bit rare.  Finally crossing over into Mongolia, the Russian will become less useful to us, although signs will still be written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Finally in China, we just won’t understand anything.  I am excited.

Anyhow, I need to get back to looking out the window of my train. The next stop in Yekaterinburg.




  1. Such an adventure!! Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks and hearing even more about it! Lou and I are living vicariously thru YOUR travels....thank you for sharing. Love, Alice and Lou

  2. It’s never too early to think about the Third Goal. Check out Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Oh! If you want a good laugh about what PC service was like in a Spanish-speaking country back in the 1970’s, read South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir.