First weekend in the big city

March 28, 2010

Дорогые Друзья!

It’s Sunday evening in Moscow, and that means my first full weekend of Russian life has come to a close. There were no crazy discotheques, no loose Russian women, and no heavy boozing, I’m sorry to report. This weekend was mostly a chance to relax, take a step back, and try to really comprehend what was happening all around us.

On Saturday, most of the students in our group met up at Lenin’s Mausoleum to catch a glimpse of the man himself. Unfortunately, we arrived at just about the time that visiting hours were winding down, and had to save our respects for another day.

We wandered around red square for a while, and eventually went into the giant shopping center that sits across from Lenin’s Tomb.

GUM (ГУМ), or Главный универсалный магазин (you see why GUM, pronounced goom, makes a little more sense) is a huge shopping center that is three stories tall, three enormous sections wide and home to hundreds of shops. It’s exactly what you would expect to find 75 yards from Lenin’s final resting place. It’s an absolutely beautiful building and each of the three sections has a roof like the arcade in Cleveland.

After all the malls and dead Lenins, it was time to explore the rest of the downtown area around the Kremlin. Cameras at the ready, we strolled around taking pictures of absolutely everything; we are tourists after all.

Well, at this point I would be posting pictures but the internet here in Russia is–well–the internet in Russia, and it is not cooperating. My pictures are taking years to upload and mostly not uploading at all, but I promise a make-up post coming soon.

Anyway, we walked from Red Square to this ridiculous underground mall called Okhotny Riad (which means hunter’s row, Охотный Ряд). It’s the place to be if you’re into underground malls, its three stories and spans a pretty sizable distance. I’m not really all that into underground malls though, so we didn’t stick around too long

After Охотный Ряд, we all went our separate ways and I headed home for some good ol fashioned Russian din din. Trevor and I met up around 8 to check out the University, МГУ. We wanted to walk around the Lenin Hills, which is where the University is located. We ended up just getting lost and taking a huge roundabout way of finding our way back to the Metro.

Rounding out the weekend, I just wanted to have a nice day of relaxation before classes really get started on Monday. Trevor came over and we hung out with Vladimir for a while. He fed us and we talked about Russian film and our education. Eventually Anya came home and we played Scrabble in Russian for the first time. It was pretty entertaining and I surprised myself being able to come up with a few words that would work.

Following the little get-together at my place, we headed over to Trevor’s so I could meet his family. She served us Russian pancakes called bleeny (блыны) and some Champagne from the Crimea. We talked for a while, and then it was time to head home for a little evening чай (tea, pronounced like chai) and some more well deserved rest.

Now It’s just about time for bed, and off to Школа Китайгородской first thing in the morning. More updates are imminent.

Спокойной ночи (Good night)




2 Responses to “First weekend in the big city”

  1. steve davis Says:

    What is the Russian name for Scrabble?

    • Kevin Says:

      It’s still Scrabble, they just say it with heavy Russian accents. Скрэббль is what it might look like in Cyrillic. But I’d say you’ll usually just see it in English. The game pieces are in Cyrillic of course, but the name of the game doesn’t change.

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