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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Roman, Red Square (x2), Restaurant

Just don't get used to my fancy titles.

I guess a lot of the western media seems to think that russians are particularly on edge after the recent events in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia, including the (as far as i know) rumor that there is still at least one chechen women with explosives in moscow (two were on the planes, one blew up at the metro and apparently one is some sort of boss type). i don't know if this is true, or if it has been substantiated or what, but that's what I heard. I'm leaving for Yaroslavl tomorrow afternoon, with or without my missing suitcase, and hopefully i'll be able to start posting photos from there.

Last night I met up with my good friend from Middlebury, Roman, and he gave Dan and I a fun tour of the city. We went to a small and entirely unmarked restaurant in this basement, which he said is a really popular place for fast and inexpensive russian food. certainly not a fast-food place, but it was comparable to a small pub i guess. It was crowded, a bit noisy, and a good time. I might have remembered what it was called if there had been a sign or anything, but the only way to find this restaurant was to know someone who knows where it is. Dan and I could have gotten by with our russian, but we were lucky to have roma because the hostess wasn't very friendly and the waitress was impatient, even with him. all told though, it was a vastly more enjoyable experience than eating in the little tourist cafe along the arbat, where the waiter wouldn't even answer me in russian.

after dinner we started walking and roman ended up taking us past a few really beautifully lit up churches and into the district where bulgakov lived and worked. We took the tram where annushka severed berlioz' head, which runs past patriarch's park (where the famous first encounter in master & margarita takes place). from there we walked back to red square (i went there earlier in the day after orientation activities, too) and we did the touristy thing and took a bunch of pictures. It's quite a bit prettier at night, although it was temporarily less crowded when i was there during the day because there were sun showers and i had the fortune of getting out into the middle of the square just as the rain was stopping..

anyhow, a lot of nice pictures, and a few short videos from red square and the tram ride. hopefully i'll be able to post some of it once i get to yaroslavl, but none of the public computer places i've found in moscow permit people to bring in anything on disk.

plan for tonight is meeting up with roman around 5. he's trying to gather everyone else he can find in moscow from middlebury so we can all say hello and goodbye for the year. after that, who knows? nights almost invariable end earlier here, it seems, because the metro shuts down at 1 and what's left to do outside in moscow at that point i've no business taking part in.

another note of some interest - moscow is a tremendously clean city, at least in the center. the metro, especially, is remarkably clean for a major city because they shut it down for four hours every night and orchestrate a monstrous clean up operation. if i get a chance today i'm going to ride the inner ring of the metro and take pictures of the metro stations because they are stunning. some of the ones built during stalin's reign seriously look like rooms in a palace or something, and if i don't get pictures up soon you should look for some on the internet.

however, i must be going. also have to check to see if lufthansa has found my bag yet. hope all are well

scott