Musings on the daily events in politics and sports as well as some local bar stops along the way in LA.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Moscow part 2

So we wake up around 3:30 or 4:00 pm and realize that we basically missed the entire day and we need to get a move on if we want to see anything in Moscow. We discuss where we want to go and quickly come to the realization that we have absolutely no clue what Moscow has to offer. Whenever you ask someone about Moscow you never get a response of you’ve got to see this or that all you get are big smiles and “Moscow huh hell ya that place is crazy” (which actually is exactly the response you would get from me if you tell me youre going to Moscow). So we figure we should go see Red Square again this time sober and in daylight. Noubar and Sevag put on their shorts and we head over to the Subway. The first thing I notice while going down the escalator and into the subway stop is that at the bottom of the escalator theres a person sitting in a booth and simply watching everyone go up and down. Its somebody’s job to simply observe everyone going through the subway, what kind of Communist era holdover surveillance is this. Once we get past big brother watching over us we head into the stop, now I’ve heard the Moscow subway is supposed to be crazy but this is insane. A train comes literally once every minute, there’s even a timer that resets every time the train comes, and it never gets past 100 seconds. When we get into the train its one of the more depressing sites you’ll see. Every single person sitting in the train is either asleep or staring into space looking like a zombie. Now I know people are thinking that’s how every subway is but this is to an entirely different level. There isn’t a single person smiling, laughing, talking, or engaging in any other activity that reflects happiness or pleasure. The people look like the life has been sucked out of them, its really impossible to explain until you see it. I now understand where Russian literature comes from and why its always so depressing, it’s a reflection of its people. Now this is much more true for the older generation than the younger one. (I could write an entire entry on the difference of the generations and the future of Russia but this is a party blog for now so maybe another day)
We get off the subway and head over to Red Square which is a madhouse all of a sudden. All we know of Red Square is when it was empty and lit up now its full of tourists and randoms hanging out. We go into the square and try to get someone to take a picture of us in front of St. Basils Cathedral (the famous church in there, basically the cool looking building you know). Apparently digital cameras haven’t taken off in Russia because the first few Russians had no clue how to use one, with one person we just pretended they took the picture because it looked like they were never gonna figure it out. We go inside the cathedral just so we can say we did something that day but didn’t spend too much time in there because A- its not that interesting its basically a church and B- Sevag was about to pass out since we haven’t eaten in a ridiculous amount of hours. We go to the huge mall attached to the Kremlin and eat the greatest food in the world- fried chicken (no matter where you go fried chicken is always great). Then we just start walking around the city by the river thinking about going to Gorky park only because its in the Scorpions winds of change song which educated us about Moscow more than anything else we knew. We start heading over to the park when we pass by some strip of restaurants and shops that Noubar recognized as the part of town that he always heard about from his Mom so we decide to go there and have a beer. It looks like a touristic area and we quickly get stopped by the cops who ask us for our “paperwork” which means our passports, visa and registration card stamped by our hostel. Now nobody told us we need those items so no all of us have all of them. I have all of mine and Sevag has his while Noubar doesn’t have his hotel registration card which is a small piece of paper that’s incredibly easy to lose, the only reason I have mine is because I had put it in my passport. Noubar starts talking to them in Russian and they don’t realize he doesn’t have everything so we keep moving. We go into a few stores and walk down the street for about 7-10 min before we get stopped again. These cops seem much more eager to find something wrong, they see Sevag’s hotel registration stamp is smeared a bit so they accuse him of doctoring it and are about to make a huge deal out of it until they realize that Noubar doesn’t even have his registration card. You look at these guys and you can see they feel like they just hit the jackpot… these punk Americans kids vacationing in Moscow they must be stupid and rich! So they tell Noubar its his lucky day and they’ll let him off easy with the minimum fine of about $120 or so. Noubar says he doesn’t have anywhere near that amount and we’re all just starving students. They tell him to ask his friends for the money and he tells them were his friends not parents, they go back and forth in Russian for a while. They explain to us how Moscow is a restricted city and you cant just walk around freely with no papers. (I hope tourism isn’t expected to be one of the top economic sectors for Russia) Noubar starts telling them stories how his uncle was a Russian cop hoping they’ll sympathize with him. They finally settle on a great deal of about 5 bucks or so but then as Noubar opens up his wallet they see the 500 ruble bill ($25 or so) in there and quickly raise the price and basically force him to pay that amount, it’s a good thing they didn’t see the $100 bill he had in there. The cops finally leave and we walk into a café style place with outdoor seating right on the strip. We head in there and have beers in huge 22oz glasses and are basically hanging out. We’re telling stories ad laughing when this HUGE drunk guy with arms the size of my head and tattoos everywhere comes up to Sevag and starts pounding on the table while yelling at him about an inch from his face. Sevag has no clue whats going on and points and Noubar to translate when the guy thinks Sevag is blaming Noubar so he goes up to Noubar doing the same thing and Noubar is trying to think and explain as fast as he can but is basically talking nonsense trying to buy time until he says how we’re Armenians and the guy starts asking Noubar if he’s knows of Khatchadoorian and Noubar says ya the composer and the guy says no [estrid or something] and Noubar thank god knew the guy as some Russian Armenian comedian and all of a sudden this guy is our friend. We offer to buy him a beer but he yells at us that he can pay for his own beer. He explains that he’s an ex prison guard from the Soviet era and proceeds to fall asleep at the table. Now were all sitting quietly laughing under our breaths as to not wake him up because we feel if he wakes up he might forget he likes us and try to kill us like some inmate trying to escape. He wakes up and offers to take us to a strip club but we basically want nothing to do with this guy so we explain to him we’re in shorts which means tourist which means were going to get screwed. He tells us not to worry because we’re with him but for some reason that’s not really convincing us. Its getting late so we leave to get some vodka and get to get ready to go out.

We buy two bottles of vodka and start drinking to figure out where we’re going to go. We remember some people telling us about a cool club but we think it might not be happening since its Tuesday night. After cashing the first bottle at about 1am we remember there’s a strip club in the hostel so we check it out. Shockingly the strip club in a random hostel in a not so popular part of town doesn’t have the worlds best strip club so we leave and head back over to Che (the bar we went to last night). We hail a gypsi cab to get out there and get a drink at Che. We leave Che about 2am to head over to the club when we remember about the Turkish girl we met last night who wanted to go clubbing with us. We decide were drunk enough to call her at 2am on a Tuesday and who cares anyway she’s a Turk they killed our ancestors so we can call their sluts whenever we feel like. I use Noubars cell phone that his cousins gave him and I call the number she gave me. I quickly realize that not everyone in Moscow has a cell phone and it’s a house line that I just called. Now how exactly do I realize this? Because her MOM picked up the phone. Her mom doesn’t speak English like she did so I hand the phone over to Noubar who starts talking to the mom asking if her daughter is there (we’re thinking her mom is gonna start yelling who the hell are these drunk guys asking for my daughter at 2am on a Tuesday but Noubar said that she was apparently incredibly nice and telling him to call back tomorrow since she’s sleeping. We get to the club wasted as usual and this is the greatest club ive ever been to. The music is the best trance ever and this place is packed. The music was really incredible but more importantly theres something everyone in the world needs to learn about Moscow. Now theres la hot which is basically a sluttier hot, theres NY/Paris hot which is a more stylish hot, theres model hot which is a combination of both and then theres Moscow hot which is first of all legs, legs and more legs combined with Anna Kournikova bodies and long blond hair. For some reason they wear sunglasses inside this club but who cares it just makes them hotter. Nothing really happened at the club except for the greatest music ever with Russian women everywhere dancing until 10am and did I mention that it was a TUESDAY. This city really is crazy… cant wear shorts, zombie subway rides, corrupt cops, drunk prison guards, hostel strip clubs, partying till past dawn on Tuesdays… and this was our first full day there, only one word can describe it MOSCOW.

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