Memories from Moscow

26 Jul

It’s a bit weird to be writing memories, since i’v been here only for about five hours, but my impressions seem to be here to stay and i would like to cheer up Roxana and Alvaro ,  in their summercamp last days in Barcelona, and follow one of Serkan’s suggestions, he made before I went to Brazils, as well as entertain all the nice people that liked my status.

Before travelling to an Eastern European country, especially the none-Vishegrad central european ones that are more like Western Europe, I feel a bit uneasy. It’s a strange uneasiness that I never have when doing something that is new to my biography: so I must confess yesterday I was more uneasy about coming here than I was the day before I moved to Brazil wihtout personally having met almost no one from the Latin American continent beforehand. Fortunately, my flatmate consolled me saying: it’s good that u are a bit uncomfortable, you can’t release endorphine all the time.

So, I woke up at 5 am in a funny mood, went to Tegel Airport, only to notice that I had been to there every second week for the past one or two months. I know the place by heart. The airport crew was incredibly friendly and experienced. I was suprised at their reproachless professionality until I found out at the end that we should fill in a survey.

The plane landed at Vnukovo airport at shortly past 1 pm, at 2.15 we were still standing in line waiting for the passport control to give us little sheets of paper to sign that w mustn”t lose, although they have the size of an event flyer, albeit none of the design and hand in in order to exit the country. Standing in line in front of me was a middle aged German couple, or maybe they were alrady retired. I always get confused but new people I meet in Western Europe, since they look a lot younger than my Romanian childhood and youth taught me to estimate. The woman turned to me and started complaining in a gentle but sarcastic tone: we couldh’ve flown again during the time we have been waiting here. I smiled and told her: yes in Europe we forget what it is like to be using passports for every travel we make. She smiled cordially and looks for a shorter queue.

I am surpized of how fast I got into the Eastern European (forgive my essentialist use of the name of this region, I mean post-socialist compliance to bureaucracy to be more exact) reaction to the customs officer. Since th German couple had found a shorter queue I found myself behind a Spanish young man with a visa problem. Not a real one, let us say it was a mere detail. He had flown today although his visa was only given to start tomorrow. I understood there was a problem and came closer to the passport control. The woman explained to me in Russian and with the aid of a piece of paper that the visa only started tomorrow so he should wait until 12 pm and than enter the country. In doing this she pointed at the seats. The Spanish guy asked if there was nothing he could do. The answer was wait. Where I noticed my Eastern European-ness was when I heard myself reply to him: but it’s only ten hours to go. Another thing that struck me in this interaction was that I was reluctant to adress him in Spanish, language which I do have some fluncy in, but was comfortable trying my few words of Russian with the lady behind the desk. I think the reason for that was that she expected me to speak Russian, whereas he couldn’t have known that I spoke Spanish.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the guy behind and go into Moscow. Again trying my few words of Russian, I find the airexpress to go into moscow. The train is perfectly equipped (including supervision cameras) and quite expensive. You can even order an English language local newspaper, or so much i could make out of the menu, albeit i did not see anyone to order it from. The landscape going into Moscow is a mix of green landscapes, little village like villa settlements and judging by their similarity to Romanian places they probably represent the homes of the newly rich and very tall skyscraper-like appartment buildings, probably from the socialist time. I think I even had a glance of the monumental university in the south west of Moscow. But I might just have been imaging it.

I was struck by the feeling that Moscow is like Istanbul. Since you feel you are IN the city. There is a small you and a big city, that hosts you. Feeling I never have when in Berlin or Bucharest. Maybe because they are not as endless and as intense as Istanbul and Moscow.

I reached kiewskaya and tried to change to the subway circular line. I nearly didn’t notice the nice seeling paintings depicting wokrs (?) since everybody was rushing by me in such speed that I felt pressured to move in the same way. Another thing I had forgotten since my visit to Petersburg: the escalor is so fast. Looking at the people going up whilst you go done, you barely have a moment to observe their expressions and try to guess their thoughts. Thank God I wasn’t there during rush hour. All in all a quite confusing experience.

After getting lost while trying to change the line, I was forced to go down the same escalator. I saw a guy, who while holding the edge of the light skirt of the beautiful blond woman in front of him is filming her naked behind while the escalor brought them closer to the outside. She seemed to be noticing sth was going on but was utterly unaware what it was that was being done behind her back. Or, if she was she didn’t show it.

I came to the guesthouse and checked in. 10 min after I had checked in, had a cigarette on the balcony and put it out in the cofeee cup plate, since there was no ashtray and i did not want to throw it down 13 stories, I tried to turn on the computer. It first spoke to me in Russian, which I found understandable, when it turned to Chinese (the Windows interface) and French (the Google website) I gave up on trying to get what was happening. I just wanted to take a shower when I heard a knock on my door.

A nice, quite strongly built and short red haired woman adresses me bluntly: dieduschka, which means little girl. After the experience in Turkey where even my close friends mothers sarted talking to me with “Siz” during the last two years, (Siz is the Turkish equivalent of the polite You) I was surprized of being made young again by the given context. She explained that I was given the wrong room and I should move out and wait on the corridor. This I could understand from her repeating a number and looking through the flat for traces of my inhabitance. Eventually, she threw away my cigarette but, the whole 13 stories down and cleaned the plate, than returning to the corridor to point at a seat I should take, until I will ve given the room, I am writing this from now.


One Response to “Memories from Moscow”

  1. anita July 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    well that’s a nice story lila draga …hope you will enjoy russia and moscow and write everyday so that i can experience with you as well ….anita

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