Monday, July 02, 2007

5 tiny stories about moscow

this post will have less to do with sound, and more to do with all of these stray impressions of moscow that are rattling around in my brain. (though i AM typing this to the pops and cracks of firecrackers being shot off in the alley behind our apartment. t'is the season.) there's no cohesive narrative to be found (much the opposite, in fact) so i'm listing.

ready, go:

1. one morning in moscow i rode a one-eyed horse. he was very sweet, and had good balance despite his handicap. his name was kavkaz, which i'm told means 'caucasus', like the region in eurasia.

2. many, many of the people i met - from young producers at the radio festival to the mysterious older woman i encountered one night walking home from the train (she's been seen around town with a parrot on her shoulder) - wanted to know if i was married. then every person wanted to know why not. and they all thought i was about 23.

3. the subway system in moscow is incredible. there are huge soviet-style statues all over the place, and mosaics, murals and paintings all over the ceilings and walls. ornate yet mighty chandeliers hang in many of the platforms, and the escalators leading up and down are endless. apparently advertisements are played for commuters while they ascend or descend, but occasionally a poem is read between ads. (shaving cream, pushkin, nescafe) the trains come about once a minute and i noticed a lot of young boys traveling with their grandmothers on the subways, and wearing funny hats.

4. because i hadn't recently pondered it seriously, was not expecting moscow to be so capitalistic. my first hint was passing the IKEA on the way from the airport to lena's apartment. the next day while looking from one corner of red square (which was closed for a party?!) over at lenin's tomb, i also noticed a louis vuitton store in my peripheral vision. and while i expected to find mcdonalds (not to mention mccafes) and other corporate franchises, did NOT expect the tgi fridays, or that crappy fast food 'italian' chain sbarro, which was everywhere. didn't see a starbucks. but they've got their version of it going strong ("coffee house") AND a competing local chain - "coffee mania", which is actually a great name for a coffee shop chain.

5. my new favorite food is kachapuri, which is sort of a georgian (NOT the peach state) version of grilled cheese. it's a round bread stuffed with a white cheese. the kachapuri i found was nice and light on the cheese, but i hear this is not always the case. i also tried many other variations of the 'cheese and bread' theme - a safe vegetarian choice available pretty much everywhere. during the radio festival, lunch was served at a chinese restaurant at the hotel where the festival was held. sitting down the first day for fried rice at a table with a brown checkerboard tablecloth was also pretty surreal. and the condiment containers were ace.

stay tuned for a few more tiny stories about moscow. in the meantime, here are some photos i took at the huge riding stable where i met the handsome kavkaz.

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