Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29 2013: Moscow's veggies, startups, and long lost shuttles

Kostya, Dania, Olga, and I had Zaftrak (breakfast) at Moscow's amazing vegetarian cafe Dzhagannat.
It was a feast, there were so many interesting things to choose from. I tried the tofu bean sprout salad, lentil cutlet, squash ball, red curry tofu, and some little chocolaty minty desserts. It's also two floors of vegetarian grocery shop and then an Antoni Gaudí-inspired restaurant deep in the bowels of the shop, kinda like the former Virgin Megastore in NYC. Everything was super flavorful and interesting - Kostya and Dania are super lucky to have this place nearby! Walked around Pokrovka neighborhood a bit, popping into bookstores, cafes, and trinket shops.

Kostya and Dania take
recycling very seriously!

Amazing breakfast at Dzhagannat














Met our friend Lenya and his girlfriend and newborn for lunch at the grotesquely ugly seemingly-but-not-actually-finished past-version-of-the-future Russian Academy of Sciences. One of the highlights of this entire trip happened at lunch. There was a great view dining at the top of the Academy of Sciences, and there was a moment I was looking out the window from my seat and I could swear I saw a space shuttle near the river! I went out onto the observation deck and confirmed it - there definitely seemed to be a space shuttle sitting there in the middle of Moscow! We did some research and found that Buran OK-TVA - a test model made for the USSR's aborted 1980s Buran Shuttle project - has been living in Gorky Park since 1994. I visited Gorky Park about 5 years ago and didn't even know it was there! So cool to spot it - from my lunch table no less. I had read once that the Burans were so similar to NASA's shuttles that NASA even considered buying Burans after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster - until they saw the shape they were in.

Yarnbombing in Pokrovka
Increasingly futuristic Russian
Academy of Sciences













One other thing happened at lunch at the top of the Russian Academy of Sciences - the top scientists of Russia were having a special election to decide who will lead them going forward. Apparently there was some intrigue with the previous president - they say a ton of money was allocated for funding of schools and such that never arrived - so this new election is being followed very closely. Judging from the table of scientists sitting next to us at lunch, I think the money may have found its way into numerous rounds of wine and caviar.
Can you spot the Buran in Gorky Park??

Lunch with Lenya












We high-tailed it across the city to make it to a performance of Argentinian symphonic music performed by Russkaya Filarmonia in the new Moscow International House of Music. The venue is great visually and acoustically. The performance was lively, the Argentinian conductor had a very active spirit, and it gave us a chance to rest a little and catch up on our thoughts.
Kostya trying a Walking Desk at Yandex

Russkaya Filarmonia,
Argentinian style














After dinner, a friend of Kostya's who works at Yandex (Russian equivalent of Google) invited us over for a tour. It was neat checking out the startup culture, which is still evident even during our tour at 2:00 in the morning. With Bean bag couches, air hockey tables, heated patios, free food, and eclectically-designed interior walls, you would guess it's the office of a Bay Area based startup.

2 comments:

ivden said...

Yandex look-alike of Google: immitation, the sincerest form of flattery.

Buran look-alike of Shuttle: maybe something else?

"Resting" during another major musical production? Music sure agrees with you :-)

ivden said...

Yandex look-alike of Google: immitation, the sincerest form of flattery.

Buran look-alike of Shuttle: maybe something else?

"Resting" during another major musical production? Music sure agrees with you :-)