Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30 2013: Moscow is out of this world!

This morning, Kostya dropped us off at a cafe for breakfast at Liudi kak Liudi (People As They Are) while he went to recycle cans, bottles, cardboard, paper, and other packaging materials. He missed most of breakfast, that's how dedicated he is - and how difficult Moscow makes it - to recycling. There are two recycling centers in the city, he and Dania do their part to save the planet one carload at a time. What he was missing was an amazing creamy Champignon mushroom pie and an apple cinnamon banana yogurt smoothie - such a sacrifice!

Dania pouring over plans for
construction near the community garden

Belka, Strelka, and their Sputnik

Next on our agenda was a tour of the super cool Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. We visited:
- Belka and Strelka - the first Earth creatures to go into Outer Space and return - along with some mice, flies, and algae. Sadly Laika didn't return from a previous test flight due to what the tour guide implied was a defect in the animal that caused it to not be able to handle temperatures above 50C/122F.
- Some scorched Soyuz capsules that returned Cosmonauts and Astronauts to Earth,
- A lifesize walkthrough replica of Mir (sadly no antigravity simulator)
- Moon rocks and meteorites
- Three scale models in various colors of the ill-timed Buran Space Shuttle project. If the Buran hadn't launched just as Perestroika was kicking off, maybe we would've had an orange shuttle!

Buran models!

About to enter Mir

The museum borders an amusement park that, in 1935, was designated for World Fair type of agriculture Expo. According to Wikipedia, the opening of the park had to be delayed by Stalin and then by Khrushchev as the exhibits and pavilions were continually not ready in time. Times changed and the USSR wanted to highlight its industrial prowess, so the guy who originally thought of the idea of the fair was jailed for five years. Anyway that's a lot of random history, the point is it's a very silly place that sort of feels like a time capsule with its Monorail and All-Russia Exhibition Centre and 360 degree Panorama Theatre (in the round) showing propaganda films about how amazing Siberia is.

What a Soyuz crash landing scene would look like??

Panoramic theatre in the round

After ditching the car (Kostya had to find a safe place to keep it for a week while we travel), we visited the CRCL community garden he and Dania are protecting. They weed and plant and water and organize - but mostly it seems they are fighting big developers who want to encroach under, over, and within the garden property.

Just a sampling of the Panorama film

I like Moscow very much. We've seen more of it than on previous trips, and in particular with Kostya's stewardship through the finest cafes and restaurants in the region, we really had a wonderful time. If you are not particularly interested in Opera or open bridges or high school reunions, it seems Moscow is the place to visit.

at the exhibition grounds
(tragically didn't have a chance to try it)

Dania at the entrance to the garden

One note on pricing: At Dzhagannat, two cups of coffee cost 200 rubles ($7) while two trays of food cost about twice that amount. Some things in Moscow are extraordinarily expensive. At a grocery store while we were stocking up for the next train ride, they were selling a very small carton of kumquats for 700 rubles ($25). And lunch in the Russian Academy of Sciences building was literally hundreds of dollars - small glass of juice there is 800 rubles ($25).

Kostya maintaining the CRCL community garden


Karen Wilson said...

How could you see a pizza machine and not try it? Tragic. I like your furry beard.

Dave V. said...

Dave, you're starting to look like Count Rugen! Glad you're having a great time!

Dave Grenetz said...

@Karen, don't remind me ;) maybe we can find one in St Petersburg next week!

@Dave, you say that I look like

And I want to look like

But I fear I look like

Actually in Russia, people say that I look like

But I'm afraid I look like!/image/2379766823.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/2379766823.jpg