Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Diplomatic Academy of Moscow - Day One

Bam, we are right in the thick of it today. Day 3 in my traveling ensemble, hopefully the luggage arrives today, and also hopefully I don't smell...what a horrible first impression that would make! First I have to say that I might have had a panic attack if I had had to navigate the Metro this morning by myself. Luckily, the girl I met in the customs line last night, Nadia, and her roommates made sure to not leave without me, and we ventured out into the morning Muscovite commute en masse. These people walk fast, and you either get up to their speed or walk over in the grass because they do not mess. They will stare you down, and Russians have some ferocious stares, enough to make even Donald Trump's hair feel small.

Another good reason to be tagging along with my new friends: last night they ventured out to the store for provisions, and ended up finding the Metro station. Yeah, if I had been on my own, there's no way I would have found it, and no way I would have the courage to ask someone, and if I did, I probably wouldn't have been able to understand the directions. The station is up the walk, around the corner, around another corner, past the cart, etc etc. Then we had to buy tickets.

One of our girls actually spoke some Russian, so told us what to say in order to buy the 20 use pass. Bloody brilliant. Marijana, you're a saint! And then she figured out which way we needed to go, and how many stops until we needed to get off. So far, so good. Get on the train, grab a seat, and enjoy a nice, relaxing.... oh wait...what's going on....all these people... oh we passed a transfer station and suddenly the car is packed...all these people, holding on to the overhead railings....oh geez, they apparently don't believe in deodorant but do believe in too much perfume/cologne....aaaahhh I'm melting from the inside out, aaaaaahhhhh...... *puddle of choey goop on floor*

Ok, so ten stops and as few breaths as possible later, we get off. Fresh air! Now we have plenty of time to find the school, right? 15 minutes? So it's at 53/2 on whatever street this is, what the hell does that mean?! I don't understand this format of street address and apparently neither does anyone else in our group!  Twenty minutes of going up and down this street and around a corner, have passed some guys who are in our program going the other way, and we finally find the school. That has a big plaque of Lenin on the side.
They feed us breakfast! With coffee!! Gooood coffee too. And pastries filled with mystery substances...today, apples!
They had us come into the conference room, and I see that there are probably 25 or 30 of us in this program, its really quite intimidating. Then one of the professors says something in Russian, and then in English, "If you could understand what I just said, raise your hand." WHAT?! I wasn't even really paying attention because I knew it was in Russian and I had no hope of knowing what she said. And this is our "test"?! Yep, so it is. They separate us out into two groups: the understanders and the non-understanders. Clearly, this is the best way to do things in Russia.

The professors proceed to start us on learning the cyrillic alphabet. Hey, wait a minute, I already know this! I am assured that we will progress past it quite quickly, but I have my doubts, since the only letters we learned today are the ones that resemble Latin letters: T, M, K. Yep, we're flyin now.

After lunch, it is announced that we will have a sightseeing tour of the city by bus. Well, it would have been nice if we had known this, so, you know, we could have been prepared! Some people had on suits (uncomfortable at best in the Moscow high summer heat) and non-walking shoes, a lot of people didn't have their camera, and one person opted out because they were still too jet lagged. Lucky (if you can call it that) for me, my traveling ensemble is comfortable and I am wearing trainers, so no discomfort there with the walking. AND I had my big bag with me, filled with anything a girl could need, since I had no idea what today was going to be about and like to be prepared, so I had my camera all ready to go.
We load the bus and are off into Moscow city, driven by the slightly taciturn Sasha (a man), with narraration provided by our guide Olga, a native. She is the cutest little babushka (grandmother), all short and wrinkly! Just want to put her in my pocket, but I feel like that might be a bit awkward...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you, so please feel free to leave comments and love!