Monday, March 09, 2009

moscow, 1 and 2

The flight was practically empty (I got my two seats to myself--bet those trust fund kids that upgraded to first class felt like suckers!). Passport control was fast and trouble free. My bag was one of the first dozen off. We all gathered to get onto the bus, and I realized that about half this class (which has met for three hours every week for 6 weeks) looks completely unfamiliar to me. I know all the girls, none of the guys.

Maya (born in Azerbaijan, but came here when she was 2) is my rooomate. Her dad lives in Moscow and she's spending lots of time with him. She used to be a news anchor in Waco, and she's super nice. I'm lucky she's my roommate because she's one of my two favorite people on the trip (other being Christine). Maya and I are able to have secret conversations about people right in front of them because we both speak Russian.

There's this one guy who has been drunk the whole time so far. Which is incredible. And embarassing, because the whole bus smells like a frat party every time he belches.

Christine and I walked around, to Red Square yesterday. Then last night, we went to Turandot, an amazing baroque restaurant. We were treated to a variety of acts, including a string quartet consisting of supermodels and a background of techno/karaoke music. Then the a capella Russian Backstreet Boys. All as we ate one of those teensy-portioned rich-person-restaurant meals. But it was aesthetically pleasing, and isn't that what people really want in their food?

When we walked in, a lady took a picture of me, Maya, and Christine (we had taken Maya's dad's car, while the rest of the group walked, like suckers!). The lady posed us in awkward ways, and we figured we were going to be sold photos at the end of the night. But it seems we in fact may be featured in some society page online. I doubt we'll make the cut. But that's the kind of place the restaurant was.

We also got roses and perfume bottles, because it's international women's day (March 8, plus the monday after in this case).

Today, we had a metro tour, and we saw the church of Christ the savior, which was (re) built in the 90's. So, it's brand new. We spent way too much time there than was necessary.

I skipped the afternoon Kremlin trip, ostensibly to do my take-home essay that's due, but in reality, to listen to hypnotism CDs and sleep for a couple of hours. I was doing so well about the jetlag (got up at 6:30 aned worked out this morning). Despite the fact that I woke up every hour on the hour last night, I was able to go back to sleep relatively quickly.

Christine and I walked to the Arbat streets, after asking directions from two people--one youth, and one very nice lady who followed us and made sure we got from New Arbat to Old Arbat. It was a nice walk down the pedestrian street, despite all the chain stores. I got some cough medicine, and I think she told me to disolve it in water and take it once per day, but I'm going to get Maya to help me read the label nonetheless. The conversation went something like

Me: I don't have the words for that which I need, but I have coughing {fake coughs}
Lady: Yes, I understand coughing. What do you need from me?
Me: Medicine.
Lady: Obviously. But, do you want {incomprehensible}
Me: Maybe. What's that?
Lady: {sighs, gets a box of medicine} Here. {gives instructions}

So, for all I know, she gave me strychine. Which I don't even know how to spell in English, what are my chances in Russian?

Speaking of dialogues, here is one from my Russian lessons:

Me: I read some of your cookies last night!
Tutor: {understands what I mean, but frowns gravely} You have made a big mistake.

Christine and I just got back from our walk, and are resting before going out with a guy who lives here in Moscow, but it applying to school at McCombs (the business school, which I'm traveling with), so is interested in getting to know some of the students. Christine and I get along because we are both hyper-aware of being in the group of Loud Americans. And mortified by the alcoholics on our trip.


ginny said...

For some reason, your tutor saying "You have made a big mistake" sent me into a full thirty seconds of prolonged laughter. I frequently feel like that when my students turn in their essays.

jennifer said...

Ahhh, the joys of "class trips", I miss it! Does this remind you of the summer, obviously minus the Eaton-factor. I'm sure Spence is more than making up for the missing element. Have a great time!

Carrie said...

G--Well, now you can think "You have made a big mistake" in a Bellarussian accent. I have plenty of dialogues with him that I found hilarious.

J--No, it's nothing like India. The people are much less mature.

eskimo.panda said...

Your blogs are so interesting to read, I laugh hysterically at the tiniest bits :D

Carrie said...

Thanks, Eskimo Panda! It makes me feel happy. I will have to check out your blogs.