Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day

Not really dull: just sort of everyday. IF you live in Moscow.

Thursday, I went out to find a place to get a new battery for The Spouse's watch. Easier said than done. LOTS of places had signs that said "Watch Repair." But when I inquired, they would apologize (or shout) that there was no "Master" there. In two places the clerks pointed down the street.

I headed down the street, twice, but had no luck until I ran into a French friend (her kids are classmates of mine).

"Oui, there is a place near here," she told me. "You continue up the street a while . . . maybe 400 meters. By the church on the left is a small street. Turn onto it, and you will see a door with a sign. Go through the door and downstairs. But I can't promise he's any good."

It was one of those typical Moscow places that you would NEVER in a MILLION YEARS be able to find if you did not know it was there.

But I found it, and the Master was on duty, and not only did he have the tools to open the watch, he had the right battery, AND he cleaned up the watch a bit for me before putting it back together and charging me 400 rubles.

"Do you want a receipt?" he asked me in Russian. "It's got a two-year warranty."

I declined the receipt.

"TWO YEAR WARRANTY!" he shouted after me as I left. "ALL THE BEST!"

Friday, the girls were hungry after school, so once we entered the Metro perehod (under-the-street-mall) I bought us all sloiki (pastries). We were standing outside the Metro entrance, eating our sloiki, when a man walked by and said something to us. Twice. He was clearly addressing us.

"Any idea what he said?" I asked the girls.

"I'm pretty sure he said 'Eat with you mouth closed'," said Baboo.

Today, we had to go sign up for after school activities for the second half of the year. It was extremely well-organized, and so we were in-and-out in all of ten minutes.

Since we were already up, fed, and dressed, and since Baboo had recently remarked that she wanted to see inside St. Basil's, we decided it was a perfect day to walk over to Red Square and go in St. Basil's.

I don't know why they all look so morose. I made them stand here because this is THE first Star/Crap Dogs stand I ever photographed in Moscow.

But when we got to Red Square, we realized that Lenin's Tomb was not only open, but there was virtually no line. I'm the only one in the family who had seen Mr. Lenin. After the trip to Gorki Leninskiye, it seemed appropriate to make sure everyone made the pilgrimage inside Lenin's Tomb. So we did!

The reviews:

Baboo: He was waxy and weird. I would have enjoyed it better if it hadn't been FREEZING!

Skittles: Mlah! Don't waste your time!

The Spouse: That was weird. Wow, look at all the flowers in front of Stalin!

The Kremlin wall has a necropolis where you can find "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinski, Josef Stalin, Konstantin Chernenko, Yuri Gagarin, and American John Reed, among others.

No cameras allowed in Lenin's tomb or along the wall, so no pictures to share. You have to check your cameras (including phones with cameras) for 20 rubles each at a small office in the History Museum building.

Then we went inside St. Basil's Cathedral. The inside is especially beautiful and my lousy camera cannot begin to capture what a jewel box it is.

I took lots of pictures of the murals. In case I ever decide to paint my dining room walls.

St. Basil, who is interned in the cathedral, was really a bit passionate in his beliefs. Next to his tomb was a sign with information about his life. He was apparently a "Fool for Christ" and what the sign called a "nude walker." That made me run right home and google him.


 St. Basil's tomb.

Here is St. Basil doing his famous Nude Walk. 
Religious Zealot or Neighborhood Nutter? 
You Make the Call.

There are windows in the cathedral. I was able to take a few pictures from inside.

Lenin's Tomb is blocked by the statue.

A lovely blue sky. We've had great weather the past few weeks, actually. Yes, it's been cold. But it's been sunny like this: not a cloud in the sky.

Souvenirs for sale inside St. Basil's. We bought a book about czars and a Faberge-type egg charm. blog contest update: As I type this I am currently ranked #28 over here. NUMBER 28!!!!!! That is SO COOL, and I thank all of you for voting for me. Today was especially wonderful as I watched my blog ranking pass that of Mommy Wants Vodka, a blog I and LOTS of other people follow. She's actually well-known in the Blog-O-Sphere. And, she's been nominated for more serious competitions, namely this one over at the 2010 Weblog Awards. Go over there and vote for her (and The Bloggess). Spread a little love.


Ashira said...

That really does sound like a typical day in Moscow! I've been inside St. Basil's before, but I didn't notice the 'nude walk' plaque before. Interesting fact :)
Glad to know that the weather's been nice in Moscow - I've been in America since Saturday, in PA, and the temps here have been mid 30s to mid 40s (fareheit, of course!) Hopefully the sun will decide to stick around in Moscow when I return!

Tina in CT said...

I haven't been inside St. Basil's and will have to do that on my next trip. Gorgeous wall murals.

Nude walking - neighborhood weirdo is my vote.

Blue skies in Moscow - Now that's a rare treat.

Lian said...

hahaha. The CrapDogs sign really made me laugh. When I visited my sister who lived in Moscow-- an expatriesse like you-- that sign made us laugh ten times a day.

That Kind of Girl said...

Oh my gosh, I love the pictures! I'm so nostalgic for Moscow! I got a kick out of the Crapdogs signs when I briefly lived there as well!

OGLADI said...

The Crapdogs sign cracked me up...not to mention the faces beneath it!

Annie said...

You cheered my early-morning Michigan day. I note your family is getting extraordinarily Russified - barely a glimmer of an expression in that family photo. (And - I never mentioned that crapdog thing to anyone before! Didn't know anyone else's mind had Russia-Englished that the way mine had. Caused a second glance of horror every time I saw one.)

Could we be soulmates? I tried to paint my bedroom walls like St. Basils (only from photos in books, of course) when I was in Middle School! (Frankly, the result was not all that good.) This summer I made better headway with my daughter's bedroom...something I've yet to blog about.

Now, the thing is...I am pretty darned sure that it was against thr rules to photograph in St. Basil's, too. And, I suppose I am not only law-abiding but religious so I adhered to the rules...I'm sort of glad you didn't as when I get to painting my next got some bits I'd really like to copy.

I believe we got passport photos at that watchmaker's once. Kidding, but I could so completely imagine that totally hidden cubby hole ...a place where we'd suppose mops were kept, but where capable people do good work. So interesting.

The Expatresse said...

Annie: No, it's legal to take photos in St. Basil's. You just have to pay for a camera permit! (Believe me, I would not take photos in a church, esp one as special as this one, if it were not kosher, so to speak).

I saw your buttermilk pie recipe, btw. That looks really good.

And, yes, the reason I did not flinch about going into the watch repair guy's basement was that, like you, I got photos done in a place like that (the one near the US embassy is down such a rabbit hole).

hka said...

I've forgotten how beautiful St. Basil's is on the inside - I'll have to go again and take some pictures myself. I never noticed the nude walk either.

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