Thursday, December 6, 2007

Moscow doesn't believe in tears...

and it really doesn't...it expects you to bear up and triumph over all obstacles, whether it's the German army that laid siege to Moscow yesterday in l941, or the people on the street who are hell-bent on running right into you, or the policeman who closes the through street you were counting on because there are some Very Important People nearby. Moscow must be overcome...as a friend says, the battle of Moscow didn't happen in l941. It happens every time you step out onto the street!
We've been busy visiting archives, talking to people and discovering new sources in connection with the church project. En route, there have been small pleasures, like the newly-restored l7th-century church whose bells suddenly rang out the notes to "O Lord Save Us From Jeopardy," the beginning of the l8l2 overture. It's the feast day of St. Nicholas today, and he is a protector of Russia, in fact an all-purpose protector of everyone, so it somehow was fitting. But then there is the over-the-top display of wealth for wealth's sake, the Bentley dealership right beside the Maserati and Lamborghini dealerships, the Burberry megastore with socks that cost $300, the wine boutiques where ordinary beaujolais costs about three times what it does at home. People love to throw around money here just to throw around money, and it shows. The general perception is that the wrong people have money here--these are not people who are inclined towards philanthropy or supporting culture, but rather want to spoil themselves and outdo the neighbors 24/7. Of course, we've seen this show before...
We've been keeping Russian hours--no one goes to bed here before 1 am or gets up before 10. It's going to be an awful shock to go back to type-A American hours, e.g. 5am-10 pm, but somehow I think I can handle it.
Three days left in this stint...time to gear up for the last sprint.

3 comments:

LaPopessa said...

Ah sweet mother russia. Plus le change, plus le même chose!

german said...

since they are tossing money around i suppose you could ask them when they will return the schleman gold back to germany or whoever is truly the rightful owner of it.

buckarooskidoo said...

Oh, I'm sure that hasn't disturbed the cosy relations between Putin and the German government...it's all sweetness and light there at the moment, since he fancies Germany a special interest of his since his KGB dirty-trickster days in the ost.