Thursday, September 25, 2008
(----) In Russia Vol.2
The metro. It's a beast. Smelly, crowded, full of people who think they are the only people in the world walking around, forcing you to have to dart all over the place to get where you are going in time. At certain times of the day the cars are so full that to get in you have to make yourself part of a human wave that just shoves its way in and out at each stop. And as a foreigner, you must be prepared to get stared at. A lot. By children, swarthy men, nosy babushkas, snotty-looking women in 5-inch pencil-thin heels, etc.
But the metro has its, um, charms. There's always some type of crazy/bizarre/absurd/massively depressing thing to see. For example: two days ago I was in one of the metro tunnels, crossing from one line to the other, and in the span of one minute, I saw:
--a very pregnant (as in ready to pop) woman playing violin
--a man with no arms begging for change
--an old lady in a blue rainslicker selling flags with a skull and crossbones on them
Visually, though, it's pretty stunning. Some of the stations have amazing architecture and crazy Soviet-era statues and sculptures. And there's always the ads on the walls to look at. Like this one, which I couldn't get a proper photo of because you're not allowed to take pictures in the metro so I had to be discreet. It's an ad for some sort of alcoholic drink called a "Black Russian". If you can't tell, it's an eagle wearing a suit and tie.
At my second job interview I was escorted into a room to wait for the interviewer, and these guys' portraits were hanging on the wall facing me. As if to say, "You want job? You must wear tinted spectacles."
Russians hackey-sacking near Red Square.
Russian dogs. There are tons of homeless dogs all over the city. I have heard legends of dogs who actually ride the metro and get off at particular stops.
Russian cat postin' up outside my new hosts' place.
The front door of my friends' place where I am crashing.