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Moskau, 1, 2, 3!

May 22, 2009
By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

Well hello hello from Moscow City! I remember thinking that as soon as I’ll install WordPress on my blog a door to the world of travel blogging will be opened up to me, and I’ll write many a witty and, more importantly, interesting update on the road. Ha! As if. I’ve been around since then, geographically speaking, and did I write any updates? No! Well, now it’s time to break that pattern.

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Monument to Conquerors of Space

Monument to The Conquerors of Space

I started writing this update at a seedy and weird little internet bar near our Moscow flat. It’s the closest place to our corporate flat that offers free interwebs as well as beer (although unfortunately you have to pay for the beer). And it’s weird cos it touts itself as an “Internet Club for Adults” and has booths for customers. Kinda reminds me of them Japanese media pods, the ones you can even spend the night in, the kind that occasionally burn with dozens of casualties, but not quite. I suspect that these booths are being used for more sinister purposes… Or then just to play WoW and other on-line grinds. Oh, and I am not writing this from some cum-splattered booth, no sir, I’m using the WiFi on my HP Mini from the bar. Yet, despite it being an “Internet Club for Adults”, there is a distinct lack of topless waitresses. But I guess that’d be kinda distracting, so it’s ok. Anyway, I’m in Moscow because our branch office decided to move, and I was needed to help out. Which is weird, because they could have hired an army of Tajik or Uzbek gastarbeiters for the money it cost the company to bring my fat arse here. I guess they wouldn’t be quite as trustworthy though, so here I am…

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Memorial Museum of Kosmonautics

Memorial Museum of Kosmonautics

I came here on a rainy Wednesday morning, after a very nice train trip in first class, which meant electical outlets, which in turn meant power for the notebooks, which meant games and movies! And a well stocked restaurant wagon only one wagon away meant beer. Despite my plans to watch a movie or two, I nevertheless fell asleep at about 22:30, and slept until we arrived at Moscow, around 9:30 next morning… Then there was work, work, work, and a crappy mayonnaise sandwich for lunch, after which the pattern changed to crap, work, crap, work, crap… After running out of work and crap I went to the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics! I’ve always wanted to visit it, but the last time I was in Moscow it was still closed for repairs, so that didn’t happend. Luckily, it just opened up once again after a thorough reconstruction that increased its area x3, and added tons of wonderful new exhibits. The cool thing is that, according to the guides and backed up by my own observations, about 90% of the artefacts displayed either were to space themselves or are perfect, working replicas of the craft/equipment that did. Equipment that was used, for instance, to train crews for space missions and stuff like that. Anyway, I thoroughly recommend the experience. It costs 100RUR to enter, and another 200RUR to take pictures. If you wanna use your flash, add another 50 Roubles. I paid the fees, and didn’t flinch, the procedes are going to support the museum after all (minus 30% to account for the corruption), and are nothing compared to some entrance fees in Europe… Only problem was that I came to the museum straight after work, at about 17:30, and the museum was closing at 19:00. So I had to hurry, and couldn’t really spend as much time as I wanted to at all the exhibits…

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Yay planes and rockets!

Yay planes and rockets!

The following day was spent at the VDNKh park. It’s not really a park, or, well, how could I explain it… It was built to showcase how progressed the Soviet people and their industry was, with the newest and best inventions and innovations displayed in the lavish pavillions amidst beautiful fountains and tree-shaded alleys. There are statues, wonderful architecture, and even a plane (a Yak 42) and a Vostok rocket on display. Not all is fine and dandy at the VDNKh land, however. It used to be a place for knowledge and contemplation, but no more. After the dissolution of USSR in 1991 the place was invaded by rampant commercialism, and it is kinda that way still. Actually, one of our Moscow employees used to own a stand at VDNKh back in the wild 90’s, and according to him the place calmed down a lot these days. It used to be that you could buy anything you wanted at VDNKh. Luckily the authorities cracked down around the change of the century, so it’s a bit better now. I wondered about for a while, taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere, until I found a nice beer tent and sat down to rest my weary flat feet… I didn’t cover very much of the park though. I only made it to the rocket (see park map here), about 2/3 of the way through the park, and was disappointed that I didn’t walk far enough to see the iconic ”worker and kolkhoz woman” statue. I later found out, however, that the statue was removed until 2010 for rennovation, so I guess I didn’t miss anything after all. And that was that for my VDNKh stroll. I only walked along the main alley, didn’t stray, and didn’t enter any of the pavillions either, since most were closed by the time I got there. There is tons to see there still, the decaying architectural marvels, the parks, the ponds… The place is bigger than Monaco, fer crissake! Ah well, maybe next time then.

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Unfortunately the creepy ”Internet Club for Adults” closed before I could finish this post, so I am writing now from the office, with the cleaning woman furiously scrubbing the windowsill behind me and indicating in every way possible that my presense is unnecessary, and is rather a hinderance to her duty. Today is the last day I spend in Moscow, so will see some extended family and visit the more central locations before boarding the train at around 22:00. I will also attempt to buy touristy stuff for some friends, a task that has proved surprisingly hard so far…

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So then. Links… Hmm. I have received some complaints lately, so I’ll try to rectify my ways. I think today’s list of topics is somewhat carsey, but what the hey. For instance, I really liked this review of the Honda Insigh hybrid by Jeremy Clarkson! And speaking of bad cars, lets take a look at the greatest flops of the car industry for the past 25 years. Pretty timely, now that Chrystler’s folding and the American car industry in general going tits-up. Another car-related link: this guy really wanted his drink, and, apparently, you don’t say no to someone driving a Rolls-Royce! Then, uh, on a completely unrelated side note, a cool ultra-slow-mo video of lightning strikes filmed from an airplane. Oh, and here’s some news: men are going to succumb to extinction. I’ve heard this one before, but here’s the latest study. It’s all dykes in the future, I guess. And speaking of dykes, some Aussie blokes have managed to stay away from all the surfing and crocodile wrestling long enough to invent a new way to store data on optical discs, so that we may have 12TB disks in the near future! But enough for now. It’s nearly lunch time!

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