Friday, November 24, 2006

Shlepping round Moscow

(Moscow underground stations)
After my daring escape from the hotel yesterday I spent most of the day wandering round Moscow. I don't much like the place, a brutal capital of a brutal country. The traffic roars through Moscow and God help the poor pedestrial who might dare to put a toe onto the street. Zebra crossings? Ha! - they are nice patterns in the street, aren't they. Don't depend on them for your life!

So, anyway, had some breakfast in the quite nice Coffeemania, a Russian (?) kind of Starbucks chain with a branch right beside the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. Noticed that the Paganini violin competition is on just now (finale next week) as is the Bashmet viola competition (though I also got my dates scrambled in my head and thought it was 28th of November instead of 23rd - so I might have been able to get in out of the cold and sit and listen to some nice playing. Bashmet seems to have concerts there all over the place, but it's probably to do with the viola competition - he seems to have arranged a multi-viola concert on the day before the final. In the viola list some harsh words were said about that competition and the composition of the jury especially - not all jury members are viola players, or indeed even practising or performing musicians. It'll be interesting to see who wins.

On I shlepped around...the reason why I walking so much, apart from needing exercise, was that I was going to have a meeting some time that day, and did not know when. But at the same time I was gasping for my sushi-fix, and was trying hard to get that in before the meeting at the other end of town. I know that the yakitoria now has branches all over Moscow, but just not near the place where I had to go. What's worse was that one of the locations has disappeared (been pulled down) so I had to find another one. Which I did and it was great, though, on account of the slimming, I did not have my usual megaportion. But it hit the spot.

Then back across town, to the meeting near the Sportivna metro station, and then to the airport. Leaving at 15.30 for an 18.30 flight, I got first stuck in traffic, then the airport train was slower than normal, so that by the time I got to the airport I did not stop walking until I was in my seat on the plane. Phew!

Did I mention that the temperature was around 3 degrees centigrade (probably quite warm for the time of year in Moscow) but my skin was suffering seriously after walking for 2-3 hours. Need to get the thermals out - in the meantime hand cream is a great healer ....for the knees.