Moscow Day 3

Days 25: Moscow Sightseeing: Two days to explore this fascinating city. Our sightseeing tour includes the Kremlin, the onion domes of St Basil’s, Red Square and the GUM Store. There’s even the opportunity to travel on the Moscow underground! (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Hotel: Hotel Izamailovo Beta Block
Breakfast: 8:30 Bus departs: 9:00

When I woke up this morning my eye was stuck shut, not good, I had pink eye! I’m in Russia, on tour, I couldn’t have pink eye! But I did, and I was not going to go to the doctor! He’d probably send me to the hospital, I would tough it out without medicine.

This morning Galina took us to a WWII museum (it might be the Armed Forces Museum), which was very quiet since it is not the typical tourist spot. Galina had been a history teacher and so knew all the good museums in Moscow. Then we went to the museum for the Revolution. I think my brain had fully shut down by this point, but it perked up for Galina’s story about the first McDonalds in Moscow, I will now butcher her story… You would wait on line for about 2 hours, typical for Russia. When you walked in, the floor was clean, that was the first sign that something wasn’t right. When you got to the counter they had a smile in their face (hello, this is Russia) and asked what you would like. This was Russia at a time when you hoped they had something at the end of a line, let alone what you actually wanted. You ask for a Big Mac. Then to add to the confusion – they asked how many you wanted? Not only did they have food, you could get as much as you wanted. This caused so much stress and confusion (people thought it might be a trick and the government was listening) that they had to put up a sign limiting the number of Big Mac’s to 15, people literally didn’t know how to handle a lack of limits and choice. This was Russia where you went to a store and took what they had, they didn’t have selection but they did have limits, there was a 2+ hour line behind you after all. In the bathroom they had… toilet paper, and if you took the toilet paper they put a new role on. This was all knew to the Russians. I love this story, it really made me understand Russians a bit and why capitalism was such a struggle for them culturally.

After the museum Kate, Andrew and I went in search of lunch, we ended up at the underground mall again. We ran into Lis, Jilly and Tom and relaxed a bit after lunch chatting since we were so tired. We were going to head outside to people watch until our meeting time, but it was raining so we went shopping instead. I found a T-shirt (which I had been looking for) and a long sleeve shirt (I had not been looking for), but when I went to buy it there was confusion with my credit card. They wanted my passport (which the hotel had, and stupid me forgot I had a copy of it in my backpack) and eventually accepted my room card, but then the credit card didn’t work. I have no idea why and they didn’t speak a word of English, owell. I met Kate and Andrew outside the store (Lis and Jilly were shopping in another store), and after telling them my story they offered to lend me the cash. Yea, I have 2 new shirts!

At 5:00 everyone met, but the bus was late picking us up. We didn’t get to our restaurant until 6:00 and the circus started at 7:00. Once inside the circus they had animals displayed and you could get your picture taken with them. During the circus I sat next to Cara and we discussed what was going on. The first act had monkeys dressed like people, 2 were on leashes. One might wonder why you would have a monkey who needed to be on a leash in a circus. Then they had dogs, they would do tricks and get food as a reward. We all wondered if they were fed, maybe they didn’t feed them and they had to do their tricks so they could get food. During the intermission I was on a hunt for cotton candy, it wouldn’t be the circus without cotton candy. But we kept getting distracted looking at people taking pictures with animals (Marie got one with a lion cub). Finally I saw a woman with cotton candy, I chased her down for my cotton candy, it was as good as I remember it. In the second half of the show they had lions who seemed to be afraid of the lion tamer. Some seemed to be afraid to do their tricks, but when the lion tamer took out his whip they did what they were told. What I learned about the circus – you can be too old for the circus, but you can’t be too old for cotton candy, clowns are dumb, and animals doing weird things isn’t entertaining, it’s weird.

When we were on the bus after the circus we saw two drunk guys fighting, fortunately they were too drunk to actually hurt each other. But one guy did take his shirt off for the fight, but all he did was kick the tire of our bus and stumble off in the other direction. When we got back to the hotel I got my stuff ready for a bus day the next day and then went with Tania to send some emails. I finished before Tania and decided to pop into the grocery store on the way back, not my brightest idea at 11pm. I was looking around and then noticed someone looking at me, for a second I thought maybe he was someone from tour, he had on goofy glasses, but he was just a weirdo. I made a quick exit and went back to the hotel, lesson learned.

I ran into a bunch of people at the hotel bar and hung out with them. It was an interesting night. Kevin went up to the bar to get a drink and the drunk prostitute hit on him, I guess he declined because she went back to the guy she had been sitting with earlier. When Sky and Tom went up to the bar she went up to them too, she was pulling on Tom’s belt and made a pass at Skye as they were walking away. When the guy she was with left, she followed him, but he kept telling her to go away, oh those crazy Russians!

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