1/12/2020, Moscow, Dragon
Since I was quite used to staying up late at school, I didn’t seem to suffer a jet lag. I slept at 0:00 and woke up around 8. It was snowing, too dark to convince people that it was already not early in the morning. When I got to the public room, kids and parents were eating their lunch. After a brief greeting by my smartphone, I settled down to my breakfast and conversed with the Korean guy about where to go today.
I wasn’t aware how heavy the snow was until I stepped out onto the road. The sky was full of snowflakes. They would fall on people quietly but after accumulating they could be quite annoying. Guided by both Yandex and Google Map, I braved the snow down the road west to Red Square. I couldn’t tell which app was better, but at least they weren’t as convenient as domestic ones. Where I set off, there was literally nobody. Only cleaning stuff and machine were working. To my surprise and delight, a little boy waved smilingly at me across the road when I passed a kindergarten. I waved back to see the smile on his chubby face and notice again some Russian words I didn’t understand.
Along the way, I didn’t know how many parks or cafes I passed. There were loop music one of which, to my knowledge, was Katyusha. Of course, there were also tourists like me shooting photos all their way. But there was one thing for sure: I had definitely gone in the wrong direction before I finally got to the destination, which resulted in more photos taken than I had expected.
Red square is vast. Therefore it was hard for me to judge exactly how large it was from one corner. All I could see was people here, people there. I was quite surprised to see that heavy snow hadn’t depressed their enthusiasm. Heavy snow dragged people down both physically and mentally, for I could hardly remember (the videos did though) the detail of how I spent the two hours about the square before I got into the Lenin’s grave. At first I thought the so-called grave would be a huge museum containing lots of relevant materials but I turned out to be wrong: after and before lots of stairs, Mr. Lenin lied peacefully in a delicate coffin. Behind the building at the foot of a grand castle, there were great soviet leaders lined up whose Russian names I didn’t know at all.
I forgot to mention, after strolling for some time, my hands were frozen without gloves. As I was hunting for some cheapest (expensive) hot drinks, one father and son came up to me with one familiar little packet. It was at that time that I realized that I had lost it without consciousness. I thanked by “спасибо” The father stretched hands and after shaking hands with him, the boy addressed me with the same incomprehensive words. I didn’t know what he meant until he stretched hands as well. All of a sudden, I was warmed from inside at the freezing cold day.
At noon I walked around to find a beautifully decorated restaurant. What impressed me most was absolutely beautiful waitress (I bet whoever went into the restaurant would notice her at first). More to my surprise, she could speak some English (rather basic though). Skimming the menu and not wanting to waste my intelligence on deciding what to eat, I ordered a pizza and a small cup of berry juice(by small I mean really small). Although expensive somehow, the food tasted as delicious. After getting positive answer about whether I could stay a little longer after paying the bill, I couldn’t resist the instinct to sleep. Next time my eyes opened, I was woken up by ‘no sleeping’ (probably because this may interfere with the business staff). Anyway, I got refreshed and deleted my preference. I won’t recommend the restaurant because I was kind of kicked out of it. Nevertheless, it is a good place if only to find and appreciate ‘beauty’.
In the afternoon, I visited the museum next to Red Square. It has exhibitions of all kinds, from prehistorical tools to cannons, from daily clothes to religious patterns. But there was one thing not as good: all in Russian some in English. Therefore I appreciated most of them only from appearance. Maybe I should have visited art museums. Likewise as that time, I regretted not to take an audio guide with me. The most regrettable experience was later on: I had my head heavily hit while I was rushing downstairs. This time I thought the limited Russian words were flying away because they didn’t stop as immediately as my head did so that the next few minutes I was thinking without Russian at all.
On my way to the hostel, I took the ‘M3’ автобус after I made sure that I could pay by cash. I asked someone where I could buy the tickets, but ignorance showed up on the bloated face of the unkind mid-aged woman. Luckily, an elder lady offered to help and pointed me to the driver (It was quite confusing to me because back in China we have extra stuff responsible for tickets). The kind and elegant smile were just like my grandma’s. I communicated non-efficiently for long with the bus driver only to draw the conclusion that I was in the OPPOSITE direction. Apart from embarrassment, I have to be thankful for the diver’s carefulness and patience and sorry for those I wasted time of and whom I had no chances to express apologies to.
I had dinner at a restaurant without English menu so I sent pictures and asked one of my Russian friends (Bilingual Russian friends are worth treasuring, honestly). As recommended I had borsch, carrot-beef soup. Fortunately, I was fond of both. The problem was, the waiter produced an old box, which looked the same as what I saw this noon, even though I asked to pay by check. I supposed I would be getting crazy about this kind of boxes.
Literally there was nothing to write about after I got back to the hostel but today some of the guests were watching a film. From my knowledge, I could tell that it was about a basketball game between Soviet and the US. Needless to say, the Soviet team won by only one score. If this film had been shot in the US, the result would have been the opposite, which is clear to everyone. Based on two-day observation, I can tell that Russian people are generally good at making poker faces, at least to strangers. However, some of them are as good at expressing kindness while others aren’t.