1/12/2020, Moscow, Dragon
Last night I had been writing until late and went to sleep approximately at 3 am and consequently it was difficult for me to get up early. After having breakfast, I got back to bed and kept asking online for advice on where to go. Before I finally decided to go to Novodevichy Cemetery, I took a snap and it was nearly 13 am when I set off.
I got to a restaurant in close proximity to the hostel and there were so many people that I could only sit at the counter. As far as I could tell, interestingly, most of the people here seemed to be having a heated debate with each other while there’s little food in their plates – no one was actually eating except for the single ones who were conversing with smartphones. At first I asked for any recommendations like Russian specialties only to be told that it was a western style restaurant. Even though the food looked good, I wasn’t satisfied because it didn’t taste as good. The outer layer outside beef was something I couldn’t recognize and somehow disgusting.
Therefore, I saved the money which should have been used as tips to buy a piece of bread. But there was one thing I was confused about: the piece of bread cost 95 rub while I bought one loaf of bread at the cost of only 67 rub just two days earlier. Anyway, it tasted good and was something I would devour.
Since I kind of ran out of cash, I came to a nearby банк to withdraw money. It was quite convenient that I could directly withdraw Rub via Chinese debit card though I was quite concerned about the hundreds – of – rub service cost.
On my way to the bus stop, I suffered from the strong, howling wind and decided to buy a pair of gloves. First under the guidance of a coated woman I hurried blocks away from the original start but didn’t see any trail of gloves. Then with the help of a grocer and Google Map, I made my way to the Kitai gorod where there were stands of all kinds. It was interesting to see that a pair of gloves cost 450 rub at a mid – aged woman’s stand while the similarly looking ones cost only 144 rub at an elder’s. I don’t know whether it’s because people become more honest as they age. At least I didn’t see any quality difference for the gloves.
It was already half past 4 when I got to Novodevichy Cemetery, just 30 minutes before it closing. The watcher pointed to his watch and from my perspective, it suggested that it was too late. However, it turned out that he merely reminded me that there were 25 minutes left. I also learned from him how to input the letter е on a smartphone. The sky darkened dramatically as I could see. I had great difficulty matching the Russian names of those prominent figures with what I had learned about them in Chinese. Besides, I was looking hard for the Chinese communist but failed. As I walked out, I nodded to one of the soldiers and to my surprise, he solute. They were cute, cool guys who safeguarded the ever- sleeping souls underground.
Later that afternoon, I was met by a Russian girl. I had to complain that she was not as good at giving orders about where to meet as she was at recommending courses. When she showed up, she appeared more beautiful, more elegant and more charming than she looked on her photos. It could be learned from this that it was not advisable to judge how beautiful a girl was from her photos because she could either beautify or uglify them. What generally made gentlemen awkward when they walked next to Russian girls was the unexpected height of the girls. Fortunately, she wasn’t taller or stronger than me. We bought rolled pancakes at the cost of 140 rubles each but she threw it away unfinished, which seemed to me, that she had tossed away 70 rub. Definitely it was acceptable for a slim girl to do so and it didn’t blacken her light at all, for I could see her unsymmetrical beauty right from the mirror. As we were walking, we talked. As a sophomore physics student, I was surprised to know that she was at the last year for her oil and gas engineering master’s degree. She behaved warmly like someone who just lived in the neighborhood and spoke English without much Russian accent. Unfortunately, she didn’t allow me to take photo of her (but I did) since I declined her offer to take a photo of me.
After a brief goodbye, we separated at the entrance of a underway. Google Map led me to a metro station. Even though it was my third day in Moscow, I still had no idea how to take the underground. After struggling without help for 10 minutes, I finally bought a one-way ticket with the help of a stuff who spoke English. I had intended to go to a place named China gorod but I failed to find it on the noticeboard. Suspecting that I was in the wrong direction, I hurried towards the выход. It was not until I came back to the station again when I realized that the exact name in Russian was китай город, which was quite different from its English version (for I didn’t learn how to speak China in Russian).
Mama said life’s like a box of chocolate. Whenever something unexpected happened, there would always be something more unexpected. There were two hotel with identical names and what I was being led to wasn’t where I meant to be. Just as I was disappointed about the discovery, I found myself in the proximity to Red Square where it began to snow all of a sudden. It was quite a different view at night and there I took a lot of photos all my way.
I had a burger and restarted. As I had just crossed the road, I was greeted by a peculiar (at first sight) Russian mid-aged man. He stretched his hands, offering his name, and we shook hands. Actually I had already uttered my name but obviously he didn’t get that, for he kept asking “ваше имя” (of course I learned by google translate). It was surprising for me to know that he could spell “дракон”, but not “Dragon”. I was quite flattered, he holding my right hand tight with both hands. On the one hand, I was thrilled to meet this hospitable guy and considerably willing to talk with him but every sentence was a challenge because of language barrier. The only word I understood and replied to without translation was “китай” which I had just learned. It was a pity that I didn’t have further communication with him and I wished I could have had an interpreter or learned Russian well. As the snow was falling, it became even harder to communicate via smartphone. On the other hand, I kept an eye because it was somehow strange to be welcomed this way as a solo traveler. Having seen my camera, he invited me to go south to capture the splendid view but I refused out of discretion. (I was kind of too careful because he went west alone after departure) . Still I didn’t have even superficial knowledge of him but I would cherish this moment, even though I would never meet him again.
It was safe to walk alone on the streets of Moscow but as the night creeped, people from all walks of life appeared: shouting taxi driver, unconscious guy after drinking or smoking. I sped up with photos taking, thinking that I should have taken some Chinese characteristic stuff with me to give to those lovely guys I had and would met. Anyway, travelling means to get closer to learn about a city but apart from the landscape, the most important part is to get to know its people.
Here are some extra photos: