Thursday, March 30, 2006

Victory, perhaps?

I've written twice (here and here) about my individual student, whom I felt was in danger of being trafficked. At our last class, I gave her five pages in Russian, sent to me by the Angel Coalition, on the dangers posed to Russian women by traffickers. She didn't show up to class today. Of course, there could be any number of reasons: she could be sick, she could have left for Egypt early, she might have decided to learn English from someone other than me. Or perhaps she's changed her mind about the Egypt thing. I hope so.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My ESL Conversation Class Rocks!

I always enjoy my Wednesday night conversation classes. Tonight we talked about war. At the end of our last class, I gave them the lyrics to Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, and the lyrics to an anti-war song written by my friend C to the tune of "Oh Suzanna." (The lyrics to both are at the bottom of this post.) We started off by discussing the 1960's and the different events going on during that time, particularly in the year of 1962, when Blowin' in the Wind was written. We discussed and analyzed possible meanings of the song, and then we listened to it. Then we did the same with my friend C's song.

We discussed the reasons why people protest things in general, and the reasons why there are few protests/demonstrations in Russia. The general consensus of the class was that Russians are afraid that the government will react strongly in opposition to them if they protest, so therefore they remain passive, although they did all say that if Russians began to protest various issues, the country might improve.

One of the students mentioned that she is a member of Nashi (НАШИ - it means "ours") a Russian youth movement, about which I had heard a lot of negative things. However, my student said a lot of good things about the organization: that it's against fascism, and they she has assisted in painting over pro-fascist and pro-nazi grafitti as part of her Nashi activities. She said that they also work actively against racism, by providing a support network for Africans and members of other races living in Vladimir. Immediately, another woman countered by saying that Nashi is a fascist organization, although she didn't back that statement up with anything. I must admit, I know almost nothing about Nashi, although I had heard that it was fascist. (I found some links, that were interesting to me, so perhaps they will be interesting to you, on this topic, so here you go: Wikipedia, Official Nashi Website, and Analysis of Putin's New Youth Movement)

We discussed the war in Iraq and the war in Chechnya - both of which my students opposed, although they all seemed to think that governments make decisions entirely independent of their citizens, so governments decide to go to war, and then the people have to suffer. It was certainly an interesting discussion.

At the end of the class, one of the women asked "Can we please talk about something positive next time?" Whoops. Unfortunately, I don't think that's really going to happen. After everything that's been going on with my student who plans to go to Egypt, I decided that it would be a good idea to give them some of the text from the Angel Coalition's website. Useful, helpful, but not exactly light-n-happy conversation.

Song written by my friend C:

Well I come from ol’ America
And Iraq I’m gonna free,
But Bush said it would be alright
If I killed me two or three

My parents cried the day I left
The weather it was dry
An Iraqi shot me dead that day
And in the streets I died

Oh America, don’t forget to cry for me;
I’ll be coming back from Bush’s Nam
With a flag draped over me.

Well Iraq is free but all I see
Is fighting all around
We’ll teach those Iraqis how to vote
If we have to shoot them to the ground.

‘Cause Bush he needs more oil to sell
And Cheney construction ties
But the rest of us are damned to hell
’Cause Bush you fuckin’ lied.

Oh America, don’t forget to cry for me;
I’ll be coming back from Bush’s Nam
With a flag draped over me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Death and Trafficking

Image hosting by Photobucket

So, I returned home yesterday, and this was what I saw, propped up against the door to my apartment complex. My first thought was, "Wow! That looks like a coffin. But surely it's not, so I'm going to take a picture!" Of course, in order to enter the building, I had to get up all close and personal with the thing, at which point I discovered that not only does it look like a coffin, but it actually *is* a coffin - or at least the lid to one. (Well, what else would it be, right? But who leaves their coffin-tops hanging out outside the front door?) I was a bit weirded out by the whole thing, and perhaps it showed in my face, for when I entered our apartment, Nina M. asked me if I was frightened. My response, "Well, there's a thing downstairs. For dead people." (I didn't know the word for coffin at the time. How is it I know the Russian words for grave and cemetery, but not coffin?) At which point she told me that our neighbor died last night. I'd never met him, or even seen him, except from a distance. Apparently he was old and had been sick for a long time. The coffin-lid was still outside when I left for work this morning. I wonder if that means that the neighbor is still in the house in the, you know, bottom part of the coffin? *Shiver*

This afternoon I had my second class with Marina, my individual student who is leaving for Egypt in three weeks (whom I wrote about HERE). After our initial lesson, I felt quite strongly that her job offer seemed unbelievably shady, so I sent an email to The Angel Coalition, an organization that works to prevent human trafficking in and from Russia. I told them exactly what I wrote in my blog last Thursday, and asked for advice. This is the email I received in response:

Dear Jane,

Thanks a lot for the information and your genuine concern! Please find attached Russian-language information that your student may find useful. Please let her know on your own that you believe the attached should be read thoroughly, and any decision should be well-informed. Some sections may seem redundant for her case, however, they might prove useful in the future.

Please emphasize for your student that no tourist visa can ever be legitimate. A contract should be sent to the lady BEFORE she leaves Russia. If she’s asked to leave and take care of trip-related financial issues “later on”, this should indicate a scam.

Thank you very much.

Oleg Kouzbit
Director, Trafficking Victim Assistance Center,
The Angel Coalition, Moscow

The lesson itself went much better than the previous one, as I was prepared for a Z2 level student, and as I was loaded up with worksheets on the present tense and vocabulary lists. But, since she's paying to practice conversation, we did do a good bit of that too. I asked a lot of questions regarding her potential job in Egypt. It turns out that she was at a night club, dancing, when a man approached her on the dance floor, and offered her a job in his hotel. I explained what she says the job will involve in my last post, but this time she mentioned the rules she has to follow: she must smile all the time, she must always have a good attitude, she must come to the club 6 days a week, she can't talk to one man for longer than ten minutes, and she is not allowed to have a boyfriend. Creepy, creepy. She also said that she will be in Egypt on a working visa, although she said she applied for it through a tourist firm in Moscow (the name of which she could not remember). At the end of the class, I gave her the five-page, Russian-language document sent to me by The Angel Coalition, and told her that it was information for Russian women about being safe while traveling overseas, and she took it eagerly. I hope she reads it! I also told her in great detail about how M and I fled Korea in the middle of the night, in case she needs suggestions on how to pull a runner... I guess we'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A nice walk, lots of photos...

When I first arrived in Russia, I went on long walks whenever I had the opportunity. I don't really do that much any more, partly because Vladimir is a small town and I've walked through most of it, and partly because my Floridian/Georgian ass doesn't enjoy being exposed to subzero temperatures. Today was a beautiful day. It was about -1/0 C, and even though there was a mighty biting wind blowing, the sky was such a clear blue and the sun was out that I knew I had to go for a walk. I wandered along Bolshaya Moscovskaya, essentially going window shopping, then walked around cathedral square and took even more pictures of Uspensky Sobor (the Assumption Cathedral) - but how many pictures of that place do I need? I mean, we all agree that it's gorgeous, and I'm not going to get a better picture of it than this one that I took back in December, so why do I keep photographing it? Because I just can't help myself. But I've decided to try not to post too many shots of it in the future, lest you cats get sick of looking at it. Instead, I'm going to post the pics that I took while walking back from Cathedral Square to the AH along a small back-street called Geogievskaya Ulitsa. Enjoy!

Image hosting by Photobucket
An old apteka (drug store) and and old church
(Sorry, I don't know the church's name)

Image hosting by Photobucket
Back of old church shown above

Image hosting by Photobucket
Old cupola on above church

Image hosting by Photobucket
This archway intrigued me.

Image hosting by Photobucket
The view down Geogievskaya Ulitsa

Image hosting by Photobucket
Old homes on Geogievskaya Ulitsa

Image hosting by Photobucket
Love beer. Self-explanatory. Except, why is it in English?

Image hosting by Photobucket
This place was literally up to its eyeballs in snow.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Here you can see the Uspensky Sobor in the distance,
with the old southern homes of Vladimir in the foreground

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A beautiful day and an odd lesson

The weather today was absolutely gorgeous. Granted, it's still below freezing (our above zero thaw went away three days ago and hasn't yet reappeared) but the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining, so I decided to take a short walk and do my best to rake in some vitamin D. I didn't go very far, as I had to get back to the AH in time for my new class (more on that later in this post), and instead I walked south along Letneperevozinskaya, and then down Voznesenskaya, all the way to the Khristo Voznesenskaya church near the road's end. And of course, I took some pictures.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Voznesenskaya is lined with traditional Russian wooden homes.
This one is my favorite.

Image hosting by Photobucket
The Khristo Voznesenskaya church

Image hosting by Photobucket
From Voznesenskaya, you can see the
Svyato Nikolo Galeiskaya church in the distance.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Here you can see the domes of the Svyato Nikolo Galeiskaya church
above the roof-tops of the homes in the neighborhood.

Today I had my first class with my individual student. I knew nearly nothing about her before the class began, not even her level of English language proficiency. All I knew was that she will be going overseas in three weeks and wants to practice English conversation as much as she can before she leaves. Sounds easy, right? Well, come to find out she has a very low level of English proficiency (if she were studying as part of the AH curriculum, we would classify her as Z2, our second level). On one hand, this is good; I teach Z2 already, so I know what to teach and how to teach it. On the other hand, I went into the lesson planning to shoot the shit for ninety minutes (she had asked for conversational practice, after all!) only to find myself struggling to figure out how to chat for ninety minutes with someone who struggles with the simple present. I do have lots of ideas of what to do for her next class, but man, today was a struggle.

I must say, though, that I left the lesson feeling somewhat disturbed. My student (she's 23 years old) was in Egypt on vacation in Sharm el Sheikh two weeks ago. While there, she met a man who offered her a job at the Royal Rojana Resort Hotel, where she will be leading groups of tourists in aerobics, dart-playing, ping-pong, and volley-ball, and where she will take part in some sort of theater/dancing show. She didn't know any more details than that. She will be living in the hotel. Supposedly, 60% of the people she will work with will speak Russian, and the other 40% will speak English. (Thus her urgent need to practice English before she leaves for Egypt in three weeks.) I don't know... This girl is a book-keeper. She's does aerobics sometimes with her friends, but certainly not professionally. The whole thing seems kind of sketchy to me. I really hope everything works out for her. Maybe I'm just uber paranoid (having done a lot of research on human trafficking) Ahh well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kropotkin and Thoreau

I just finished reading Peter Kropotkin’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, and I highly recommend it, especially to those of you with an interest in Russian history. In case you’re wondering who the hell this Kropotkin fellow might be: He was born in 1842 into a noble Russian family – he was literally Prince Kropotkin – and in his youth he was favored by the Tsar. He is known for renouncing his title and becoming an anarchist-socialist. That’s obviously the ultra-condensed version of his life story. His autobiography – four hundred and sixty some pages – is impressively well written and quite witty.

The first half of the book provides an incredibly detailed glimpse into the life of educated Russian royalty in the mid-to-late 1800s, and the book personalizes the general conflicts endemic of the time, usually symbolized by Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, in a way that Turgenev’s work simply didn’t do for me. I have to say that I do somewhat wonder about the honesty of the work – Kropotkin writes of his youthful views of the harshness of serfdom and the plight of the masses in such as way that it seems to be the product of age and experience. I find it hard to believe that a 19th century Russian prince under the age of ten had such strong egalitarian leanings. But perhaps that’s just me.

I must admit that I found the first half of the book (Kropotkin’s childhood, youth at a military academy, and military service in Siberia) to be more interesting than the second half, which traces Kropotkin’s personal evolution into an anarchist-socialist agitator. This is probably because I don’t really agree with any of his political principles. Don’t get me wrong – I’m an absolutely horrible capitalist, and I’ve chosen (essentially) to turn my back on the capitalistic, so-called “American Dream” but that is a personal solution, which probably serves only to benefit me alone. Kropotkin’s belief in free-socialism, where the masses work together in harmony for the good of the whole without any regulating state body seems naïve. While I do not believe that capitalism is the solution to the woes of society, I believe that it is a natural state: society, if given free reign, will evolve into a capitalist system simply because humans are, by nature, greedy, selfish creatures, and capitalism rewards these traits.

Wow, that was quite a digression. As I was saying, the second half of the book was not as interesting as I do not share Kropotkin’s beliefs; however, that is not to say that I was disinterested in the second half. I found the descriptions of the Russian prison conditions (including the cells of the Peter and Paul Fortress, which I myself have entered, although only as a tourist) fascinating. I also quite agree with Kropotkin’s analysis near the end of the book of the uselessness of prison systems in general when it comes to reforming criminals or preventing crime. A pity he didn’t provide a solution!

One thing, though, that did strike me: Kropotkin renounces his title and his wealth to serve the cause of the masses as an anarchist. Yet, had Kropotkin not been born a prince, he would not have received the lessons (both the life-lessons and the educational-lessons) which led him to follow this path. Additionally, despite his renunciation of his royal lineage, his life was (indirectly) saved as a result of who he was. (While in an overcrowded prison, Kropotkin grew gravely ill. His sister, who was still in favor at the Tsar’s court, petitioned to have him moved to a hospital-prison, where he recovered from his illness, and from whence he escaped.) I wish that during the course of his autobiography, Kropotkin had addressed this dichotomy, this need to rely on his “former self” as he lived the life of an anarchist, but sadly, he did not.

Nonetheless, the book was fascinating, and I recommend it.

Moving on... I would like to mention that I finished Walden about a week ago. I must admit that the first part of the book (Economy through Solitude) was more interesting and more meaningful to me than the second. (What’s with me and the first halves of books these days?) In the first half of Walden, Thoreau outlines his rationale behind his relocation to Walden Pond, and I found it not dissimilar from my life plan. Henry David and I could definitely have had a long talk about economics. Unfortunately, the bulk of the second half of the book (excluding the concluding chapter) focused on life in the woods. I grew up in the woods. I know about this already. Descriptions of birds and fish and the sounds of nature... well, that just isn’t anything new to me.
So, the second half was kind of a disappointment.... but everyone should at least read the beginning. He's got some intelligent things to say.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The past few days...

Saturday we held a poker tournament at the AH. For me, this was incredibly boring. I have never been one for playing card games, I don't enjoy them and I'm not good at them. And I never understood this televised poker craze thing... who the hell wants to watch other people play cards? Yawn! But, we all had to be there, so I went, although I mostly assisted by staying out of the way. After poker, we showed Batman Begins (the AH shows English language movies on Saturdays). I hadn't intended to watch it... Saturday was such an incredibly beautiful day, and I didn't want to waste it in the basement watching a movie I'd already seen... but I couldn't help myself. I'd kind of forgotten how absolutely brilliant that film is. Just like when I saw it in the theater, I sat on the edge of my seat, grinning like an idiot throughout the whole thing. After the movie, six of us headed for Shesh-Besh. We really have become regulars there, to the point that the staff knows us. If any of you ever come to Vladimir as tourists, your guide will probably try to get you to eat at Traktir. Traktir isn't bad, but compared to Shesh-Besh, the food there's mundane at best. And when you go to Shesh-besh, you can't forget to buy a pitcher (koovsheen) of their semi-sweet red wine, as it is the best wine you will ever taste. For various reasons, only three of us were drinking from the pitcher, which may or may not have led to three people, arms linked, staggering along Bolshaya Moscovskaya singing about how our milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard. Sigh.

Sunday morning, B, Y and I went to Dobryak (Vladimir's very large, warehouse-like shopping center) for the purpose of finding spring coats for Y and B. Y came away with a hot orange coat (I tried to have Brooke take a picture of the two of us in our spring coats: Apelsinchik and Apple-Green-chik as we like to say.... but unfortunately my camera was set on video not photo, and I didn't notice until, well, this morning. Whoops.) I bought an absolutely absurd shirt, that kind of makes me look like a Renaissance Elf. So obviously, I love it, even though I will be laughed at every time I wear it.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Renaissance Elf

After leaving Dobryak, I met up with L at the AH for belly dancing lessons. L's been teaching me, B and Y basic belly dancing moves for some time now, in preparation for entering us into a Russian belly dancing class. Yesterday I was the only one dancing with L. (Or trying to dance and making an ass of myself!) But it was fun, and today I ache all over in places where I've never ached before, so it was definitely a work-out. After dancing, we went over to the univermag, and L helped me pick out a scarf covered in coins to wear during belly dancing. Of course, I went home and wore the damn thing around for about an hour, jingling all the way.
Image hosting by Photobucket

In other news, we had a weird, sudden snowstorm this morning. It went from being sunny to blizzardy in about three minutes. Now it's merely overcast. So much for the wonderful weather we've been having!

Image hosting by Photobucket Image hosting by Photobucket
Before and after. I miss the blue sky already.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Spring has sprung... a leak

The great thaw is underway, as we are having yet another day of above freezing temperatures. I've taken some pictures to celebrate the soggy event that is spring in Russia:
Image hosting by Photobucket
The sidewalk in front of my apartment.

Image hosting by Photobucket
The sidewalk leading to the American Home.

Image hosting by Photobucket
There's still a lot left to melt.

Image hosting by Photobucket
But on the plus side, it's an incredibly beautiful day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sunny, slushy and kind of warm

For the past two days, it has been warm here. Of course, my current definition of "warm" totally spits in the face of my Floridian sensibilities. By "warm" I mean above zero C... in the plus one to plus three range. Seriously, after being below freezing for the past four and a half months or so, plus one feels fantastic. I was finally able to bust out the fabulous lime green coat that I bought here last October, and it's been great to be outside. Of course, there are some drawbacks. There are mountains of snow all over the place, some of which are as tall as I am, and at least as deep as they are tall. These snowy mountains have slowly begun to melt, filling the walkways of Vladimir with muddy slush. (I'm sure those of you from snowy climates are wondering why the hell I'm commenting on this, but I grew up in Florida, dammit. I'm allowed.) Anyhow, there are vast puddles, lakes, rivulets and full-on rivers of this slush everywhere I go, and they're likely to be around for a while. Today (thus far, anyway) has been slightly colder than yesterday, being zero degrees in the shade, and plus one in the sunshine. This means that in the sunny spots, one has to dodge mud-puddles, while in the shady places, one must avoid slipping on the fresh layers of ice created by the re-freezing of yesterday's slush. Hooray for spring!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Because I always post embarrassing photos of other people....

Today I dropped my lunch (a bowl of ramen noodle soup) in my lap. Luckily we have a washer and dryer at the AH. Unluckily, no one had any spare clothes. At least there were towels...

And just so mine isn't the only embarrassing photo...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Going "v gosti"

Last week, as I was walking towards the bus-stop on my way home from work, I ran into one of my former students and her mother. They invited me "v gosti" (to come to their house as a guest sometime), and suggested this weekend. Of course, I agreed. Now, inviting someone over to your place "v gosti" is a big deal over here. If someone's coming over v gosti, you cook a full three or four course meal for them, and there will definitely be serious eating. (In a lot of cases, there will be serious drinking too, although this student and her family do not drink.) Yesterday I met Natasha (my former student - she's in one of M's classes this semester) at the bus stop by the Golden Gates, and we walked to the zagorodny bus stop (essentially the bus stop for going out of town). She and her family live in a little suburb of Vladimir, about 15-20 minutes to the south. I must admit that in a lot of ways the whole affair was kind of awkward. I do not know Natasha very well, and I did not know her family at all... and Natasha is incredibly shy. And, well, while I can always type up a storm about just about anything, when it comes to small talk, I totally suck. There were a lot of awkward silences. But, they were all very nice, and fed me a *lot* of yummy food. They also had a cat who looked a lot like Brie (my cat, currently living with my aunt), and who did the same my-eyes-get-big-and-then-I-attack thing that Brie likes to do. Natasha gave me a doll, which I thought was a really strange gift until she told me that she made it herself, and that making dolls is her hobby.

Doll made by Natasha

Natasha and me

Yesterday also served as kind of a reminder as to how small-town-ish this area really is, despite the fact that the population of Vladimir is something like 400,000 people. Natasha's mom mentioned that one of her friends has a teacher from the AH living with her... had I met Ira? (Ira is B's host). Later, when I returned home and told Nina M about my evening, and where I had been, she told me that before she retired, she taught at the school behind the hospital in the region where I'd been. Well, turns out that's Natasha's school. Nina M wrote down her name, and said that next time she talked to her former colleagues, she would ask if any of them were teaching or had taught my student! It's a small world after all....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Yes, I am a nerd.

Oleg Menshikov vs. Commander Data

What do you think?

Wicked Sunset

There was an incredible sunset here in Vladimir last night. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to shoot it over any panoramic vistas or anything, but you get the point.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Barber of Siberia

J, Y and I watched the Barber of Siberia last night, and I recommend it to all of you. (Half of it's in English anyway, and you can get a DVD with subtitles for the rest - assuming you don't speak Russian.) This movie was directed by Nikita Mikhailkov, one of my all-time favorites, and starred Oleg Menshikov (that Russian chap who looks like Commander Data, who was the 'villain' of Burnt by the Sun). The first 3/4 of the movie were hilariously absurd in that way only Russians can be hilariously absurd, and the last quarter was depressing, in the way that only Russian stories can be.... But do watch, and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day! Today, March 8th, is known as International Women's Day, although as far as I've been able to tell, by international they mean (essentially) Russia and the other post-Soviet countries. If you're interested in reading about the history of this (originally) feminist/socialist holiday, please click here. I find it fascinating to read about the history of IWD, and it's kind of disappointing to see how it has evolved. On one hand, I got chocolate, cards and potpourri from various people all because I am in possession of a vagina. Easiest chocolate I've ever received. Plus, March 8th is a national holiday, meaning no work at the AH :-) And it's a less obnoxious holiday than Valentine's Day (let's just say I've never received a damn thing from someone who wasn't a friend or family member on that day - blah!). But the You have a vagina; have some chocolate thing seems a far cry from the original goals of IWD. It's also interesting to note that February 23rd is Defenders of the Fatherland Day here in Russia, another national holiday set aside to honor Russia's armed forces veterans. Now, why is this interesting? Well, Russia (or to be more accurate, the Soviet Union, in its early days) had an astonishing record for women serving, fighting, killing and dying in their armed forces - especially during World War II. Nonetheless, DFD has evolved into what is essentially a Men's Day here in Russia. I suppose there's nothing wrong with having a Men's Day if you're going to have a Women's Day, but does it have to be done in such a way that it excludes the women of Russia's armed forces from being honored on the Russian Veteran's Day? Anyway, now that you've had my two cents on the politics of IWD and DFD, let me tell you how we here at the American Home celebrated "Men's Day" and "Women's Day." For starters, we celebrated both a few days ago (Saturday, March 4th) with a dinner at Traktir (the restaurant nextdoor to the AH). The women gave the men thermoses and cards; the men gave the women scarves and roses. We all drank copious amounts of booze. Traktir put on a dance show for the guests. It began as traditional Russian folk dancing, and devolved into an erotic dance show, with the performers donning skimpier and skimpier outfits for each number. There was even a belly dancer (who we all watched closely, having had another Layla-led belly dancing lesson that afternoon. My conclusion? Layla was better! Of course.) Anyway, the evening was a lot of fun, although I must admit that I didn't leave my apartment all day the next day. I might have been a tad hungover. Maybe.

Image hosting by Photobucket
J, Me, B, Y

Image hosting by Photobucket
Lena and B

Image hosting by Photobucket
Me and Y

Image hosting by Photobucket
Me, Y, Lena

Image hosting by Photobucket
K and Nelly (Nelly is my Russian teacher)

Image hosting by Photobucket
I think at this point, the booze was starting to kick in.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Me, Y, B: All slightly happier

Image hosting by Photobucket
Me, Y, Lena
Notice the slight blurriness of this photo...

Image hosting by Photobucket
M and J
This picture is priceless.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Although speaking of priceless...
Vanya talks to M in his usual animated way :-)

Image hosting by Photobucket
Y and B

Image hosting by Photobucket
Y redeems herself for this one...

Image hosting by Photobucket
And B takes her place.
(I'm completely expecting an utterly horrific shot of me
to appear on one of their blogs 
any day now!)

Image hosting by Photobucket
Ira and M..... teeheehee :-)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Palaces of the People

Since I've recently spent a good bit of time in Moscow, I thought I should post something about my absolute favorite part of the city: the metro system. I love the Moscow Metro. The stations are beautiful, and the system is highly efficient. In a country where so many things are often neither beautiful nor efficient, the existance of said metro is even more amazing. Ever since I first saw the Moscow Metro in 1999, I have wanted to photograph all of the stations, but even though I have tried to work up the nerve, it's never really happened successfully. I never want to look like a tourist in the midst of public mass transit. Plus, locals don't really take too kindly to me whipping out my camera. So I've never done it. I did, however, buy a packet of postcards featuring shots of the insides of various stations, and I thought I'd share.

Let me reiterate: I DID NOT TAKE THESE PHOTOS!!! Unfortunately, the author of each specific picture is not identified. The packaging that held the postcards does contain the following names of photographers: N. Rakhmanov, V. Solomatin, V. Khmelevskii, and Ivan Fedorov.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Ploshchad Revolutsii, 1938

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Komsomolskaya, 1952

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Arbatskaya, 1953

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Mayakovskaya, 1938

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Taganskaya, 1950

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Aviamotornaya, 1979

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Kievskaya (Koltsevaya), 1954

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Park Pobedy, 2003

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Novoslobodskaya, 1952

Image hosting by Photobucket
Metro Station Kievskaya, 1953