Saturday, October 11, 2014

Moscow -- First Impressions

It's been more than a week since I arrived in Russia, finally. For the first time. Yes. Ever. I'd never been to Moscow before (except for agonizing hours in the airport transit area, that is). It is even more exciting and intriguing to be here at such a time, as the region undergoes massive and rapid changes (crashing and burning?) and as the Iron Curtain seems to be coming back down.

I'm here for work -- dissertation research. But given the circumstances, I have decided to undertake an exploration of the city, as well (which, I am told, is so different from the rest of the country that it should be considered an independent republic within the greater Federation). Participant observation, if you will.

St. Basil's Cathedral. Gorgeous at any time of the day. (All photos are my own)

It is funny how familiar Moscow seems sometimes. I don't know if it's all those stories I heard from my grandma's childhood, countless hours spent reading about Russia and Russians, or just the good ol' Soviet movies. But yes, now that my brain has finally switched back to speaking primarily Russian, the place doesn't seem alien at all.

But then, again, first impressions are often simplistic, if not wrong. Here are a few interesting, sad, amusing, and perhaps all too ordinary observations from these past ten days: