Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, and Karokee

Yes, I am still alive and kicking!  The past couple of days has been one hilarious story after the next.  I’ll recap some of the best ones here.  One Friday after finishing up that blog post I headed over to the Kremlin and Red square.  I’ve seen the Kremlin and Red Square before in movies or newspaper articles or something but in person, it’s a different story.  The square itself is an old cobble street with a huge military fort constructed around 1490.  The structure alone is impressive from far away but up close, it is more daunting.  I did not go inside the Kremlin due to too long of a line and being late in the afternoon.  Instead, I walked around the whole perimeter in the gardens looking at the various statues and slightly making fun of them on snapchat.  When I decided to head back to my part of town I noticed a group of people gathering outside the nearby mall.  I decided it might be something with the mall you know a promotional activity kinda thing.  After getting closer to the small crowd I noticed they had signs and were yelling.  I know my parents are freaking out right now, but no I did not stay I promptly headed into the mall.  Now, this mall was the mall of malls.  It was exclusively high-end retail shops some of the lower shops being Louis Vuitton.  The inside of the mall was similar to a Las Vegas Casino.  There were fountains, trees, beautiful walkways into every shop.  Due to limited baggage space, I decided not to purchase anything.  Upon making it back to my neighborhood I found a local restaurant for dinner.  I had a couple of Paulaner beers, Russian calamari, and a flank steak with a fried eggs and fried onions on top.  The beers were fantastic I will try and find some back in the States.  The calamari was interesting because it was not like your typical calamari.  Other calamari I’ve had you could pretty much see the little squids and lightly fried this kind of calamari best resembled Burger King Onion rings.  A very hard fried layer in a circular shape, with a mayo/tartar kinda sauce, different but it was good.  The beef had very little flavor to it, however, I found that when you mixed in the egg and onions it was splendid.

Upon making it back to my neighborhood I found a local restaurant for dinner.  I had a couple of Paulaner beers, Russian calamari, and a flank steak with a fried eggs and fried onions on top.  The beers were fantastic I will try and find some back in the States.  The calamari was interesting because it was not like your typical calamari.  Other calamari I’ve had you could pretty much see the little squids and lightly fried this kind of calamari best resembled Burger King Onion rings.  A very hard fried layer in a circular shape, with a mayo/tartar kinda sauce, different but it was good.  The beef had very little flavor to it, however, I found that when you mixed in the egg and onions it was splendid.

After dinner, I stopped at the grocery store picking up some candy and beer.  I have to say too I love how good the cheap beer is.  To give you an idea at a bar a beer cost about $2 and at the store maybe a dollar.  With my different Russain candy and 2 beers, it cost me about a $1.50.  Getting back to the hostel I met some of the new people who had checked in while I was out.  After we finished drinking at the hostel we headed to some nearby bars for the next couple of hours.  After seeing the sun rise again we headed back to the hostel to end the night.

Waking up the next morning I made myself a cup of coffee and sat with the others joking about last night.  One of them brought up the idea to go see a football (soccer) game.  I knew I was going to the Bolshoi theatre that night but I figured I had plenty of time.  The soccer game was a big rivalry between the local Moscow team and the capital of southern Russia, Rostov-on-Don.  Watching a game in there was hilarious when you enter the stadium there’s a metal detector and Russain special police to double check you.  Seemed pretty standard and nothing crazy about it but I forgot I was wearing my cowboy boots.  So the guys checking my legs and get to the boots freaks out and calls the special police.  The special police are riot police in American.  So these guys come over in their riot gear and start talking to me.  I show them my passport explain I’m from Texas.  I guess one of them watched too many John Wayne movies because he says, “Oh you cowboy like John Wayne.” I replied back in my best John Wayne impression, “Why I ought..” One of them understands the joke and starts laughing and lets me in.  The game ended up being a draw, 0-0, but it was hilarious watching the fans.  I decided that if you combined all of the stereotypes of SEC fans they’re similar except we never did concussion grenades at the game, or had a 15-foot fence with barbed wired on top for the visiting fans.  I think LSU should look into this for next time we play Alabama.  Once the game ended we headed to a cafe to warm up and then back to the hostel, mind you it’s about 5:30, show starts at 7.

It took us almost an hour of walking and riding the metro to get back and I still had to change and shower.  So get back around 6:30 take a quick shower and change, 6:45 and started to walk over to the theater.  Finally get to the theater 6:58 go thru security now time to find my seat.  None of the people knew English very well so after a lot of pointing and charades I make it to my level.  I hand the lady my ticket and she briskly walks me to my balcony seat.  I took my seat and the curtain rose, perfect timing haha.  The show was beyond my imagination, the theatre alone is spectacular.  The play was called Manon Lescaut did I understand anything going on, no nothing whatsoever.  However, that made it more interesting because I guessed what was going on.  Basically, in my mind, it was a story of two young lovers but she was agreed to an old man of wealth they escape and then die together.  I did just read the synopsis and I was pretty close.  Here’s a link to the synopsis, http://www.mnopera.org/manon-lescaut/synopsis/.   After the play was over I headed back to the hostel for a quiet night in or so I thought.

When I got back to the hostel there was a group of Spaniards and Austrians drinking and playing cards against humanity.  I asked if I could join and they said sure.  Now I’ll just say this, there are some phrases/words we use in America that the rest of the world does not.  None of the phrases/words I had to explain were appropriate except for Dick Cheney.  For those that have played cards against humanity, you know where I’m coming from for those that haven’t I’m sorry you won’t get this one.

After a couple games and some more vodka, we decided to go out to a bar nearby.  Turns out the bar was an American Karaoke bar called Bowie, after David Bowie.  The place was filled with young Russians singing all the classic rock songs.  The music was pretty much classic white people wedding music, Neil Diamond, Journey, you get the idea.  Yes, I did sing twice actually, Don’t stop believing and Livin on a Prayer.  Don’t stop was definitely the crowd pleaser.  One thing I learned about Russians last night is they don’t know how to swing dance.  So, for example, an Elvis song was playing and I go up to a girl asking her to dance. It took a good minute for her to understand.  She agrees and I give her a good spin then start dancing.  This seemed to create a little bit of interest in the people nearby because they gave us the dancefloor making a circle around us.  I then proceed to bust out all the moves giving quite a good show, if I say so myself.  Once the song was over we got quite the applause and I got a kiss.  So I did was any smart person would do, I grabbed another beer and waited for the nest swing song to dance again.  I repeated this a couple more times before I was danced out.  Walking home I watched the sun rise again before bed.   The weather today is pretty bad, a mixture of snow and rain with the temperature about 30ish degrees.  With that being said I don’t know if I’ll be doing anything today expect another update in a couple days.

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