Episode One (of Four)
Day 1 In Moscow
So, I just returned from a two week long journey around russia, writing this from the safety of my home in Denver, where i am trying to heal my body and get some rest after an amazing and beautiful but completely exhausting and disorienting experience. I really wanted to write a tour diary for mishka about my time spent, because after being there you realize how little we americans actually know what Russian life is like, and for the fact that the word “Мишка” was one of the few Russian words I spoke while in russia (the word means “little bear” or “cute bear“).
I should let you know that this was actually my second time to Russia. I went to moscow a year ago to perform one show, (watch MTV Russia’s hilarious coverage of that show) and it was such a success and so much fun that we knew we had to do it again, but this time just bigger, and with MORE RUSSIA. So this time around, I performed in 3 cities, and spent about four or five days in each, really getting a feel for what it is like to be young and Russian in 2011.
I arrived solo in Moscow at about 7 am after a ten hour flight from New York, and after trying in a panic to locate my baggage for about an hour, I was met by my friends i had met a year ago, Jenia and Diana, who accompanied me on a train from the airport into the city. After meeting up with some other kids, we spent the day walking around one of Moscow’s many enormous outdoor parks left over from the soviet era called “the exhibition of national economic achievements.” While there I couldn’t help but think of it being the actual real life dark carnival.
Built in 1939 and Consisting of gigantic and beautifully designed but decaying buildings dedicated to each of the former countries of the soviet union, the park has been transformed in to sort of a outdoor fair full of “Russian trash” as my Russian friends called it and it was a term I would hear quite often during my trip. The fair was a place where you could buy any bootleg nu-metal t shirt, ride terrifying and seemingly broken carnival rides, or hang out with chain smoking carnival booth attendees standing next to strange games that would just have a pictures of Angelina Jolie with some explosions behind her. The park also had some of the coolest and strangest sculptural art I have ever seen and was generally a paradise for freaks.
After a day at the park and walking around Moscow it was time for me to get on a train for Kazan, where i would be spending the next 5 days. By this time I had been awake over 24 hours due to the jet lag so i was feeling a bit out of it, so I was looking forward to the 12 hours I was about to spend on the train to get some sleep.
Diana and her boyfriend Andrew helped me get a cab to the train station. One of the amazing parts about russia is that no one takes actual cabs. If you need a ride you just stick your arm out and a random person will pull up and give you a ride. instantly. It is like its own micro economy, and it’s the shit because it’s extremely cheap and most times really entertaining because they will be blasting trance or drum and bass music while driving super fast and dangerous like everyone else in the city. Russian drivers make Los Angeles drivers seem tame.
Before I got to the train I was told I was riding “first class,” which I was excited for because I had never travelled in anything first class and I was totally sleep deprived. After I got to the train I was shown the reality of russian first class on trains. A “room” which was about a 6×6 feet with two bunk beds in it and 3 other russian people who spoke no English. So I sat there quietly, drank some Hoegaardens and passed out for the duration of the 12 hour ride.
To be Continued…
Next Up, Episode II: Kazan and the Rusian Soul.- Pictureplane