My "dosug" (free time) in Moscow...

Moscow is a great city for entertainment. The best way to be in the know of all of the exciting events happening around town is to buy an "Afisha" or "Time Out Moscow" magazine.  Each week there is a new hip roof-top restaurant opening up or a new art exhibit, or theater performance.  I'm on a pretty tight budget, but I still get to go to some fun places. 

My cousin (Lika), her boyfriend (Kostya) and I attended an art show/performance night at this really cool space called "Garazh".  Garazh is an old trolly station remodeled to be an art space.  The place was swarming with hipsters (Moscow has a lot of them).  In one room, a video showed a mans arm lying on the table as different things restricted the blood flow into the hand.  First, a foot and then a rubber banbd. Weird! I was not the biggest fan of that video.  Another room was dedicated to blimps that were recently filmed flying over Venice.  There was also a video and various art depicting the event.  Further on we saw that one of the Garazh white walls was being paintied blue, along with several depictions of people climbing it.  To be honest, I wasn't very impressed. However, there was an excellent DJ spinning and the Garazh cafe was very trendy and cozy. 

On another day, my grandmother's brother, Vitya, invited me to the opening of an art exhibit in honor of the "Poltavskaya Battle."  The battle was won by Russians against the Swedish during the Northern war.  It signals the end of the Swedish empire and the beginning of the Russian empire. The Culture Minister, Swedish Ambassador, Ukrainian Ambassador and several generals spoke at the opening ceremony.  There was also a great military orchestra that played several marches. Inside at the exhibit were maps, metals, letters, weapons, uniforms, etc. Vitya is a huge history buff and it was very interesting to hear all of his accounts of the events of that period.

I have also met up with several of my friends that live here in Moscow. One friend, Masha, moved to Moscow from my hometown Saratov in 1997 and has just finished getting her MBA from the Moscow State University (the Harvard of Russia).  Another friend, Vanya, is also from Saratov.  He also moved to Moscow around the same time and now works at a very prestigious insurance company (although he started only recently after being let go by a rather large bank due to the economic crisis - a common story here in Moscow).  Vanya is one of the lucky ones.

Finally, one weekend I travelled to the village where many of my relatives (from my mom's side) live.  The village is called "Sen'kino" after the last name of a wealthy man who owned that area a long time ago.  Two of my grandmother's sisters continue to live/vacation there and so do some of their children (my uncles, aunts, and second/third cousins).  That area is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever seen. Surrounded by a pine forest, all of the homes are tiny wooden buildings (except for the homes of the "wealthy" built out of brick.)  There are many chickens wandering along the roads, you can smell the cows and goats everywhere, and very near by is a pond where children swim all summer long. I had to visit 6 homes over two days, but it was so nice to see everyone and to tell them about my travels to Argentina, law school experiences, and the internship in Moscow.  We also went swimming, rode bikes, and ate very good local food (all grown/milked in their backyards).  The air is so fresh, cool and the stars are so bright at night. In the evenings I went to the "banya" (Russian "spa" of sorts).  

So, these have been some of my non-work related experiences so far. Today I'm actually trying to attend a music festival called "MIGZ" happening all over the city.  Some performances will be in local night spots. Good luck to me in getting in....they all exercise very strict "face control" (if you don't look/dress the right way, there is no chance in getting in). Well, there are always plenty of other low key alternatives in Moscow.

Do skorogo (until soon),