15 July 2009

War museum, connected ear lobes, and mini America?

So we went on this excursion on Sat to a war museum well it was a World War II museum and it was really interesting. at first. we went to this basement part that remembered and honored all those who died in Russia. It was around 30 million. then we went on this tour were you looked at painting and our tour guide described them. at first it was really interesting but after 2 hours you tend to loose interest. also it kinda turned into the battle of the translators. the tour hired a translator but a couple of people in our group felt they could translate better so it was the russian lady and like 3 translators talking at the same time. this is when i started not paying attention and when my friend noticed i had connected ear lobes. apparently it is rare or something anyway we started playing the game look at people ear lobes. i was the only one. soo now it is a big joke. something about me being a freak. fantastic. haha.

after the museum we walked around a park. it is called victory park...clever since that is where they honor most of their soldiers and commemorate Russia's victory over germany. It is a really really cool fun park. actually this week they are having a beach volleyball tournament there. it is part of the world tour.

after the park we went Sarah's house for a cookout and to spend the night. her dad works in moscow but the rest of her family was in the states visiting. she invited us over for a break from moscow. she lived in this community for foreigners in moscow. kinda like an army base but not military. anyway we made hamburgers and french fries from scratch and they were amazing. her dad grilled them for us along with veggies to put on it. after dinner some people went for a walk around the complex but sarah her dad me and one more of my friends played tennis. it was really fun but i am out of practice plus not very good to begin with. After tennis we ate ice cream and watched a movie. it was fantastic and quite the needed break.

sunday we left and headed back to moscow leaving our nice little America. ha. we had church and i was giving a small little talk in russian for relief society and ashley and linsey were singing. luckily it all went well. after church we walked around a bit and then i went to go visit a friend that was feeling sick. she was doing better so overall it was an amazing weekend! PLUS it was sunny and amazing all weekend tooo. fantastic summer is showing itself!

13 July 2009

ostrich eggs and coconut shells

so friday we went to the armory. which was really huge and had a lot of the same kinda stuff. but it was cool stuff. it had different type of silverware and plates and things of that nature. it also had some Faberge eggs (see previous post to learn more or google it) then there was the actual armory part which had knives and swords and ivory encrusted rifles...because who doesn't need those around. it also showed armory of the time. it was way cool. there were also a lot of goblets. i snuck in on someone else's english tour and learned about some that were made out of ostrich eggs and coconut shells...while fascinating..i went back to my game of making up descriptions and stories myself...generally in a really bad english accent. actually highly entertaining. at least for me. then we went to the bottom floor where they had a bunch of catherine the great's dresses. it was kinda funny because although the dresses were probably in order from when she was young to when she was older..it looked like they were arranged from skinniest to fattest. i'm a jerk i know but...i speak the truth. there were also some really cool carriages that were super nice. and also some sledges. for some reason the russian word for sleigh translates to sledge. hmm. i dunno maybe because they are covered. i have no idea.

after the museum we went to a ballet. i generally get into trouble because i continue my story telling in these. ballets as you know just have dialogue so it is sometimes fun to make up your own stories. however a bad idea when you start laughing and can't stop. i blame ashley for laughing too much which made me laugh more. hah. anyway we went to giselle which was gorgeous and had beautiful music. see i appreciate culture. afterwards i came home to my empty apartment. it was great.


this was linsey's birthday. also for those counting which i am not..it was the month mark for when i come home. ha. for her birthday we went to a pizzeria by my house and then about 12 of us came over to my apartments for ice cream. (we have had bad luck with cakes here) then some people played ping pong while the rest of us played famous people. my team won by the way. it was a really fun day and i hope linsey enjoyed it. ...judging by her blog she did...but i was nervous cause i played it and it would be alll my fault if she had a crummy birthday.

05 July 2009

the 4th!

so on the 4th of July i went to where the Russian government is..the Kremlin. it was cool. actually it was freezing cold probably aroun 40 degrees plus i biting wind. so much for the hot summer. anyway despite the fact it felt like november in july we had a pretty good time. we walked around and looked at some churched. there are like 5 churches in the Kremlin which is kinda funny because Stalin lived there and i don't think he prayed once. so we went in those and that was pretty cool and then we also got to see some sort of parade thing for some cermony. clearly i was informed. after the kremlin i went home to take a nap i was not feeling well and the last thing i needed was to get sick. so i went home and slept for 2 and a half hours. it was fantastic and needed. i felt so much better. When i got up i headed out to meet some of our group for the 4th of july party we were havign at a couple's apartment. we all got ice cream and toppings and just ate and talked. it was a pretty fun 4th even though we didn't have fireworks or you know sun. but it was nice to sit around and talk about different things and just chill for a bit. we were actually there til almost 11. oops. i came home afterwards and just feel back asleep. my body i think was still trying to make up for st. petes and all the running around i do here. but good news also. my hot water came back on on the 4th. it was heavenly. it was supposed to come back on on the 1st but it took til the 4th just when i was starting to loose hope. now i have hot water which is great because it is supposed to be cold and rainy this week. well folks. i am caught up on my blog. you are welcome.

the cosmos

so this past friday we went to the cosmonaut museum. well sort of. we went and the sign for admission said students were free..fantastic who doesn't love free stuff? well when we got to the window the couple in front of me (both of them had served missions) got to the window and the lady wouldn't take their student id cards. it was just our russian ones, so i got to the window i pulled out all three of my student id cards. they wouldn't take any of them insisting that it was free only for russian students. we argued that the sign only said students and we were students. it turned into this argument which is kinda funny anyway cause you haven't really been yelled at unless you have been yelled at in russian. anyway they finally make us move out of the way to help other people, we being to stubborn at this point to pay even though it was only 3 dollars. and the original irritable lady came out with a new sign which she had written RUSSIAN next to students in bold. hilarious. at least we inspire change. this might not seem like a funny story but ridiculous. it is ridiculous which is why it is funny and very typical russian.

so instead we went outside and played on the solar system. they have a small statue thing which has all of the planets around a sun sundial. even little pluto is still there.

we will probably go back. and hopefully deal with nicer ladies ones i wouldn't mind giving 3 dollars to.

the adventure continues...St. Pete day 2

So. i woke up amazed at how well i slept with my roommate kinda laughing at me for falling asleep so abruptly especially since all the lights and the tv were on. ha
anyway. we got up and went to have another huge breakfast with rice and mini hot dogs this time. haha well and normal stuff too. i actually took some boiled eggs for the road. yum. judge me. but i didn't have to buy lunch. we had decided the day before to go to peterhoff which i believe is peter the great's palace..anyway the people kinda of organizing it slept in and were eating when 8 of us were ready to go and somehow i got put in charge of getting us there. we got on the metro fine found the right bus and made it to Peterhoff. go me. i had some help you know with the front desk lady telling us how to go and which bus to take. so yeah. anyway. we got there and it was amazing. the grounds are extensive and gorgeous. we actually went in the back way and were amazed when we got to the front 'yard' we were even more impressed. there were fountains and such and a canal leading from the sea. the castle is right on the gulf of finland. it was wind and cold that day but it was still gorgeous and there were plenty of things to find and wander to. we had a good time. then we went back to the bus and started our trip back to St Pete's to look around the city more. the first stop was the cathedral of the spilt blood, it is where alexander II was assassinated. it kinda looks like st. basil's but i a little cooler. plus the inside is way cooler with all types of mosaics. after that we went to Kazan cathedral which was built to look like St. Peter's in Rome which i found ironic because doesn't the Russian Orthodox church not want to be related to Catholicism? anyway. it was really pretty and cool. but definitely more catholic looking that orthodox. after that we walked down to the winter palace which is very pretty and huge around on the square AND the sun came out. it was fantastic. The winter palace was on one end of the main street in St. pete's and we decided to walk to the other end where our hotel was so we could met before going to the train station. it took us almost 2 hours to get back because we were shopping and looking at things, maybe stopped for ice cream. ps mcdonalds stiffed us and raised the price of ice cream cones 2 rubles. those jerks. i think by the time we made it to the hotel we had walked well over 10 miles the whole day. when we got to the hotel we grabbed some dinner at the store and then most people took the metro to the train station but some of us walked. i walked. it was great. but by the time i got to the train station i again was exhausted. unfortunately i could not sleep well on the train and when we arrived on monday i came home and slept for a bit, then woke up did some stuff and the slept til about 1. i still don't feel like it was enough but i was just grateful they cancelled classes. i would have perished right there in russian grammar if they hadn't.

Saturday- St Pete's day 1

So we hurried off the train and followed our tour guide to the bus. she was quite the the guide. We would randomly stop and then she would say we have 100 more meters til the street, then we will get on the bus...haha.
so we got on the bus. and drove down to the hotel and checked in luckily breakfast wasn't starting til 7;30 so i ran to my room and took a hot shower. this was amazing. i think i have forgot to mention but moscow turns of the hot water for 2 weeks at a time in different parts of the city to check pipes. i was on my 2 weeks. towards then end and in desperate need for a hot shower. needless to say the hot shower made me fall in love with st. pete's at once. then we went down stairs and had a massive breakfast complete with pork and steamed vegetables if you wanted. i stuck to more traditional breakfast food like blini (crepes) and kasha (rice oatmeal) it is fantastic. after breakfast we got back on the bus and began our 5 hour tour of st. petersburg. we stopped on a bridge to see the 'lighthouses' they are on the river. st. pete's is covered with canals and water. the venice of russia some say. after that we headed to Peter and Paul fortress which was built by the Peter the Great. we went into the cathedral there which is where all the czars are buried including nicholas the II and his family. After that we also stopped and looked at a couple old ships one was called the aurora and fired the signal to begin the Oct revolution and one was Peter's old boat. pretty cool. then we went shopping and i got some cool stuff. not telling. ha. and then we went to a cathedral. it was st. isaac's cathedral which was built in honor of Nicholas something but you can't really build churches to honor czar so they named it after nicholas's patron saint..isaac. The inside was pretty cool but we didn't have time to go to the top which i was kinda sad about. after the cathedral we went to lunch at around 1. it was fantastic. i didn't realize i was so hungry...i probably shouldn't have been from all i ate at breakfast. after lunch we went to go see a famous statue which is peter the great on a horse who is stepping on a snake. i kinda enjoyed the snake being stepped on even though it was still an ugly thing. after the statue we went to the hermitage which is like the russian louvre. it has some really cool things in there but is known for its collection of Rembrandt, it also had a couple of da vinci and you know monet. it is huge. it is one of those places you can never really see all of it. we spent almost 3 hours there and afterwards stood out in the rain waiting for our bus. it was kinda fun actually things were pretty lively around the water because the end of the boat around the world tour race or something like that was ending in st pete's so we got to see the 'lighthouses' lit up which they never do during the day and usually on national holidays. so that was something. after the hermitage some people went to a play but i was so beat and was pretty sure i didn't want to pay 50 bucks to take a nap so i went to the hotel. some of us that didn't go went to the grocery store and bought dinner and then ended up talking. so much for the nap. we were going to try and stay up for the white nights in St. pete's but it was rainy and gross. it is supposed to be cool because they lift the bridges so boats can come in and you can see, but not til one in the morning. i was gunna go to sleep and wake up and watch it. didn't quite happen like that. i got into my comfortable bed, and my roommate got in the shower and i was watching some news ...plus all of the lights were on. i didn't even stay awake til the end of her shower...i didn't move til like 7 the next morning. oops. i guess that is what happens when you have a bed rather than a chair-bed. it was fantastic.