Red Square & Rachmaninoff Nov. 11-14

Red Square & Rachmaninoff Nov. 11-14

This week began with a boom. Literally. Apparently on Monday, Dian was sitting in class and heard ‘gunshots.’ At the end of the day, he and the rest of the students who had class were walking home and noticed this car on fire, or what was left of it, sitting on the side of the road:

Aren't CRV's supposed to be safe?

Aren’t CRV’s supposed to be safe?

Check out that paint job. Paint styling like this is not uncommon in Moscow.

Check out that paint job. Paint styling like this is not uncommon in Moscow.

So as of today (Nov 21) this car is still there, but with a cover over it. We have no idea what happened but it’s somewhat interesting.

On Saturday, Tanya & I decided to go see the Diamond Fund and so after my morning run we headed out. As we were exiting the student hostel area, we got caught in the middle of a camera crew setting up there equipment to film a scene:

And they even put fake snow down, and all over the tree. They had a cart system for the camera to go through the tunnel on the right.

And they even put fake snow down, and all over the tree. They had a cart system for the camera to go through the tunnel on the right.

But we eventually made it to the center, and inside the Kremlin walls.

A little preview of the Kremlin.

A little preview of the Kremlin.

This is all we got to see of the Kremlin. And since our tickets were for 2pm we decided to walk around Red Square and the outside walls to kill the time before our Diamond Fund time.

So much brick for the Kremlin walls.

So much brick for the Kremlin walls.

Thankfully, the Red Square was open. It has been closed every time we try to come here.

Thankfully, the Red Square was open. It has been closed every time we try to come here. (Lenin’s tomb is in the center)

St. Basil's on the left, and one of the Kremlin Wall Towers on the right.

St. Basil’s on the left, and one of the Kremlin Wall Towers on the right.

Lenin's tomb. We didn't go in to see the body this time, but next weekend I hope to go in and see his pink face. (Apparently he has a pink hue to him)

Lenin’s tomb. We didn’t go in to see the body this time, but next weekend I hope to go in and see his pink face. (Apparently he has a pink hue to him)

St. Basil's up close.

St. Basil’s up close.

Since we had more time, we dropped into St. Basil’s to check it out. There are about 9 separate towers/rooms of worship.

The first room of worship inside Basil's

The first room of worship inside Basil’s.

One of the walls in another room.

One of the walls in another room.

Looking upward in the same hall.

Looking upward in the same hall.

Looking to the right while sitting in the same hall.

Looking to the right while sitting in the same hall.

And finally, to the left showing the door we came in. This was the biggest and tallest hall.

And finally, to the left showing the door we came in. This was the biggest and tallest hall.

So two Friday’s ago, while we were chillin’ at the IUM, and Lenny was thinking about selling his Oakley gloves to me because they were too big for him, Adeel leaned over and said, “Yeah, Caleb that would be a good idea. Oakley is like Oakland & Berkeley put together so it would be perfect for you.” I had never thought of that before. But it turns out Oakley isn’t from the Bay Area so it would have been a bad idea. Plus, I wear Smith, because…

...even when life moves too fast to capture, you can count on Smith to stay fresh, in focus.

…even when life moves too fast to capture, you can count on Smith to stay fresh, in focus.

It was now time for our Diamond Fund appointment so we headed back over to the inner Kremlin area. The inside was particularly dark and unfortunately the tour was in Russian. But I was with Tanya so she translated for me; plus, they gave me an information sheet for each exhibit. My favorites were the Platinum with diamonds brooch and a gold and emerald corsage. But everything was pretty amazing. Catherine the Great’s Scepter was pretty incredible. She took the old Russian Scepter and stuck a fat diamond on it that some dude got her from western Europe as a gift. Most of these treasures were declared property of the state by Peter the Great and so have been passed down to each generation. Now they sit in the museum for us to gawk at. But they were impressive. Especially the large pieces of gold (36.2 kg) and platinum (7kg). Check out the wiki page for more information as I was not allowed to take any photos and I forgot to bring the information sheet with me: Diamond Fund. Then we headed back to the outer walls of the Kremlin and decided to walk around before heading home.

The trees outside the Kremlin walls are rather pretty.

The trees outside the Kremlin walls are rather pretty.

I called Lenny to help us decide if we were going straight back to the dorm or if we were going to stop at Kievskaya to shop for food supplies.

I called Lenny to help us decide if we were going straight back to the dorm or if we were going to stop at Kievskaya to shop for food supplies.

Later that night Bill came into my room and reminded me of a Rachmaninoff concert that we had been invited to. I completely forgot and sped to get ready. Rachmaninoff’s third concerto was going to be performed by one of the best orchestras in Russia. So we took the metro to the outer parts of Moscow, near the State University actually, and got out to walk to the hall.

This is how we cross the street in Moscow and other cities in the former Soviet Union countries. Underground passage ways. First time I've seen one empty when I wasn't on a run.

This is how we cross the street in Moscow and other cities in the former Soviet Union countries. Underground passage ways.

The program for the evening.

The program for the evening.

This was a huge surprise. Not only were we going to get to see the Rach 3, but Brahms’s 4th Symphony was being performed as well. Stoked!

The orchestra appeared.

The orchestra appeared.

And then the pianist came out. She was very good but unfortunately very quiet, and so didn’t quite capture the fervor of the piece. I’m not sure if she wasn’t using enough energy or if the acoustics were just horrible. But the orchestra sounded superb so I’m unsure. I fell asleep during the 2nd movement of the Rach Concerto which meant that it was very good (Plus I was really tired). But I do have a tendency to fall asleep at classical concerts for some reason. I think it just soothes me into a peaceful state and I just relax to the point where I sleep. Anyway, the Brahms Symphony 4 was great and I lasted 3 movements before I drifted again. I was wide awake toward the end and enjoyed it all, including the encore.

And the concert ends after a Liszt Hungarian Dance encore.

And the concert ends after a Liszt Hungarian Dance encore.

Perhaps the coolest looking building in the fog in Moscow, the gold up top supposedly solar panels, according to one of the Russians with us.

Perhaps the coolest looking building in the fog in Moscow, the gold up top supposedly solar panels, according to one of the Russians with us.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist taking more photos of this place.

The top of the other side of the building, shorter but still capped with this gold solar panel configuration.

The top of the other side of the building, shorter but still capped with this gold solar panel configuration.

These neon lights were ridiculously cool. I wonder if because they are green, then they don't ruin one's night vision, or bat's vision.

These neon lights were ridiculously cool. I wonder if because they are green, then they don’t ruin one’s night vision, or bat’s vision.

This is one of the funnest things I've seen in Moscow so far. I can't stop taking photos.

This is one of the funnest things I’ve seen in Moscow so far. I can’t stop taking photos.

Finally, as we were walking away, I got a full photo of the whole building complex.

Finally, as we were walking away, I got a full photo of the whole building complex.

This sign was right above the metro. 4°C is actually warmer than average lately. This was a slightly warm week.

This sign was right above the metro. 4°C is actually warmer than average lately. But it’s still feels super cold.

We rushed home and hung out before I tried to go to sleep only noticing that insomia is beginning to creep up on me. Seems to be happening more and more every semester now. To counter, I read almost a hundred pages in my new book, Hyperion. It’s incredibly complex in terms of how many aspects of life & society Simmons chooses to write about. I’m stunned by how much I’ve learned about this fictional society. It’s like Battlestar Galactica merged with Dune, merged with Serenity, merged with a story where 7 specifically chosen people make a pilgrimage to a planet because the religion there needs them to meet with their ‘god,’ a metal? monster with 4 arms that can freeze time, and has been killing a lot of people, because of some time tombs that are being opened up for the first time in 300 years while at the same time these ousters, a society like the mutants from Serenity, are coming to invade the planet (I don’t know another book with a plot like this so I just listed the plot). Nevertheless, I finally fell asleep.

4 Responsesto “Red Square & Rachmaninoff Nov. 11-14”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Caleb,
    You are soooo right. that solar building kicks ass from all angles. I bet it felt miraculous standing there that night. Also that picture of the lichen greened tree against the brick wall of the Kremlin was beautiful.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oy Caleb,
    Since your Mom told me today that my comments might work, I went back and submitted all over the place. Hope it’s okay. Cause if it’s not, well, you’re hosed, eh?

  3. LebCa says:

    I felt like some organ should be playing a Major 7th Chord to make the majestic/ominous feeling even more powerful.

  4. LebCa says:

    They definitely worked, and I attempted a response for each one. It was fun. You now hold the title of most frequent commenter.

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