Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Modern Art in Moscow

Another day in Moscow, another set of museums and galleries. For it's too cold to hang out outside for too long a time...

This one is my favorite. Something about Russian people being supressed and Europe letting go.

A graveyard for Barbie dolls.

A set of sexy bras.

Go vegan/vegetarian!

A lovely Museum of Photography (that sadly happens to be a flame for hipster wannabe moths), a few nice exhibitions there, e.g. first years of photography by Stanley Kubrick.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Moscow vs Berlin?.. Nah

Well, this past day reminded me why I so prefer to hit the road by myself. When I'm by myself, I'm the one who fully, completely and irreversibly sets the tone for me: I walk as fast or as slow as I damn well please, I eat when I want to eat, spend or not spend as much money as I wish and in general, I have utmost control over the situation. But when someone else is around (especially someone who is so different from me), I have to adjust my likes and wishes with them. Of course we still end up doing what I want to do and going where I want to go (since my friend is lazy enough to even come up with a route or a plan :), but not after some slow walking, coffee drinking, getting cold, complaining, etc.

This is not to say I don't enjoy having my good friend around, it's just I'd do more stuff if I was by myself. 

Anyway. Nevertheless the day wasn't bad. We went to a couple of galleries of the local MOMA and most of the stuff they had was quite fascinating. Particularly the Beyond the Oil Route photo exhibition and the accompanying 17-minute docu. 

Moscow has surprisingly boring streets and pathways. I thought maybe I was wrong before, but now we both see it. Mostly Soviet-type buildings with narrow pavements, some expensive restaurants and yeah, nothing more to report. Oh, right, also it's a city of Subways. Subway and (questionable?) theaters are everywhere here. 

Obviously this city does not even deserve to be compared to Berlin, but I'm even surprised by the fact that Moscow doesn't give off a specific feeling or a vibe. I mean, ok, the subway is monumental and depressing, but that's underground, I don't feel anything from what's upstairs, so to speak. I could literally come up with a hundred epithets for Berlin (have to smile when I think of that place), but Moscow leaves me completely cold, in more than one sense.

I'm curious about modern art produced here, so I'll be checking out some more venues to see what kind of stuff Russian artists come up with these days. My friend would prefer something less contemporary, but since she can't be bothered to go anywhere by herself... modern art it is. :-)

The very distinct, fascinating and overwhelming vibe of Berlin:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moscow 2012

Writing this at the start of my third day in Moscow, a city that never really spoke volumes to my heart or brain, but spending 10 days at home with family would be worse, so... Moscow it is.

My friend and I arrived pretty late on December 31, after she forgot her cell phone in the taxi, after the one-hour flight delay, after the airport express dragged on forever, after the hotel check-in lasted over half an hour.. But after leaving home at 1pm, around 9pm we were finally in the hotel.

After having a glass of champagne (or maybe it was two), we reckoned entering the year 2012 could be fun if we did it on the Red Square, at the heart of the Empire of Evil, so to speak. It ended up being one of my worst ideas, because we were cut off from entering the square as were hundreds of other people, people who may have had more glasses of something to drink and didn't understand the Red Square couldn't be stretched to fit all of us in, so they started to push through the barrier and... well, we just about shat our pants and frankly, I'm not even sure how that mess didn't lead to many people getting hurt. I don't fear for my life very often, but those 15 minutes until we were able to escape from that hell were pretty intense...

But... One more lesson learned and no more crowded celebrations for me. :)

On our second day we went through most of the major attractions that leave me pretty cold on a regular day. We also saw quite a decent film, Perfect Sense. It sort of fit well with our current state of mind and it was definitely time well spent. I like the choices that Ewan McGregor has been making: as I go back to Krasnodar, I plan to rewatch Beginners with my new film watching buddies, I first saw it in Berlin with a friend from Istanbul and we both found it to be a great production.

Today the tentative plan is to visit a couple of museums that happen to be free during the holidays.. Unless there are long queues of people everywhere of course, then we might settle for chilling in some bar or maybe finding another solid film to watch. Also on the agenda: a new falafel place and lots of walking.

P.S. Obviously Moscow has the worst subway system I've ever been to. I have yet to see access for handicapped people anywhere, plus it's just so soulless, slow and somehow even demotivating that maybe I will seize to be surprised by local traffic on a regular working day. Who would want to show up for work depressed and demotivated like that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 was a good year

I recently started a new job in Krasnodar and it’s taking most of my time (as well as some other exciting events), so I did not really have time to ponder upon 2011, but a few days ago I did have a few minutes to myself and well, I realized something. 2011 was pretty much tremendous for me. I don’t like labeling something as “best”, but still I will say it was a fantastic year.

I traveled around so much. I lived twice in Berlin, three months each time. I lived in Istanbul for 2 months. I visited or re-visited (in chronological order)  Milan, Cologne, Munich, Karlsruhe, Stockholm, Oslo, Paris, Barcelona, Porto, Izmir, Cesme, Selcuk, Ephesus, Turin, Nice, now I am writing this from Moscow where I arrived on the last day of the year… Throughout my trips, I met several people that I can call friends now. I learned new things about lifestyles in different places of the world. I became a vegetarian and generally more conscious of the world around me and how what I do affects others. 2011 was eye-opening in my ways. I am incredibly glad I took this year off a “real job” and devoted it greatly to myself. I can’t say I really changed or forgot my old ways of doing things, but I did expand my horizons and became more accepting of many things than I’d ever been. To be frank, I am sort of proud of myself when it comes to this. But all of this is thanks to the people I’ve met and the multicultural and liberal city that specifically Berlin is.

And now, after all these travels, after all these experiences and things that happened and things that I saw, I am surprised to state I am definitely not unhappy to be back in Krasnodar. Things took an unexpected turn here of all places and well, at the moment I am happy to report that life is good. I feel good. About myself, about many things. I will travel less, but I will still find time to do so and well, one of the things that I finally learned is that life is what you make of it and how you look at it. I do like to entertain myself with the thought that I have grown and become more mature at handling some things. I still have a short temper, but sometimes, on occasion, I am able to sit back and just enjoy the ride. It’s a great pleasure to stop oneself from overthinking and overanalyzing things, I more or less live in the moment and enjoy and take things as they come. It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

I do believe it’s rather trite to say that one is unbelievably happy, but I do feel content and good at the moment. I’m a little bit afraid to jinx it, it’s almost too good to be true… but yeah, it’s a nice situation to be in.

2012 has great potential to be fantastic, too.

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