moscow in general
i've really enjoyed moscow. the high points were probably the conversation with that guy andrei who i spoke of in the last post, and a trip to sergeiv pasad (st. sergei's settlement), a town and monastery and cathedral type thing about an hour and a half by train from moscow. touraya, this guy steen (australian guy who has been traveling for a couple of years) and i went. we bought some monastic kvass, which is a russian drink made from bread i believe, and possibly fermented in someone's shoe, though i have no hard evidence of this. 20 minutes or so of wandering around the various buildings revealed to us that we had no idea really what anything was, and that knowing nothing we could learn nothing. so we signed up for a tour.
our guide was a russian woman, somewhere between 60 and 70 i think. she was very opinionated. in particular she held opinions on which i believe some people would find disagreement on the subjects of communism and the funding of the russian revolution, the reputation of ivan the terrible (a better translation would be ivan the awesome in her opinion), and when touraya could use the restroom.
in general though, i had an enormous amount of respect for her. she was pretty understated on the subject of soviet oppression of the church, but from what i understand to be as devoted as i understood her to be would have been sorely trying. she was very patient with our questions, as long as we kept our hands out of our pockets, and had a love of and respect for the traditions and art of the russian church that i don't have and don't really understand but respected and admired. also, she was subtly very cutting on the subject of catholicism, to which touraya and i, rounding up, both professed.
she did say this, which i thought was strange: "now it's a known fact that the russian revolution was funded by american and german banks." i have never heard this, and have no idea if it's true or not, but it seems a bit strange. anyone have any ideas?
after that we went to a cafe where no one spoke english. the meal was interesting but not bad (though in touraya's words, "war food". i liked it. i would do well in a war probably. and we couldn't have the beer the waitress suggested because, as she said "the armenians drank it all". damn armenians...