Saturday, 28 February 2009

Pancakes For Pagans

After watching cats riding on wooden horses (and a list of other acts), Turkish and I headed to Vasilyevsky Spusk. Tomorrow is the last day of Maslenitsa but we won't be in town so we thought it was best we got our hands on the blinis.

When we were here on Monday, we weren't too lucky.

It was indeed crowded, hundreds of young and old gathered inside the fenced up area. The loudspeakers were blasting folk music and the emcee was deafening. She was trying to make the festival as festive as she could, I suppose. I enjoyed our hot Medovukha (Russian honey mead) and eating blinis with the St.Basil's Cathedral as background added extra flavour LOL

The way Russian folks partied back then ;)

A perverted Maslenitsa man who grabbed
my waist and made this weird-looking sign LOL

Oooohhh.. I could drown myself with Medovukha

It's a shame that everything is government-controlled in this city, if not the entire country. Every beverage and food.. event souvenir items. I was disappointed to see the stalls, even though decorated differently.. it was freaking obvious that there's only a sole distributor. Even the prices are fixed.

And the prices aren't cheap for a traditional practice.

So let's say if I could make damn delicious pancakes and decide to sell them cheap, I don't think they will allow me to operate, you know what I mean. They might force me to take on their pre-processed flour and guard a stall :P Yeahhh, I wasn't too happy with this bit. Where is the word - variety?

The blini boy preparing his sales

Even Teremok is here.. wtf!
(Teremok is like McDonald's for pancakes)

I got a souvenir :)

We came, we saw, we ate, we stood around and left.
And soon, winter will leave too. We shall welcome spring in no time!

Don't worry, Strawman..
We ain't gonna burn you LOL

Whiskers Balance

I'm not very fond of cats, to be honest. Most of the them aren't very friendly and they have mood swings. But Turkish and I didn't hesitate to go to the Moscow Cats Theatre for a show. It was superb ;)

We got out from M.Kutuzovskaya which reminded me of the early days in Pre-Med Course. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the rectangular PANINTER signboard. I had kept a picture of me taken in April 2002 (in the archives) and here it is.

This is me.. 7 years ago

This is me.. at 1230pm today LOL

I don't really see the difference, do you? I think I still look the same! OMG. Back then I carried a backpack :P If only the quality of the picture from 7 years ago was better. It was taken with my loyal Olympus which ran on films. Hahahaha what were the odds to come to Kutusovsky Prospekt again.

Yes, back to the Moscow Cat Theatre.

It was established in 1990. Yuri Kuklachev and his son, Dimitry (with a team of men and 100+ felines, plus 2 dogs) run this place now. The building is small, decent and it kinda felt as though we entered someone's house. There were miniature cat statues on the racks, clown trophies (belong to Yuri Kuklachev), framed photographs of the cats all over the place and old ladies selling sweets. That was it.

The gigantic poster outside the building

Turkish and I *giggles*

The simple murals

I liked this one :)

An old clown showing some tricks

I don't know how Yuri Kuklachev went to Japan
and became Mr.Yurii KUKURACHOV *rofl*

Handle on every door.. lovely, isn't it?

Turkish and I were the only foreigners. The rest were just children, with either parents or grandparents. Hehehehee the kids were so cute. Our show was entitled "My Favourite Cats", hosted by Dimitry Kuklachev. He is a brilliant clown cum performer. His expression was good, he single-handedly pulled many stunts and the cats were very obedient to his commands.

One nod, the pussy jumped 10 feet off the ground without meow-ing.

Dimitry's father did the opening for the show

Dimitry balancing on a couple of metal wheels

Hahahahahaa Biker Cats

This bugger was very quick in action :)
And the winged-angels in the backdrop are cats too

Life is good for them LOL

It's really more for family entertainment, nothing extreme or out of the norm. The cats are very, very tamed and adorable.. made me almost want to love them. But it is definitely worth a watch.

Children were the happiest here! :)

Thursday, 26 February 2009

What Excitement

I was tad surprised this morning to see my track log that someone had search my full name on Yahoo. I opened the page which would have showed up on his/her screen. I thought I was the only one who would search my own name..

Shall I run the IP.add-check?

Spelled in small caps LOL


I have a stalker.

Nothing is safe anymore on this planet.

I'm being dramatic.

I don't feel so good and absolutely disturbed about this.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lets Do Lunch

There are a couple of places which I go to for Business Lunch. One of my top favourites is TGIFriday's. I know, I know.. there are much better places to spend my afternoon meal but why here, right?

Hmmmm.. perhaps of its location which is just around the corner from the entrance/exit of M.Frunzenskaya and not as crowded as other branches in the centre. Oooohhhh.. I enjoy the combo selection they offer.
Hahahahahaa I can't believe how I am easily scammed.

A friendly, familiar trademark everybody knows

The combo selections

Some wall deco with The Beatles and other props

Most of the time, the waiter/-ess won't bring you the B.Lunch Menu so you'll have to be smart yourself to ask. It's available on weekdays from 11am-6pm. No joke! Turkish met me here this afternoon and we had a good fill to our stomachs, really. I had Soup+Maincourse while he had Salad+Soup+Maincourse (what a pig LOL). We got lucky with Soup of The Day because it differs every day.

Our delicious-looking lunch servings!

Steak and Vegetable Soup.. it rocked!

Fresh Salad with Shrimps

Cheeseburger with (a poor hidden amount of) fries

Cheese Quesadillas.. you'll speak Mexican after this LOL

Keep in mind that the portions aren't too generous but if you aren't a big eater, then it's pretty satisfying. But then again, you can always order from the normal Menu especially their Dessert and it'll be still a treat either ways! I look forward to going there again :)

*this isn't advertorial but merely my recommendation

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Antique Ambulance

I've seen this ambulance for many years around our Dean's Office building. I don't think it does much in case of emergencies.. the driver and his co prolly just drive by in a low ride for patrol work LOL

I remember how amazed I was the first time I saw it passed by me. It felt as though time brought me back to the past and here it is, a life dependent on this old model of Ghostbusters mobile lookalike! I saw it again today and I didn't hesitate to take a picture of it.


The rear

I love the windows LOL

Car body.. the driver was glaring at me at this point

Hahahahahaa what an old timer.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Maslenitsa Week

Today marks the 1st day of Maslenitsa or better known as Pancake Week. It's a pagan ritual/festival which Russians have practised for centuries to celebrate the nearing end of winter and prelude to the Great Lent for the Orthodox Christians.

This year, this holiday begins from 23 Feb till 1 March with programs all across the city. In past activities, there used to be wrestling matches between a drunken bear (plied with lots of vodka) and the tamer. There was also the burning of bonfires and Lady Maslenitsa (made out of straw). Verrrrry paganistic! LOL

Billboards all over the place for Maslenitsa!

The center of the celebration is at Vasilyevsky Spusk, behind the St.Basil's Cathedral. Turkish and I were very excited since we've never been to this carnival (not even once in my 7 years living here). We read about it on the papers last week so despite the killing cold, and drop to -16C with wind chills.. we marched to the Red Square with a crowd of thousands.

I didn't believe all were headed for bliny (Russian pancake).

Roads were blocked, underground passageways were closed and I was freezing. We had to en route to God knows where because all I remembered was shivering under my coat. I didn't think I would enjoy anything at all. The sight of OMOH troops, truckloads of Militias and squadrons of uniform units made me wonder if they really needed to guard us.. eating blinis.

Manezhnaya entrance was blocked out

I guess we didn't realise that today was also the Defender of the Fatherland Day to commemorate the Russian military history, the war heroes and men who fought for their beloved Mother Russia. There were some demonstrations going on nearby Kremlin on political issues (that explains the tight security). And so we went on home.

Fuck the Maslenitsa. I made us some pancakes instead LOL

We'll try to go there within the week again

Turkish reminded me that last year, we celebrated Maslenitsa in my apartment with Boss and Pisa. I found the post about it. Hahahahaahaa it's a shame that my pancake stack was so short.. I conclude that Pisa sure could make blinis! Those were the good days.. good ol' days :)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Only For Oscars

There were just 2 cinemas in Moscow 7 years ago which played movies in its original language. I remember tickets were about RM58 per person. One was the American Cinema in Hotel Radisson and the other was Dome Cinema in Renaissance Hotel. The former has closed down a couple of years ago, not sure about the latter.

Currently, there are more and reasonable in price. We were lucky to catch Slumdog Millionaire this afternoon! This cinema on Ulitsa Pakrovka (nearest station M.Kurskaya) is called 35mm. It shows Russian movies in the Main Halls and foreign award-winning movies in the Small Hall.

Undubbed with Russian subtitles. Not just movies from Hollywood but films that have won Best Picture from Cannes to San Sebastian and other Film Festivals.

Price range 200/250/300pyb

Hahahahaha we thought this shady place was the entrance

Turkish trying to be funny :)

The hall was 80% full with patrons!

Slumdog Millionaire truly deserves the Best Picture and 7 other wins from the Academy Awards. I don't remember how many times I cried throughout the movie. I have nothing negative to say about this brilliant piece.

It is about Jamal Malik, a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums. He participated in the gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and successfully reached the final question for 20mil Rupees. He is arrested for suspiscion of cheating. While being held in the police station, he tells the story of his life's journey and explains how he was able to answer the questions on the "hot seat".

Slumdog Millionaire is sensational. It is heartbreaking, yet exhilarating at the same time. It tells the story of brotherhood, unconditional love, fate and in midst of poverty, the struggles that come with. I forgo the picture of India potrayed in such a terrible state, I haven't been there to see it for myself and I couldn't say that I should believe the moviemakers.

All in all, I am glad we caught this movie on the big screen :)

Sausage Galore

After the wonderful watch at 35mm, we headed to Kolbasoff to have dinner. It's been a while Turkish and I dined out at new places.

We used to explore restaurants and cafes 3-4 times a week including weekends. But since I started giving tuition, we don't have so much free time. And also, the economic crisis. I won't leave that out LOL

Still, this watering-hole isn't so pricy. It is a chain of beer restaurant in Moscow. Eat like hogs and yet, affordable. The joint is brightly-lit, hardly any smoke clouded in the vicinity and people aren't bad-looking, no rowdy groups. Just people who love beer and sausages! I like the friendly atmosphere and our waiter of the evening, Mikhail.

Hehehee don't ask what I'm doing

0.5L of House brew each!

365 days to drink to *yay!*

He stole my candy LOL

There was a Russian girl who sat next to us had her thong out and showing. Turkish was pretty disturbed and I just conveniently snapped a picture of what should be tucked with her hind. But then again, this is very common practice with the women here. Every time she got up for her friend to move out, she frantically tucked the strings in and when she sat back.. it went up to her waist again.

The tag on her underwear was so long, I swear she could wipe her ass. I don't know why I'm so mean but I've had it with the Russian sluts. Terrible, terrible female race. Sore sight.

See what I mean?

Hahahahaha it's disturbing. Underwear is meant to be under, not out. Yeahhh, yeahhh. I am conservative but I believe it's for everyone's own good. We only want to enjoy our food :P

Back to our orders!

I had a Kolbasoff No.8 while Turkish had Kolbasoff No.6 (comes with Sauerkraut, mustard sauce, some salads and a choice of either Mashed Potatoes or French Fries). We both had Mashed Potatoes with Fried Onion toppings which was soooo-oh-ohhhh yummy! And sinfully oily. I really wonder how these wunder-wurst can be a German's staple.

Kolbasoff No.8 with 3x of traditional pork sausages

Kolbasoff No.6 with 1x of pork and beef mix sausage

What a weekend. Very productive and I totally loved it! :)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Angel Town

Turkish and I took a trip to the surburbs this morning! Something we haven't done for a while! This time we hit Krasnogorsk, a town north-west from Moscow.

We went to visit the Arkhangelskoe Estate really.

Some articles wrote that it is comparable to Versailles in France. The estate was the most lavish, grandest and luxurious playground for Moscow's wealthy aristocracy at the end of 18th century and beginning of 19th century. There are many highlights within the hectares of land, but they were buried by snow. Yet another visit to a place meant for spring/summer.

Ohhhh well! :)

The plan to Arkhangelskoe Estate!

Giganto gate at the entrance

Its Roman-Greco influenced architecture

Dedicated to Russia's greatest poet, Alexander Pushkin

Hehehehe horsie rides along the terrace

Tribute to Catherine the Great

We couldn't see the much of the described beauty of this place to be honest. Damn those inches of thick snow piled up till my knees. Ooohhhhh.. I forgot to mention that I nearly lost my toes! The sole of my right boot tore. A huge slit across on the base. Thank God my socks were thick!

Imagine! I could have returned a toe-less blogger! :O

The main building (way) behind us

Interesting-looking "dead" trees LOL

Partial view of the frozen Moscow River!

Our favourite section was the Church of Archangel Michael. Arkhangelskoe means Archangel ;) The Russian Orthodox church is small, cozy and inside was crowded with its worshippers. It was nice looking at the religious folks light a candle or two, praying for wellness.

We stayed for a while to warm ourselves LOL

The Holy Gate into the churchyard

Meet Michael

Someone made a 2D angel sculpture on the tree!

The Church of Archangel Michael

I'm taking up a habit to snap the door handle

Candles to light up our paths..

If only we came at the right season.

We had to leave when my foot felt rather numb. I must say I was ill-prepared for this trip *sniffles*. Still, it was a nice getaway from the city. I'm going to look for more sight-seeing places near by Moscow! We want to leave as much tracks as we can all over the place LOL