bloom and grow forever

I'm sure the Baroness will be able to make things fine for you. If not, a year in Russia sure will.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kremlin in Winter

Sunday was one of those mornings. I woke up late, found a hole in my long underwear, saw we were out of juice, and waited forever at the bus stop. But when I finally got on the bus, I received a lucky ticket (the sum of the first 3 numbers equals the sum of the last 3 numbers) and knew my luck was about to change. I made it to Ploschad' Pobedy and onto the bus to Moscow with a minute to spare. I conked out for the duration of the 3-hour trip and awoke just as the Kremlin was coming into view. It's absolutely majestic in winter.

With my lucky ticket in hand, I joined the line for Lenin's Mausoleum, which was forming on the outskirts of Red Square. After about 15 minutes, I was allowed to pass into the square towards security (metal detectors, bag checks.) From Red Square, you walk through a very austere, guarded doorway. You turn left, pass another silent guard, and head down a flight of very dark stairs. Just as it's gotten almost pitch black, you turn right and there is Vladimir Ilyich himself (or whatever small percentage of his actual biological matter remains in his embalmed corpse.) The crowd files past on three sides; the room glows red; Lenin himself is under glass and well-lit. Although his torso seems to have collapsed somewhat, his waxy hands and face have been well maintained. I was glad to have seen him, and to have paid my recently-acquired respects.

The real business of the afternoon was a ballet - Esmeralda - at the Kremlin theater (another round of security and serious queueing.) The place is absolutely massive. Although I think the story is better suited to enormous, dusty tomes of French literature than to ballet, I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially the creepy priest, the unnamed man in navy blue, and the scene design with innumerable flying buttresses. After the ballet, Kremlin guards shooed us homeward, and we were all content with our day in the big city.


Blogger TeacherMan said...

I never did get to see Vladimir Ilyich myself - the place was always closed whenever I found myself in Moscow. By the time I get there, there might not be much left of him.

8:49 PM  

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