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Travel Diaries – blogs, tips, clips, slips n ships





6 August 2010
From the Saddle or Travel – the reality!  by  Capt’n Cork n Cruisin’ Cate

Hi Troops & Comrades (a salutation based on Russian protocol),

We were warned it would be 38`C+ and it didn’t disappoint.  Beyond the temp the bushfire smoke has reduced visibility to 100m in Moscow town.  This stuffs up photography but postcard sales have rocketed (so have face masks) – the Muslims have a head start (sorry bad pun!)

Following medieval Stockholm’s “Vasa” saga–how’s this for a classic blooper?  The “Red face of Red Square” was a few years ago during that annual May Day victory parade in front of Lenin’s tomb. All the puffed-up generals with Putin & co awaited the crack Russian fighter squadron for a fly over (with burnout).  Vodka may have played a part here but there was a hic-cup with navigation that had the squadron miss Red Square and the Kremlin (a small target of about 100+ acres with very tall church spires, cupolas shinning in gold and a marching army). It’s small consolation that the official party did hear the planes, just!!   Air Marshall Iva Fuckedup is still in Siberia studying Navigation and Confusion theology.

Our hotel is so centrally located that we can walk easily to the Kremlin, Red Square, The Bolshoi & St Basil’s (that’s the church with the wild coloured onion roofs). We are in a posh precinct with unbelievable conspicuous wealth, (something is working very well in the money making caper for some of the Moscies).

The streets are littered with Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, Aston Martin & and the occasional Falcon wagon. I took a pic of my Cate, as mannequin draped over a Bugatti Quatro, that’s 1mil quid+, that’s Cate, the car’s extra.

I happened to be looking at a pair of Italian shoes –on sale 50% off at US $1400, pity they didn’t fit.  The women, below 40yrs particularly are stunning. Tall, elegant, golden (and I haven’t even mentioned their adequate breasts) are fashion goddesses. This is all so remote from the preconceived conception I had of hard faced people emerging from a very tough life.

However a trip out of the city centre (via the Metro) confirms my original ideas. The Metro is its own phenomenon, clean, fast, frequent, spacious (but jam packed) & elaborate stations finished in marble, granite, frescoes & mosaics depicting Soviet propaganda—you might say “Wynyard and RTA….lift your game!!”

The place has more museums and galleries than Sydney has TABs. The Pushkin Gallery, a modest edifice making National Gallery Canberra look like an out house, casually displays hundreds of classic original paintings from Renaissance to Impressionist to modern cubists—a true aficionado could spend days here.

There are numerous chambers and salons displaying statues and sculptures of ancient Greek and Roman heroes doing their thing, but speaking of things..most of them have lost their cocks. I don’t know whether they were so big they fell off or Gay Pride has raided the place for mantle piece artifacts. Cate says it’s the work of a Russian deviate Iva Cockoff—she’s still in the sin bin for that one.

The gallery was started by the Czar’s generous assistance in 1900 & after the 1918 revolution, nobility and other enemies of the state (who happened to be enthusiastic art collectors) “donated” all their collections as they toddled off to Siberia for a bit of ‘reflective thinking’.

Meanwhile Stalin (a Christian believer–if not capable of practicing it’s tenets) wanted  The Russian Orthodox church to be supported  &  it grew like oxalis and paspalum on Dynamic Lifter. It is similar but different to the Catholic Church—it’s “Pope” is the ‘Patriarch’ & I think if he says “Go forth and multiply”, they put down their calculators and drop their duds, dutifully.  Those who practice seem very devout and there are churches everywhere.

The Russian culture appears very compliant, like a hangover from a repressed era.  The Russian constitution S.31 grants freedom of public assembly but woe-be-tide if you don’t get a permit & the bloke who issues the permits is very hard to find and doesn’t answer his phone.  So, a protest campaign is being waged against this authoritarian blockage stunt…on the 31st day of those months, across the country a rally is staged in various public squares.  Just to maintain order and control, hundreds of buses with soldiers arrive—barricade off the public square and put on a street racecar  ‘drifting’ event…now there’s a novel form of crowd control.   Any trouble with a spectator/protester is harshly curbed.  Troublemakers get ‘frog marched’ into the Army’s vans fitted with curtained windows—subtle, eh?

It’s too hot here, so we’re off to Japan—sayonara Capt’n Cork n Cruisin’ Cate

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