Saturday, November 10, 2012

11/10 - Obama Wins, Bond Museum, Presnya Museum

First off, starting with news from the USA, as I'm sure you all know, President Obama won a second term in office! For me, this was amazing news, and I was shocked how he took almost every battleground state except for North Carolina. In addition, only two states switched parties from the 2008 election, Indiana and North Carolina. It was a blowout by electoral college standards. In addition, it was a groundbreaking election - the first openly gay senator (Tammy Baldwin) was elected in Wisconsin. In my state, New Hampshire, all of our federal representatives will be women after their respective inaugurations in January 2013. Here is the lineup - Governor Maggie Hassan, Senator Kelly Ayotte (only Republican), Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. 

This weekend in Moscow has gotten off to a fantastic start, and its only just started. On Thursday, my friend Dan and I went to the James Bond Museum/Exhibit in Китай-Город (Ketai-Gorod or Chinatown). It was a relatively small museum, but it has some great exhibits and collectables from all the movies back to the Sean Connery era. My favorite part of the museum was a screen that played all the opening credits from all the Bond movies simultaneously. James Bond is more of a recent fad for Russians, as the movies were typically banned during the time of the Soviet Union. The government would never permit one of the prominent symbols of the capitalist world to be shown in theaters. The funniest part of this museum was a "sex-scene room," that had a continuous roll of the Bond sex scenes from all the movies. 

Bond by GQ - Museum Entrance

Shooter pose with silhouettes of the Bond Actors 

I know this is kinda lame to get excited over, but I finally found a Dunkin' Donuts or in Russian - Данкин Донатс in Moscow. It was a beautiful restaurant, unlike some of the ones around Massachusetts. Also, I find it amazing how much their corporation has grown, from a tiny doughnut shop in Quincy, Massachusetts to Moscow, China, Western Europe, and beyond. I would even argue that this store is cleaner and better-kept than some in the US!

Dunkin' Donuts - Данкин Донатс

Yesterday, we had our fourteenth excursion to the Presnya Museum or Пресня музей, which was a decent 20th century Soviet/Russian history museum. It primarily focused on the events surrounding the events in the early 1990s, when the country was making its transition from a communist to a capitalist economy. In 1991, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian President Boris Yeltsin were in a power struggle before the Russian government completely took over. More violence boiled in September 1993, when Yeltsin and the first (and only) Russian Vice President Alexander Rutskoy led opposing sides in a extremely heated constitutional crisis that resulted in the deaths of over 200 Russian citizens, police, and soldiers. Our tour guide gave us a well-rounded summary of these events, and it came to life when we saw the memorials around the Белый дом (Beliy Dom) or "White House." Yeltsin ordered tanks and soldiers to fire upon the White House, which is the meeting of the Russian Legislature or State Duma. Shows how difficult it actually is to transition to a completely different style of governance. 

"Героическая Пресня 1905 год" - Диорама - Heroic Presnya 1905 - Diorama

Outside the House of the Government of the Russian Federation - Дом правительства российской федерации

 Lastly, today - Seth, Carsten, and I all went to a market in the Northeast part of Moscow to pick up some winter weather gear, specifically Russian hats. We were bargaining with the sellers (in Russian, I might add). Originally some of these hats cost 2500 rubles (=$79). After browsing through many of the kiosks, we both found hats that we wanted. I bought mine for 1700 rubles (=$54), and its made from actual rabbit fur or мех кролика. It's extremely warm, and will do wonders in the Russian (and American) winter. Check out the picture below!

Carsten and I with our Russian шапкы/shapki/hats

Thanks for reading again, only about 5 weeks left in Moscow. Soon I'll be traveling to the eastern city of Vladimir!

Countdown to returning home: 38 days

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