A very nice weekend part one

So it’s Saturday morning (just) and we don’t have a plan yet. You need to understand that is worrying. We normally have a plan so technically the weekend is free.  We went for dinner at the local pub last night and then wandered down to the Metro to listen to the band which was set up and playing old rock and roll songs. Mostly in English but doubt that made any difference everyone seemed to know the songs and people were dancing as well as drinking.

So what to do once Judi is up she needs action. I take an hour to come around in the morning but Judi once on her feet wants to hit the ground running. I can slow her down by making copious cups of tea but I am only delaying the inevitable.

Ok we now have a plan and a list. (lists are always good Judi says)

We are off to Arbat a district to the west of us which has an ugly modern section and an older pedestrian section with designer shops and tourist type stuff.  A quick walk down to Novokuznetskaya metro, a few stops and change to the Blue line then on stop and then back out into the sunshine. It is very bright today and forecast suggests 85 today. We quickly come across the series of flats known locally as “Stalin’s Teeth”. They are quite close together and stick out like a sore thumb. Nestled at the bottom of the first one is what I think is the church of Christ the Reindeer. I need to look into that as it does seem a little odd. Churches are everywhere which I have found interesting. From afar we all have the impression that all the churches were pulled down during previous regimes. If that is the case then there must have been one on every street corner as right now there seems to be one every half mile or so. They are not particularly big churches but they are decretive in style. Lots of arches and domes. Many domes are gold and because they are circular the sun reflects off them all of the time which makes them stand out amongst the grey of the apartments.

Our first stop is a book shop which is listed in the Lonely Planet which is across the road so down the underpass and in. Now one of the first things I see are paper shredder’s. Big deal you might say but I have been look for one since I got here.  I have looked in all the electrical places and computer shops and the lack of them nearly had me blogging about “there is a mountain of paper somewhere”. I do think it interesting that the prime method of destroying paper should be found in a book shop but note that I need to come back during the week and get one plus some office stuff. Not a bad book shop and we pick up a couple of items including a map of Russia for the wall. I need to better understand the geographical set up given I now live in a country with I think 10 time zones.

Back outside and looking for shade I notice a phone shop so now is probably a good time to put some money on my phone. Over here a large proportion of phones seem to be pay as you go. The top up machines are everywhere and a couple of nervous minutes pressing buttons and there is another 500 rubles on my phone. You need to understand there is no English version so to use the assumptive approach. For all I know the button said “do you want me to shred this money press Het for ok” (a nice link to the book shop I think).

Next we find a Camera shop and I get a replacement lens cap for the one I lost in Red Square last week. This was extremely annoying as I pride myself at not losing things. I note the shop as I think it has lots of things I cannot possibly live without.  On past the now closed Casinos which dot the road. They closed a few days ago and it is a big deal here. The government has designated 4 areas in Russia where casino’s can operate and Moscow is not one of them. This applies even to slot machines so the once big bright busy buildings we walk past are now all empty. They are saying it will affect up to 300,000 people so it shows how big the industry was around Moscow.

Next is a high end shopping center one of those you walk through but only buy things in the sale. It is very very nice. You can tell this by the class of security guards who are watching our every move. Not sure if my shorts and sandals are influencing them at all.

Back on the street is it now too hot to do the pedestrian section so we decide to cut across to the European Shopping center just one Metro line over.  This shopping center is one I saw in November on our quick dash over here. It is extremely busy all the time and has every shop you need in the way of fashion. Two pairs of shoes (for Judi) later I stumble across “Massimo Dutti” which is my very favorite clothes shop. They even have a sale on but I resist as the last thing I need is more clothes. I have unpacked 35 shirts already and there are still some to go so stay firm and only go in and out. We are trying to concentrate on tops for Judi. Suddenly she does not have enough. Mex, Marks & Spenser, etc they are all here. The layout of the “mall” is quite confusing as the walks are not straight so you are never sure exactly where you are and there are 4 or 5 floors. So a lot of wandering until we chance upon a restaurant and have a very nice lunch (although a little expensive).

Tiring quickly we head home as I am going to make dinner. A Thai Red curry with some beef I got the other day from a very good butcher I found. I am getting the hang of the hob and can now juggle 4 pans at the same time without it getting upset. This is possibly the limit as we only have 4 pans so doubt I will be stretching its capabilities beyond this for a while.

Afterwards we watch a DVD. Tarantino’s “Grindhouse”  and I can see why it tanked at the box office. We only get through 1 of the 2 CD’s. Maybe save the second half for a rainy day.

So ends day one for the weekend and very productive it was too. Lots of places which will be useful and found lots of things we were looking for so high fives all around