And after a short interlude we will recommence with


And after a short interlude we will recommence with

Not quite sure where I left off but need to tell you about our visit to the “Moscow Sate Circus” something which was our surprise for Mike and Lan when they visited the other week. One of the reasons for the surprise was it did not allow them any time to say they objected given there would be animals involved and you never know these days what people object to. Anyway Mike worked out where we were going about 4 stops before we got off the Metro. You see there is still an art to decoding maps and working out where you are and what the options are.

The actual metro we were on was packed to the rafters as it was on the same line used by the Russian soccer fans on their way to the World cup qualifier with Germany being held locally which they lost however there were no riots or fights and given the high police presence and the massed ranks of army personnel hanging around not a complete surprise (you don’t mess with those guys you just do what you are told).

We emerge from the Metro opposite the State Circus building which is a huge round thing. You could tell we were in the right place as there were two humped camels and pony’s giving rides to excited kids. There were stalls selling bright coloured animals and windmills, you know those plastic things on sticks which no self respecting kid or adult in Western Europe would buy any more as they are not sophisticated enough don’t need batteries or have remote controls or 5 pages of warning about choking hazards or safety instructions.

The Russian kids I find still have an innocence and are allowed to be “children”. The rest of us hurry them through this phase and quickly into designer clothes and gameboys or what ever the current fad is. Not sure why we do this maybe we are embarrassed about them playing with a hoop and a stick or maybe we are paranoid about the fact they may even laugh and get a bit dirty (god forbid).

So into the building and to the cloak room which stretches right around the inside of the building. There is no charge for this it is a service given everywhere and needed given the weather is turning quite cool these days. I go off to try and find some sustenance to keep us going and joint a long queue to buy some coke and water. Now this is something the Russians need to get a grip of. There are 4 places to buy things serving the whole building. Each has one person serving and there are probably 3 thousand people in the audience. The Americans would have a booth every 5 meters and several people eagerly waiting to detach you from you money with a smile and an “enjoy the show”. Here it is still somewhat of an imposition to want to buy food or drinks but I eventually get to the front and a sour faced guy takes my money with a bored sigh.

Finding our seats we are surrounded by families with children in fact the place is crawling with kids. The show starts with a monolog from someone which we do not understand but I think it this young boy is talking about how he wants to grow up and run away to join the circus or something similar anyway this done the show starts with a flourish of lithe ladies in skimpy sequined costumes and large feathered headdresses flouncing about in the ring. A grand parade with performers wandering around in different directions all sparkling in the spotlights. A real circus begins with the acrobats jumping around and throwing and catching each other with “some” element of danger. Clowns entertain us as they clear the ring of some items and arrange the next. A troop of Dalmatians are next performing a routine which seems at times a little random although some of the dogs do seem distracted by the audience and have to be reminded it was their turn to jump over or through something.

There is a vast array of animals which is slightly surprising Horses, camels, various monkeys / chimps, antelope, zebra’s even porcupines. Now one has to ask how you train porcupine however their trick is to jump over a pole which is possibly something they could do in the wild anyway so maybe not that tricky really.

To set the mood for these antics the floor of the ring is littered with animal skins. Maybe as a scene setting or as a warning of failure for the cast. This seems to have an effect on one poor zebra who is galloping around with a monkey on its back it manages to slip on one of these skins and tumbles over. The monkey clearly confused that this is not part of the rehearsed script decides to make a break for it and dashes off in the direction of an exit. With several of the “minders” in tow. Getting to the exit it may have though it better not to given it did not have its coat check with it and it was cold outside and decides to come back into the arena. Not wanting to rejoin the antics in the ring it decides to wander around the audience ending up in the row right in front of us. It manages to terrify several people before deciding to settle down in a seat just in front of us to watch the rest of the show. I assume it just though I will sit here quietly and nobody will notice. Not much chance of that as several people close in on it and it quietly gets led away.

There is a ring master who I should have mentioned before as he seems to be the animal trainer for “all” of the none human acts. He is only slightly weird, that is his hair is too long and slicked back making him look a little creepy. He must have a lot of influence or someone would have had the nerve to tell him he looks a bit of a prat.

Maybe there will be a feedback form I could not it down on. Anyway he keeps reappearing in different costumes but always with a stick of some sort to make sure his prodigies keep to the script (escaping moneys exempt of course). Jo and Trina will remember our visit to the famous “Circus Apollo” in Conway where the girl who sold us our tickets was also the same one who sold us popcorn and balanced on the high wire and rode around on the horse troop, well similar to that this guy seemed to be everywhere doing everything.

An interlude is called after a couple of hours like a time out as there were no gaps in performances. A constant array of acts running around on two or four legs leaping up to or down off things. We stretch our legs but decline the opportunity to have our picture taken with an angora rabbit. Judi describes it as a “hat waiting to happen” which I find rather amusing.