Friday, 15 May 2009

Victory Day and Eurovision

Well after a week of antics in the UK I am now back in Russia safe and well, all exams over, all shell units written and all I have to do is finish researching my year abroad project and enjoy the last month of my year abroad. It is hard to believe that I have actually been in Russia since September and that it is almost over and I get to return to the UK knowing that next year I will be back in London and Moscow.
My return to Moscow also coincided with the Russian Festival- Victory Day. The festival celebrated on May 9th each year which marks the end of the Second World War. Each year a huge military parade is held in Red Square and continues through the streets of Moscow during the day. Sadly I was not in Moscow when it all kicked off but was in a bar at Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight, it may have been 7:15 in the morning but that did not stop me from not enjoying the prospect of being on a plane for four hours, and hence decided to drown my sorrows with a last half pint of cider (you can not buy cider in Russia much to my friend Anette’s horror) however Sky News had decided to show some of the ceremony and it meant I was able to see what was going on without actually having to be there.
As I said previously I do NOT enjoy flying and once we had lanaded the first thing I wanted to was flee the plane, go through passport control and just go back to my flat, however attempts to do this quickly were thwarted by the fact that like the rest of the world Russia is paranoid about getting swine flu and being Russia our plane had to be scanned for swine flu before we could depart. The pilot announced that we could not leave because the authorities were boarding, I thought that this meant that the police were coming on with guns to check all of our documents or something. I was wrong it turned out to be a small angry bab wearing a mask and holding some sort of black scanning device who walked up and down the plane checking the air for swine flu. Needless to say our plane was clean and we were allowed to go.
Having gone through passport control and eventually found my luggage I was met by Simon and we returned into Moscow. Returning into my flat turned out to be as tricky as leaving the plane. My bab had told me before I left that she was going to her datcha and that she would set the alarm and if I came home early I would set it off, the police would come, I’d be arrested and then end up in Siberia. Now while I may want to visit Siberia it is as a free citizen not as a convict heading to a prison camp so I decided it would be best to phone here to check if she was in however she did not answer her mobile and I had lost the bit of paper with her landline on it. Eventually I found a bit of paper with my address on it and decided to ring the doorbell. My bab appeared saw me cried ‘LAURA!!! You’re back!’ then saw Simon, screamed very loudly and ran off, while we were trying to work out why exactly she had screamed when seeing Simon as she has meet him before and knows that he is not some criminal trying to rob her flat, she appeared a few moments later with her dressing gown wrapped round her for modesty.
After briefly unpacking we decided to go and see what was going on to celebrate the rest of Victory Day in the Red Square area. It turned out that an open air concert was going on on Tverskaya Ulitsa and people were selling ribbons and Russian flags so we watched a bit of that and bought ribbons and flags as souvenirs. Luckily when I returned it was in the mid twenties so I got a chance to wear some of my summer clothes much to the horror of my bab who decided that wearing a dress without a ‘koftitchka’ (cardigan) when it is plus 26 would lead to me being frozen, however now it is rainy and cloudy so have decided to use my day off to catch up on sleep. The whole time I was in the UK I kept waking at 5 am (8am in Moscow) and falling asleep at 9 pm (midnight in Moscow) but now am back have suddenly switched to English time. Hopefully the weather will clear as tomorrow is the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which this year is happening in Moscow! While tickets for the final were about 4000 r (about £80) big screens will be erected in Red Square and hopefully in other locations so people who were not lucky enough to win tickets or buy tickets can still join in the spirit of Eurovision. I have bought my t-shirt so am hoping the weather will hold or else I shall be watching it from my room snuggled up in my duvet, I may be a fan but I am not that hardcore having survived the Russian winter I do not want to get flu or pneumonia in my last month and die.

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