Saturday, 5 December 2009

Moscow never sleeps

Is the track that i just can't get out of my mind right now, especially writing about the same city :)
I remember...21 years ago...I was here, a little kid with her mom, both flying to Jordan to the dad, Soviet union, the only international airport was in Moscow, it took us 2 days on the train to get there from where we lived in Ukraine. It was winter time, almost new year, our seats on the plane got taken and we had to stay for a week in Moscow (including New year)waiting for the next available opportunity, but i remember i had fun there, we were going out, enjoying the big city, and i attended a great kids party for New year and got a sweets box in the shape of an alarm clock :D

This time it was very different to what i remembered, starting with the fact that everything looked smaller (well, i grew quite a bit in the meanwhile :)), Soviet union was gone, cafes appeared, technology, markets, etc, etc...All signs of letting the world in.

The city was still beautiful, a real cosmopolitan, been all over the place there, Red Square, Vorobyevy hills, Novodevichiy monastery, The church of Christ the Savior and everywhere else i managed to see in 3 days. It helped a lot that i speak the language, it was cool.

I went shopping as well, they have proper shopping malls, i like that, it's very few that i've seen that could compete with our City Stars in Cairo...

But out of all this, my absolute favorites were the St. Bassil church and the monument of Peter the Great.

The church looks like it was straight out of a folklore kids story, very colorful, very beautiful, the domes look like Marshmallow :) (Think Hansel and Gretel). The interior is all painted in traditional Russian style, and by all, i mean all, the whole walls, the ceiling, everything. Plus, you can get quite nice views of the city from up there and some pretty artistic photos :)

The monument was just cool, when they first put it up, people thought it was too bulky, and destroyed the look of the place, i say bull****! It looks great, and again like from a story, a monument of a sail ship riding the waves with Peter standing tall on the bow. Ok, he's way to big for the boat, but that's the point, right? It's a monument of him, and the boat just comes as a symbol anyway. I like!

Another great thing about this trip is that i actually managed to get my mom along, she was very happy and i was very happy to have her with me there, it was much more fun touristing together :)

I still haven't told you how i ended up there in the first place. Well...I booked an OFS3 course there which was 4 days after crew change, so i decided to do the city rather than waste the 4 days flying back and forth, and it was a great idea. The course got moved to Tyumen, Siberia (relax! it's not as bad as it sounds). But that's a different story :)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Konark - The sun temple

So it was one of these times where you have to stay extra in one place because of an official somewhere who refuses to give you the correct document ending up with you having to do extra paper work to set everything 'legal', etc...

I had to stay in Bhubaneswar waiting for the foreign registry superman to come back from the carnival to sign and stamp my papers since the embassy in Egypt incessantly gave me an employment visa instead of a business one... Anyway...

Sunday was free, a friend form the boat was staying back as well (to go touristing though) and we decided to see the famous Sun temple in Konark.

The thing is a real piece of art, extremely fine carving was done there, and it's said that there's an opening in the ceiling that makes the sun shine straight above a statue of God at a certain time of day (Midday, i suppose?). The weather was really nice as well, sunny but not too hot or humid, just good.

One thing about this 'temple' though is that most of the figures on its outer walls are basically straight from kama sutra! A lot of sex related themes, it was a bit shocking really, very pornish to my arabic/east european upbringing (they even had threesomes up there!), the feeling of awkwardness was also increased by the size and detail in some of the figures...ok, enough about that, let's talk about a different place :) (Can't deny it was generally a very beautiful piece of architecture!!!)

P.S. If anybody advises you to visit Puri, don't go unless you're a hindu, the main thing about that city is the Jagannath temple, it's active and only hindus are allowed inside...too bad :(