Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cigarettes, Red Square and the Himalayas

Notes on recent Russian trip.
April 4th, 2009.

Mom and I both woke up at insane-o'clock (3am, 5am, that sort of thing). My aunt and uncle both smoke, which creates something of a gas chamber effect in the apartment. Whether because of the smoke, the travel or the lack of sleep I had a massive headache all day (and for the next three days). Not like the air outside was particularly fresh either - car exhaust, smog and just dirt in the air. My first impression of my motherland - it smells.

First rays of sunshine over Moscow (and they were promising rain and snow. ha!)

Went to the State Historical Museum, which is located on the Red Square. Was very impressed by the depth and breadth of Russian history, but I really wish we had had someone with us who could have given us a bit of a tour. One cool thing that sticks out in my memory - some of the earliest examples of Cyrillic writing are still intact on birch bark of all things. Also cool was a huge globe in which lands that were not yet explored where left blank, so you would see the occasional unattached shore line and then white space.

Had lunch at a cafeteria type restaurant called Moo Moo. The place was decorated a bit like a log cabin, and had a lot of ambiance.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior, built on donations, destroyed by the Soviets and replaced with a giant public outdoor heating pool, rebuilt by the Russian.

Then the Roerich Museum. Renowned for his spiritual philosophies and explorations of Asia, his artwork is most memorable for the strong presence (or source) of Light.

Guests from Overseas, 1901

Watch on the Himalayas, 1925 (my favorite, but doesn't seem to reproduce well)

I actually really enjoyed the portraits done by his son, Svetoslav, but I am having a much harder time finding examples of his work online.

Pundit Neru, 1942

Young woman in yellow headdress, 1930

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