Welcome to Moscow

Well, I arrived mostly without incident and am having a wonderful time with Rick and Lisa here in Moscow. The sob story of BA’s inability to get me an aisle seat landed me an upgrade to World Traveler Plus from Seattle to London (thanks, knee– and the lovely Charlene!) and I had a whole row of four to myself on the surprisingly enjoyable Aeroflot into Moscow. (Great food, shockingly.) My bag did not make it until the next day, but this was not tragic. After a stop on the way home from the airport for pizza and “piva” (beer), I slept really well. No trouble from the knee, apart from a little stiffness.

Sunday was great– we had a little light breakfast and then went to lunch at a truly fabulous restaurant called Nostalgie. It was old world charm meets new Russian money, with spectacular results. We had amazing blinis with red caviar, and the foie gras with Rick’s tuna was absolutely the best I have ever had (Paulette, I was thinking of you!). My steak was excellent, and Lisa’s crepe Suzette for dessert was the perfect end to the meal (Rick and I ate almost all of it). After that, R&L’s really nice driver Pavel (more on him later) took us to Red Square. Wow. Again, more on that later after we go back. We could not get into GUM– the giant amazing department store– due to something that looked like a cross between crowd control and military exercises. We walked over to the Hotel Metropole (and I was a bit cold and sore of knee by now) and had tea. Pavel picked us up, and after some reconnaissance for a bar David’s coworker Masha recommended, we returned home.

Rick and Lisa have the DVDs for the first season of Six Feet Under– which I had not seen. It was their first viewing of any of the series, and they love it. Especially Rick. We had to cut him off after four episodes so we could get some sleep (not that I got too much… I am a bit out of sorts with the 11 hour time difference). We watched another this morning with breakfast, and as soon as I sign off we are off to the Novodeveichy Monastery. My big victory of the morning: calling and confirming in my phrasebook Russian that it is indeed open today. Score one for phonetic transcription!

More updates later.