06 August 2007

A Rainy Saturday's Walk

This saturday I have broken my moscowite tradition of "sleeping/dozing till 1 pm and waking up with a head heavier than a Kamaz vehicle" and as a preliminary step of my healthier lifestyle I started walking in addition to my endurance fitness programme.

Although Turkey is now at the brink of a widespread drought and some jackass politicians even advised going on a nation wide prayer for rainfall, Moscow has not been spared from the rain showers for weeks. For any corporate slave like me, who is well clad in an office for more than 10 hours a day and commutes with the best smelling transportation in the world (aka Metro), rain was not a big problem untill I woke up with my best intentions to get myself out for a walk to the Park Kultury (for those keen russophiles, it was called Gorky Park before and now it is the Park of Culture; but the only culture you can see there is the how-to-get-wasted-on-cheap-beer culture and an amusement park which is itself a joke. Saim and I had some wonderful parties there, where at the end we were just running on all fours from the park).

So I met with a friend on University Station (it happens to be on the red line south) to give her a birthday present and when I was returning back on the red line through the Poklonnaya Gora (Sparrow Hills) Station I just decided to get off and walk my way through the river embankment to the Park Kultury Station. The interesting thing about the Sparrow Hills Station is that it is located just "up" on the river bridge and gives an exhilarating view of Moscow to the bored travellers of the red line of Metro. I climbed down to the embankment which is surprisingly called Pushkin Embankment (everything in Russia is a Pushkin Something...) and it took me an hour and a wet clothing to reach the Frunzenskaya Metro Station. Here is my photo journey:

The marvellous view of the Moscow State University from the river embankment. The structure on the right is actually a ski-slope where you can high jump right on the river in winter...but don't try this at home.

This is how Moscow River looks like. The deeper shade of radioactivity and a hint of soviet chemistry to its lethal limits.

The little forest and the hills on the left were used to be called the Lenin Hills...now it is Sparrow Hills (in the name of the fictional pirate Jack Sparrow who is more known through the new Russian youth than Vladimir Lenin) . Lenin must have been offended...

There is a skyscraper nearby the University that looks like it just arrived from Stalin's worst nightmares. May somebody tell me what that is??

The Pushkin Embankment has numerous walkways and a greener approach to the Moscow River. (The other approach is a bit bloody and delivered by the Russian Mafia) It also houses a number of semi-nude sunbathers during the summer

In Moscow, it is strictly forbidden to anchor in the forests. Take your boat to another forest.

The granite benches of the embankment also attracts a lot of Russian graffiti talent. Here is the Russian response to Pokemon.

The opposing embankment is known as the Frunzenskaya because of the notorious Frunze Military Academy where eager young minds of Soviet generals were shaped during the Cold War. Notice the rectangular floating structure in front of the academy; it is one of the most expensive restaurants in Moscow where you can eat Georgian food.

Frunzenskaya is also a dream neighborhood for some expats like Saim Refig (I hope he can realize his dream in another seaside). Also in the photo, a river cruise boat can be seen. Moscowites love to arrange meetings on those boats during summer and drink until their stomach contents are worse than the Moscow River itself.

This is what we call the a "beach" in Moscow where you can swim in a pool "in" the river. (There used to be a club called "Like the Canaries" on the river like this one but it was closed a while ago because they were selling alcohol...in Moscow you can find alcohol in a kindergarten but it is forbidden to drink in the river)

Although it rains, it is still August and the Russian Wedding Season is still on. It was 11 am when i took this photo and those people were already drunk. They (Gleb&Marina and friends) asked me to get my share of the vodka fountain but i kindly joined with my orange juice. Then I followed the celelbrations to the pedestrian bridge to the Frunzenskaya side, where they parked their cars.

While the relatives were dancing inside the bridge, the couple went for some fresh air to the balcony but Marina was already in her post-wedding fuddle. Notice Gleb's father on the right; he was filming non-stop during the celebration and I also had a small role on their wedding tape. I hope they remember me years later.


Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dinc Arslan said...

Mr. Hans,

I am surviving because i am keeping a safe distance between vodka and myself :)

Anonymous said...


Hello from the deep south (of the US).

Thank you for your blog! Besides being helpful in my decison of whether to accept an expat posting to Moscow, it has been a very interesting read.

It sounds like you are having a very interesting time and will miss Moscow when you, but will be happy to leave also.

Is that right?

Dinc Arslan said...

It is very complicated..I have a love&hate relationship with Moscow. You can send an email to me if you want any help with your decision.