This has been the weekend of Trams and figuring out how many colors the Metro has to their many different train lines. If you are color blind in Moscow and plan on using the Metro and making different stops........ I would suggest getting really familiar with the Russian alphabet :)
I know colors, and it makes no difference...the Metro is SOOOOO confusing.. if you don't get on the right train line, the you will be goodness knows where. I went with my friends to Red Square today and saw Lenin's Tomb (will comment on that in a minute) and decided to take the Metro to Arbat. We summised that it was the "Gray Line". After about an hour of figuring out where the Gray line was...we got on and when we got off, we ended up only to be on the other side of Red Square. Needless to say, we spent 3 hours in a complete circle trying to get to one place. Had we walked from Red Square to Arbat, it would have only be a 30 minute walk. BUT....NO....we thought we were now the Kings and Queens of the Metro. Only to learn...that we have so very much to learn. :)
But, as for Lenin's Tomb....as morbib as many people think that it is to see him...there were tons of people in line to see his tomb. My friends Stacy and Roy who are adopting from here were at Red Square with me. However, Stacy decided that she would go shopping and leave Roy and I to the Tomb. Well, you have to go through security to get to the tomb. Roy had a camera and he had to go to a separate building than I to even be let back in so that he could check in his camera. They wouldn't let me wait for him. So, I was pushed along to go through the Tomb. It was very dark in there...so, I tried to hold on to the wall. Some guard yelled out something. I supposed that was Russian for "get your hands off that wall". Finally, in encased glass lied Lenin. It was very strange for me. After all of the school that I have had, I find myself knowing nothing about this man that was lying before me. He didn't look like a wax doll like so many people said he did. He looked like he might have fallen asleep. But, he has been dead for almost 80 years. Then, they shush you quickly outside of the tomb. The guard that hurried me in the first time actually was trying to joke around with me when I came outside. I was by myself and I was looking rather solemn. He stopped me, and made a face of a frown and shook his head and then made a face of a smile and nodded his head up and down. I had to laugh and he smiled. IMAGINE THAT!! A Russian guard stopped me to make me smile.
Then, they lead you around to go and see the rest of the tombs. I could not read who they all were, but, I knew who Stalin was. I kept thinking that this was a part of my son's history. How bizarre to have this as a part of his history and to have George Washington just as much of his history too. (or soon to be) Funny how life intertwines.
Yesterday was spent at the Vietenamese Market. It is like a huge Flea Market owned and operated by the local Vietenamese population. We got on the Tram for that one. Next time, I will remember to put on my shoulder pads. There is no "excuse me", or anything. New Yorkers look like Southern Belles next to this crowd I was with on the Tram. One woman could have easily walked around me. But, instead..she full on came towards me and rammed right into me and pushed me right out of her way. Not a baby push....a big push. I had to remember who I was, and where I was and hush my mouth. Can't go running my mouth in places where I don't know where i am or where I don't know the language. Anyway, we all packed on the Tram like sardines. If you think one more person couldn't fit, then the doors opened up and 10 more people came on and it kept happening. I do not think there are any fire codes here. When it came for our stop to the Market. I had to pretend like I was a football player and push my way through to get out the door. That was enough excitement in and of itself.
But, the Market was great. The daughter of our friends Host Family said that it wasn't located in the best part of town, but, you could get some great bargains. I did!!!. I got a great leather coat from Turkey that is the type of leather that feels so smooth it is almost like silk. You could almost get anything under the son there. The trick is....you need someone who speaks Russian and who knows how to bargain to go with you. You will never find your way around or understand or if you do....you will not get the deal you are looking for if you don't have someone.
Needless to say, I am getting the full experience here. No word on Nikolai. But, the way it works in Russia is pretty much the same in America...no news is good news. Or rather here, it is on a "as need to know basis". I must tell you my friends.....this is a great experience, no doubt. But, I will be honest and say that you really need thick skins and a lot of patience and be able to change gears on a moments notice. 3 of the things that I didn't really think that I had. I fully believe that God is testing me here. I am absolutely accepting the challenge. I know that and am embracing it.