I actually got up early today. Mostly due to the fact that I couldn't sleep. I knew there were somethings I had to accomplish. I got to Red Square before 9 and it is a good thing I did. My purpose in getting there early was to Lenin's tomb. Well after a little problem solving I figured out where to stand. The mausoleum opens at 10 and I began to wait around 9:15. It is a good thing for I told my uncle that I would meet him around 11:15 at the ticket window for the inside of the Kremlin. The line for Lenin's tomb quickly began to fill and the line spread for a long way. Many people wait for an hour or two to see his decrepit body. Of course, this only applies to foreigners for Russians feel like they can just walk to the front of the line and not have to wait like everyone else. This is one of my major complaints of being here is there is no semblance of order or courtesy. Today, I was having none of it for I had a plan and needed to accomplish it. No one was getting in front of me today.
Lenin's tomb, how to describe. Creepy, strange, eerie are a few words that come to mind. You are led along the Kremlin wall until you reach the mausoleum where it seems like you are heading into the black hole or the abyss. It is very dark and hard to see, depth perception is lost. I got to the tomb and you are led quickly around the body. I took my good ol' time and checked out the actually well preserved body. He is encased in a glass case where special oxygen and who knows what else circulates to help preserve the Bolshevik leaders body. One thing I certainly noticed was his nasty yellow fingernails. Hey, I saw Lenin's body and it will make a good story for my students next year for that is what is constantly on my mind when traveling.
After seeing Lenin's antiquated figure I made my way down to the ticket office to meet my Uncle. I waited in line and was told to come back at 11:15 to get tickets. I was having none of that I stayed there to ensure I was getting in. Yesterday after waiting in line for an hour at a time we were told that the tickets were sold out. The procedure of gettting into the Kremlin is in dire need of an upgrade. There is very little room to stand without getting in the way of passerbys. Also as I mentioned you can wait in line for an hour only to finally get up to the front and be told sorry no more people. I will try to stay positive but this system is horrible. Well, I finally got the ticket for the armory and the Kremlin. I made it! Finally! There are no pictures allowed to be taken in the museums so that was a little disappointing but whatever I was in. Honestly, it wasn't what I was hoping. The armory is full of more Christian relics, old Russian clothing, carriages from back in the day and I forget what else. Oh now I remember, thrones. After traveling all through Europe I can clearly see why revolutions occurred. The royal families of Europe went to every expense to demonstrate their wealth and power by spending ridiculous amounts of money on jewelery, thrones, crowns, dishes, paintings, castles, palaces, you name it they spent money on it. After awhile it kind of sickened me. Of course my knowledge of history plays into this. While the serfs (landless peasants forced to work on a rich persons land) toiled away these royals were entertaining themselves to ridiculous proportions.
After going to the Armory I then saw the crown jewels. Certainly some amazing diamonds, gems, metals and sapphires but the same thought from above ran through my mind. I don't want to sound negative for I spent the money to see it so it obviously was something that I wanted to see but it became clear to me that these people lived the most lavish lives you can think of even in fairytales.
I then walked around the Kremlin and saw more churches. Quickly made my way through there. One church was of note for it was the burial place for the Tsar's before Peter the Great. Ivan the Terrible was buried here along with other important Tsar's that helped build the modern Russian state.
The inside of the Kremlin wasn't quite what I had in mind. But, of course, I had to make the journey inside. I really enjoyed the sites outside the Kremlin wall as I mentioned in previous posts. Red Square unbelievable, St.Basils, the Gum and the State Museum equally unbelievable. I will remember these experiences more so than todays activities.
So you can probably tell by the tone of my post that I am ready to come home. A few days ago I felt a little different but such is life. I have really, really enjoyed my time here. The people have been fantastic for the most part. I will always remember several of the friends I met and the experiences with them. I am curious as the rest of the world is to see what happens in the future for Russia. I certainly am no expert and have a skewed view of the country for I was only in two cities and was surrounded by the better off people in Russia. What I saw, or from my personal experiences, capitalism is flourishing. I just kept thinking though: How are the rest of the people doing? I also am curious from some of the people I met. Are the people so tired of politics and history that the government is taking advantage of this lack of interest? For I read a lot while here about the autocratic direction of the government. Now let me make this clear as well. The United States in my opinion have many issues of our own. However, we still are free to speak our mind without fear!
|Vladimir Lenin and Nicholas II evidently have mended their relationship. Time forgives all I guess. P|
|Stalin has really embraced capitalism for he wanted 1,000 rubles. Fat chance, take your 100 rubles and be happy.|
|This would be a museum dedicated to the War of 1812 when the Russians defeated Napoleon.|
|The Duma or the Russian legislature|
|Apartments right outside the Kremlin. They have to be ridiculously expensive. I read that Moscow is the second most expensive city for foreigners to live in the World!|
|My chaffeur getting my car all ready for me. Shine those tires will you're at please.|
|The elevate concrete is where the Soviet officials and army big wigs would stand when inspecting the troops in Red Square.|
|Finally inside of the Kremlin!|
|I was on my best behavior in Russia, no international incidents.|