Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Russia blog rehash





Here's a blast from the past...as posted on my myspace blog A YEAR AGO, here are some of my postings from Russia. They go from newest to oldest, so start from the bottom. Enjoy, comrades.

PS - Sorry bout lack of pictures and whatnot...still figuring out the technical end of all this madness.

Friday, July 15, 2005
Homeward Bound

Tomorrow at noon, I board the train. Last night rocked. See the Oregonians soon.
I'll save the profound thoughts for later. But in short, Russia rocked my world.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Lo. Li. Ta.

In a quest to Russianify myself, I'm reading Nabokov right now - talk about an amazing writer. English is his second language, but the way he messes with words, sentences, graphs! Alas! I highly recommend it.
I leave here on Saturday (for 60 hours of travel...) and am trying to process what the last few weeks have meant. I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for this and I'm so completely overwhelmed by the people I've met here, the research, the music, the food, the attitudes, the politics...I don't think Russia will sink in until I've been in the States for a while. Anything I say at this point will just come across as a cliche ("There's no other place like Russia," "I now see the world from a different perspective," etc.) so I think I'm going to save the real cogitation for the epic plane, train, and automobile trip back.
I did my last load of laundry today (by hand) and my last official day of reporting. One story is in the can and another (extra credit) story is in the works. It won't be as compelling as the first, but it seemed inappropriate to waste precious translator time. I'm trying to think of ways to say thank you to all of the people who have helped me here. Hospitality redefined.
Home - another concept that seems bigger than I am. I strain to wrap my brain around all that is Oregon, but again, these efforts are in vain. I'll just trust that it hasn't gone anywhere. I miss everyone back home a lot, but Russia will be harder to leave than I thought...
Tomorrow, writing, writing, a peroshki, and more writing. I have some last-minute souvineers to purchase and photos to snap. This week like the past 5 will fly by uber quickly. This is life. This is Russia.

Currently reading: Lolita By VLADIMIR NABOKOV Release date: By 26 April, 2005

Saturday, July 09, 2005
Chekhovski!
Yesterday, Kate and I discovered that we both enjoy jazz and black humor. So, I spent all yesterday afternoon hanging out with her and her friend Maya on the other side of town drinking tea, looking at photos, watching movies, and laughing so hard that my face hurt. All in all, awesome.
I submitted my first article for editing (yeah!) and did some reporting for my second story - women's fashion. I'm still talking about pitches with some of my editors. Tres exciting.
Today, I must buy a swimsuit (blech!) for tomorrow's trip to Taganrog, the home of Chekhov. I'm pretty down with Chekhov and I'm even more down with the idea of a beach and maybe getting a tan (or more freckles).
Last night was our latest night on the trip and we played this celebrity game, ate a lot, and giggled mucho. I rekindled my giddiness about Kinder suprises and crispy pillows - the two best foods of all time - and felt very humiliated by my inability to describe historical characters to others. Nerd moment.
NOTHING officially planned for this leisurely saturday. I'm running low on reading material...a totally new scenario for me. Ahhhh!
And for those of you counting at home, 9 days until my triumphant return to Eugene (8 till NYC). I love Russia, but I can't wait to read a menu in English and see those whom I adore...sigh...in the meantime, I'll just charge my iPod and search for vodka per my brother's request.
Currently reading: Into Thin Air : A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster (Modern Library Exploration) By Jon Krakauer Release date: By 22 April, 1997


Thursday, July 07, 2005
London Calling

After an unexpected flurry of e-mails regarding the subway explosions in London, I would just like to say that our posse here in Russia is safe. I don't know why people thought that I would be there (however, I do have long layovers in Moscow, Paris, and NYC - other Olympic bid cities) but we're fine. Some students here had connections in London, which of course raised some concern and a plethora of phone calls, but according to the NYU study abroad office in London, no one has been hurt. Nonetheless, the attack sounds terrible.
I arrive home in 10 days, but am prepared for massive delays and increased customs. 10 days seems like a long time, but judging from the way the past 4 weeks have flown by, it really isn't.
London...a beautiful city which I adore (I went when I was 16...the place oozes with charm). Just like the rest of the world, we'll have to wait to see what news unfolds...
On another note, I finished a story yesterday. Holla! I think my next one will be about women's fashion here and the politics surrounding it. But first, the gears of the editing machine...
Currently reading: Crime and Punishment (Crime & Punishment) By Fyodor Dostoevsky Release date: By 01 June, 1984

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Contemplation of the massive type

At present, I'm rather overwhelmed by the power of mass media - this industry that I've spent so long fascinated by.
Today we toured a state-owned television station that reaches over 5 million viewers regularly. Thedrudgereport.com gets millions of hits reguarly. Hell, this bizarre blog gets hundreds a views a week.
Our inherent need for information is a healthy one - one that must be satiated but with caution. People must view the meida like food - junk is okay every now and then and you should not consume what you can't identify.
It never ceases to amaze me how much media we have - attempts at communication at every level imaginable, yet how alone and isolated people feel...is this inherent to mankind? I read news from around the world, and even help write it, but still, as I roam the streets here, feel completely disconnected and ill-informed. Russians ask me about America, and I don't even know where to begin.
No one told me that all of this mass communications stuff would be so philosophical! Nor did I realize that it would conjure up such a flow of identity questions. I think we fear thinking of ourselves, the world, and relationships because of the potential for dark findings. But tis this quest - to become a better version of the self - of introspection, external is what la vida is all about!

Monday, July 04, 2005
Fireworks..or lack thereof
There's nothing quite like spending the 4th of July in a former communist country.
Our little posse has spent the last week trying to find one tiny little firework, hell, even a sparkler or a lighter that plays music, but to no avail. Tonight, instead of the barbeque and light show, we'll probably end up eating borscht. Yeah America.
The irony of this quest to find things that light up is that me, Vijai (roomie) and Jocelyn (neighbor) have been without power for nearly two days. Everyone else seems to have light, but we had the fun of showering, peeing, and trying to walk around in the dark. It's kind of fun and reminiscent of camping, but getting a little old. Someone is "looking into it," which is an international euphemism for "deal with it, you whining piece of kartoshka."
Reporting today was successful and I've decided that I LOVE talking to people. I expected people here to be totally distant and cold towards talking to me, not only an American and a journalist, but a young girl who sticks out like a sore babushka. My amazing translator and partner and I had oodles of fun strolling up and down the street and talking to people about the monument issue. I would even venture to say that the people I've talked to so far in Russia were even more open and kind than Americans when it comes to dealing with the press. Since the government (still) controls most of the media, people seem eager to voice their opinion to a more independent and international source.
Yesterday, our crew took a long boat ride, full of techno music and drunk, middle-aged men, to a Cossack village. Not only was I literallyswept off my feet by a Cossack singer and dancer in front of everyone (my Russian dance skills are rusty, to say the least) but I learned tons about this very intriguing group who was persecuted for so long. It's fascinating to me how culture can flourish in spite of attempts at oppression...but on the other hand, I learned that 70 percent of my monument (for the story) has already been destroyed by communists during the revolution.
I wish I could offer some sage, Eastern European perspective on this fourth of July. But I guess it was all summed up this morning when I walked into class and a Russian classmate told me "Happy Independence Day." I told her that I didn't know that Russians celebrated this holiday and asked her how she knew about it. She replied "everybody knows everything that is happening in the U.S." I thought of the movie theater, McDonald's, and Calvin Klein store down the street and realized that the American sphere of influence extends to more corners of the world than I ever imagined.
Not to me a mucky Mary, but perhaps the lack of fireworks is for the best.

Friday, July 01, 2005
Brewery, bustin out, bugs

A few things, out of chronological order...
Our crew took a tour of the Baltika (a very popular Russian beer) factory, which other than reminding me of "Laverne and Shirley" proved to be quite interesting. In the end, they gave us free salted fish and mugs! (Can we say...father's day gift dilemma resolved!)
THEN John, Kate and I tried going to another hip hop club that was rumored to be where it's at. A good time was had by all, but it was pretty much a restaurant with Black Eyed Peas playing the entire time - not exactly the perfect slice of the Rostovian Rap scene pie.
Speaking of fruitful reporting, my historical documents and info so carefully obtained by the government are being translated as we speak! Hopefully I'll have a really sassy draft by Tuesday or Wednesday of my feature. From what it sounds like, my team is making the most progress, but I don't want to jinx it...awesome partner and amazing translator make Mary a happy girl. After reporting, we went shopping and ate yummy Armenian food. Journalism is soooo rocking right now.
Last night, after weeks of struggle and wasted rubles, I finally got to call the Nolan! Granted, it was 7:00 a.m. in Oregon and I woke him up, but it was still so nice to hear that life not only exists outside of this massive country, but it's still as nice and charming as ever. This morning, as I awoke to a cold shower, no electricity, and ants in my bed, I couldn't help but be jealous of Nolan and his cozy down comforter, void of bed bugs. In the words of Susanna, "stupid nolan choi!"
Today, we read our travel essays to each other (I'll post mine up here some time soon) and say farewell to one of our professors.
So, in my freakish quest to keep up with U.S. and International affairs, I read that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner is retiring...not only is she my favorite supreme court justice (I know, i'm a government nerd) but this should open up a wide array of pissiness and ickiness in terms of who is next in line...part of me is glad that I'm not in the U.S. right now....any thoughts? I say they appoint Michael Jackson...not only is he well versed now in legal matters, but I think the black robe would really compliment his snow white complexion.
(By they way, I find the number of people who read this blog kind of creepy...especially since not too many people comment...is this a new kind of guilty internet pleasure?)
Currently reading: A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia and Other Stories By Victor Pelevin Release date: By May, 2003

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
ants in my pants...for real

It all started with a HUGE thunderstorm Monday night. I'd never heard anything so loud. It was around midnight, and to be honest, I was thankful for the poetic sound of the rain (wow, that's really NW of me) and the break that my downstairs neighbors took from playing loud eurotrash techno.
The next morning, due to the thundah, NO internet! Alas! I had research, e-mail, bank accounts, nytimes.com, ah! This state of internetless lasted for over two days, in which I felt bizarrely detached from the world. I tried repeatedly to get a phone card (it's been two weeks since I've talked to anyone on the phone) but it's been a PURE NIGHTMARE. Hopefully tomorrow will be my lucky day...
So yesterday, I decide to do laundry by hand. I've got all my goodies, ready to go and I pick up this huge pile of dirty clothes. Dozens of little ants scurry from the pile and even more have nested inside my shirts, jeans, socks, and, yes, my undies. It was the grossest thing ever. Two hours later, I hang the last clean article on the line on the balcony and with a gust of wind, half of them fall down. Eventually, I finish, and we go get pizza. Yummers.
One of the NYU kids is working on a story about Russian hip-hop, so a few of us venture down to Lila, a real-life Russian rap club. Inside, we find a flurry of 16-year-olds rapping about God only knows what. Our translator tells us that "it's vulgar" and rolls his eyes. The kids were dressed like skaters and at some points were trying to sing along with American rap songs, but it was blatantly clear that they didn't speak any English. Kind of funny, but sad at the same time. The bar had this weird, underground, Tiki theme and maps up on the walls. There were maybe 4-5 girls in the entire place. The highlight of the evening came when a kid who couldn't have been more than 11 started to rap it up about "friends." He was no Aaron Carter, but I was impressed.
Today was spent at a rather dull Russian-style press conference, finding a phone card, and writing up an even duller article. Internet juice kicked in this evening and during dinner at a nearby cafe, I acquired 5 new bug bites and heard the Bee Gees. My reporting partner and I worked on our story (we went to the monument we're researching...it's INCREDIBLE!!!) and tomorrow are heading to City Hall to grill some folk.
Tis late here. The website is updating more and more and hopefully tomorrow's reporting time will bear some journalistic fruit.
Monday, June 27, 2005
stinky pits, commie encounters and WEBSITE
Okay, so I just realized today that the date heading for all of these blogs is on Oregon time, so instead of me making the effort to change it, just add 11 hours...that's right, I'm ahead....those Russians, always thinking.
So today we had a press conference with this local bigwhig in the Rostov Communist party. I just wrote up this mediocre article about it (it is a bit on the bland site) but my favorite quote was "with growth of industry comes growth of the human." Granted, this was all through translation, but still...the idea was there. Stalin? Bad? Nooooo!
So the team's website is up
http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/rostov/
Check it out...there's pictures, blogness, and all sorts of nerdy info. And Brad, the WEBMASTER is working hard on it. Woot.
Tonight, laundry. I'm tragically stinking. John managing to buy clothespins without speaking any Russian other than "da."
Last night, Julia, one of the Russian professors hosted this clubbin/party thing. All of us ladies got all dressed up and arrived fashionably late. It was good to see and meet people, but I forgot how much I really don't dig techno. All was fine and dandy until Vijai accidentally spilled a mug of beer on my lap. The wetness was worse than the stench, but we left pretty soon after that. Soaked in beer, surrounded by euroboys, and free condoms at the door...being rebellious was never this knarly. I wanted a shower and hot cocoa.
People are actually reading the blog, which tickles me pink...I'm trying to navigate photoshop in Russian, so patience with the photos. I look pretty much the same, but the Russians here can spot us Americans from a mile away. I've never seen so many well dressed hipsters in one place at a time, and remember, I've lived in New York for a year. Fashion is HUGE here and everywhere. People at the club last night were decked out, and the weird thing is that people dress like that all the time, even when going to the grocery store.
By the way, I bought food for the week for 5 bucks or so. Lunch cost 60 cents. But coming home to a warm shower to clean off my brew-soaked behind...priceless.

Saturday, June 25, 2005
FUTBOL and stalkers with vodka

Last night (Saturday) I did the amazing...went to a European soccer game.
Of course, out here they call it football and throw things at the field. Rostov took on Moscow and after our stadium "tour" (by tour, I mean that a Russian walked us around the stadium in the heat and took 30 minutes to help us find our seats), we sat down and watched a pretty exciting first half. (Soccer here has two, 45-minutes halves). BUUUTTTT, those lowsy Moscowites won, 2-0 because of two penalty shots. Talk about cheap. People started to get pissed at the ref and chanted "The ref is gay" in Russian. Security is pretty tight at the stadium, in terms of trying to make you get rid of anything throwable, yet a few objects were hurled onto the field...mostly bottles or paraphenelia of the like.
Half of us left a little early and had pizza with sauce that tasted EXACTLY like spaghetti-o sauce. Vijai and I then split some yummy cake from a quaint bakery next door and ventured back to meet up with people at the dorm.
There's a salsa party going on in front of the building, so we checked that out, then went up to see Christina and Kate. Kirill, our Russian "RA" was also there and we all started chatting. Within minutes, a crew of Russian boys show up saying "drink the russian vodka with us," leaving us in a state of unease. The other half of the people from the game show up and a good time was had by all. Kirill posed as an American and the Russians bought it....the whole thing kind of reminded me of being 15 except that no one seemed to speak English.
At about 1:45, I turned in. Just as I was finishing brushing my teeth, I hear a knock on the door. Vijai's asleep, so I answer quietly. It's one of the Russian boys who is VERY trashed. He mumbles something to me and does this weird pelvic thrust thing. I point to the end of the hall and whisper-yell "GO!" He doesn't move, so I just shut and lock the door. Something must have happened, because this morning when I got up to run, he was gone.
Russian and American friends are all good and dandy, but all of this traveling makes me realize how lucky I was to find some of the friends I've got. Last night was this strange hybrid of awesomeness and people trying to relive their early adolescence.
Anywho, tonight is Julia's big party - black and white themed. I think this afternoon I'll read, research for an article and shoe shop. Bloody Sunday...
Currently reading: Resurrection By DAVID REMNICK Release date: By 26 May, 1998

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Gettin Cozy and RIP
Rostov is a city in Southern Russia with about 1.5 million people. For those Oregonians, it's kind of like a Russian Portland. But it's such a weird city in that the division between the rich and poor is soooo sharp. Where we are staying, near the university, buildings are new, hundreds stroll the promenade, and everything is relatively clean. But only a block away, you'd think you were in Bosnia during the early 90's. Hopefully soon I can post some new pics (we're still adjusting to the computers here...imagine navigating Windows in cyrillic...). Last night, John, Brad and I wanted to see Batman Begins in Russian, but the last showing was too late (damn dorm curfew!) so we'll have to do it another time. We window shopped, got kicked out of the park by cops for no real reason, then met up with the rest of the group and ate at this quaint restaurant whose name translates to "the Hokey Pokey." While walking in the street, a random Russian man took a photo of me with a digital camera and ran off. I immediately checked my clothing, my face, everything, to see if there was any glaring reason why he took my photo...so if you see any weird pics of me on the internet that were NOT taken by Alex, please let me know...tres creepy.
On our way back, we discovered an INCREDIBLE dessert bar, but did not partake out of fatigue...hopefully today I can finish where I left off, he he...nothing caps off a day of class like warm cocoa/ice cream/tarts, etc. Yummy.
Classes went well, but the translation process takes some getting used to. The Russian students I've met so far are so accomplished, but have a very different (and often more admirable) work ethic. Since our key professor is gone, another one is filling in and trying his hardest, but so far things have been pretty lax...not that I'm complaining! We also haven't officially started reporting, which should be a challenge.
Nolan sent me some sad but inevitable news from home: little Anna May, the perrenial puppy of the Pilon family was put to sleep a couple of days ago. She was about 18 years old and far past her prime, but in her heyday, she was one hell of a dog. I knew that it was going to happen, but I feel bad that my dad is so busted up about it and there really isn't anything I can do. Our other dog, Lucky, died a few months ago, so for the first time in my entire life, there is no doggie to greet me when I come home :-( As kooky as it sounds, this will be a very odd type of adjustment. But, in short, All Dogs go to Heaven :-) and little Anna May (not Anime) is no exception.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Choo Choo Rostov!

Moscow=rain. I brought my oregon curse with me. We awoke to POURING rain, but since our time there was so limited, we journeyed across Red Square to the Kremlin for a tour anyway. The Kremlin, for those who don't know, is the center of Russian government. It's designed like a huge fortress with a giant brick wall surrounding the complex and Lenin's tomb is right in front. You know all of those pictures of Russia with the swirly buildings? Those are the churches of the Kremlin and outside red sqaure. It looks kind of like a Communistic Disneyland. Tres cool.
So, me and some of my NYU journalism compadres admired the magnificent decor of the Cathedrals and roamed around Moscow soggy as all hell. There's such a heaviness to the city...and everyone seemed so angry...even more so than NYC. Granted, we're annoying tourists who know little Russian, but still, the city kind of weirded me out. There were amazing fireworks at night and a lot of Russian students had their prom that weekend, so we saw a lot of decked out teens. Kind of made everyone nostalgic and then turn to vodka. Hmm....
We also went to the CBS Moscow bureau and spoke with the chief and cameraman there...their take on things was fascinating...(I can elaborate for those international news nerds upon request) Putin has completely changed the face of Russian capitalism and the role of the media...it's eerie.
We boarded a train, for 18 hours, that had the most amazing pink curtains. I heart the train. We had a great time just hanging out and watching the green countryside roll by (sigh). Part of me was sad to see the ride end...but we have another one back to the airport, so no worries.
Rostov, where we are now, is where the Russian-American journalism institute is and where I'll be for the rest of the time. We moved into our dorms and went out to the open market to purchase some things to improve our humble surroundings...hopefully I can post some pictures as soon as we get kind of settled.
Ah, Russians are so awesome! We met some of our interpreters and the Russian students here. They are so sweet and have that charming, Eastern European accent. And Russian women are so glamorous! I might even write a feature about it. More details to follow...


Monday, June 20, 2005
Moscow a go-go
I'm listening to really bad Russian techno (I'm at the point where I can actually recognize certain songs) at an Internet cafe outside the Kremlin. Life is good.
So we got on the train last night from St. Petersburg and I was dreading the 8 hour ride, until I saw our adorable little sleeper cabin! I felt like Harry Potter journeying off to Hogwarts (don't worry, Nolan, plenty of people were on hand to make fun of my dorky comparison). The train literally rocks you to sleep and we saw some of the Russian countryside. All around the outskirts of the cities there are these HUGE housing complexes built under communism right next to factories for the workers. They're in shitty condition and soooo bland. Even though Communism officially ended in 1991, there are still many red flags and images of Lenin everywhere. Whatever you think of politics, the effects are still soooo apparent here, from their economics to the way people walk, talk, and dress. I can't wait to start reporting in a few days when we get to Rostov...which also means another train ride! Woo hoo!
We're staying at the largest hotel in Europe right near Red Square. We checked in this morning, I took advatage of the AMAZING shower and napped a little after the tragically cut short sleeping. My roomie, Viajai and I watched a little Russian TV (sooooo weird) then the group headed over to Moscow University to meet with their professor of media law and tour.
He was fascinating. They don't have satire here because thousands of journalists every year get sued and charged with defamation. That's right...no political cartoons, SNL, or Daily Show. I know that these aren't "real journalism" but the impact that they have on the people and the rest of the media is tremendous. It's interesting to see a culture so void of absurd humor. People and government are so ridiculous sometimes that they deserve to be made fun of, yet there is no real freedom for that here. They have freedom of speech in their new constitution and a tremendous increase in media liberation, but still a large piece of the puzzle is missing.
Blogging has also been a frequent topic of discussion, both over meals and when meeting with Russian journalists. This is my first time blogging, and I don't know what the hell I think of it. On the one hand, it's the purest form of democracy - even the little man can share his voice. On the other, it doesn't go through the scrutiny of an editor or bear the implications of published work...I guess it all boils down to question the source, which very few people do nowadays. Hmph.
Lenin's tomb is here and I really hope we get a chance to see it. He is fully embalmed and you can see his face and everything...totally creepy, in addition the fact that it's friggin Lenin. The rainy weather today really put a dampener on our sight seeing plans, so we hope that it will improve and we can see more tomorrow.
The little bit of Moscow I've seen seems AMAZING...I'm even more swept away by it than St. Petersburg. We'll be here for two nights, which seems like not long enough. Everything in Russia is so epic, even a month doesn't seem like enough to take in everything. Well, we'll see how I feel about all that 4 weeks from now.
Well, just like Russia, this blog is epic. So with that, I'm done.

Saturday, June 18, 2005
moscow, ahoy! Current mood: happy

Time limit on the hostel computer....bear with me...here are some highlights...
Tonight we leave St. Petersburg for Moscow on an 8 hour overnight train. Everyone got really trashed last night (they give you vodka free with your meal and beer is uber cheap) and as a consequence, is very bitchy about this morning's early wake-up call. We're meeting and spending time with some of the Russians from the institute, and they're absolutely grand.
The Hermitage is the world's biggest museum, and yesterday I spent three hours there and maybe saw a fifth of it. In a word, amazing. This museum alone (not to mention all of the Rasputin history) made the plane ticket worth it.
We tried to go to this spa/sauna thing that Kate heard about in the guidbook, and after an hour long walk in the toastiness, we end up at the location, which is in a Russian ghetto (most of St. Petersburg is rather posh) and see a KBG arrest...even though the KGB was supposed to disappear with communism. There was a red flag, a paddywagon, the works. But Russians are so weird in that they're used to this...dozens walked by and didn't even glance over.
Last night we took a boat ride and ate at this exceptional restaurant with Russian music and a lot of drunk Russians dancing. All in all, I've had an awesome stay at St. Petersburg....Moscow, beware. Wow, that sounded more cliche than I thought it would.
Much love to folks, wherever they are. Comrades, be in good spirits.

Thursday, June 16, 2005
hostel but not angry
Current mood: confused
After over 10 hours on planes from JFK to Paris and onward, our group arrived at St. Petersburg yesterday around 3 in the afternoon. We're 11 hours ahead of Oregon, so my whole concept of time is perquacky. I fell asleep in the van on the way to the hostel and everything seems pretty surreal. There's a HUGE statue of Lenin down the street, everything is huge, and I feel like a little kid who can't read anything. After being showed around thehostel, we went out to this restaurant where I learned that Russians (and Europeans) don't really get the idea of customer service. It took two hours to get a mediocre (but cheap) slice of lasagna. I was STARVING and tired, so I called my dad (Nolan wasn't home :-() to tell him I got here ok. At 10, I fell asleep.
Now it's 5 a.m., I tried calling home again (no answer :-() and I don't really know what the plan is for today...the weather isovercast, so the tiny amount of photos I tried to take didn't turn out to well. In fact, the first thing I thought of when I got off the plane was "gee, this place seems like Oregon." Tres weird
This keyboard is akward and has cyrillic letters on it. Please forgive my sloppiness...I'm so jet lagged it's not even funny.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
plane insane Current mood: nervous

So this afternoon, I'm supposed to meet the gang (I don't really know anyone who is going) at JFK airport. We'll then take two red-eye flights...one from here to Paris, then from Paris to St. Petersburg. I think it's around 16 hours on a plane...I've got some books and stuff, but damn, that's a long time to sit still. Anna takes the 18 hour flight to Singapore, but she had the magic of Law and Order to get her through...hopefully the movie is good.
I just got off the phone with Nolan and I'm making those last minute, U.S. non-international-roaming cell calls. It's $2.29 a minute to call from Russia. Yowzah! I could be buying Tupac ringtones with bling like that!
Adventures...how do I get myself into this crap? I think my suitcase is too big for the train and people will make fun of me...but in the words of Jill "SUCK IT!" Here's to stickin it to the man and spreading communism...errr...I mean capitalism with fervor and passion.
Bon voyage and don't be suprised if the next time you see me, I answer only to "comrade."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
NYC and jamacian me crazy
Current mood: tired
Here's a rundown of today...
3:00 a.m. - Alarm wakes me up after an hour (?) of sleep
4:00 a.m. - Myron and I head off to Portland, suitcase and backpack in hand. He's grumpy because I used his coffee mug to hold milk. The milk is yummy.
6:20 a.m. - We arrive at Portland airport after an exhilerating sunrise drive to the tunes of 80's pop. Myron talks a lot. I smile and nod. It hasn't hit me yet how early it is.
7:00 a.m. - Plane for Cincinati boards. My seat is in the back row next to two snobby women with Coach bags. During the 4 hour flight, the woman sitting next to me with fake nails longer than Florida drinks five, yes FIVE bloody Marys at 10 bucks a pop! She's giggly and more annoying than piss.
8:00 a.m. - I inflate my travel pillow. I kind of doze. The food and beverage cart passes me. I awake parched ad confused because "Robots" is playing and the woman next to me has the same pink iPod as me, even though she's older than my Dad.
2:30 p.m. (EST) - The plane lands late into Cincinati becase of a thunderstorm over the airport. It was just like the friggin Truman show. Just over the airport. Drunk woman freaks out and asks me if I like gold earrings. (?? I know!). I tell her that I find them elegant on some, but I'm more of a silver girl and my flight for NYC leaves in 13 minutes....
3:15 p.m. - (thankfully) my flight to NYC is delayed so I make it. I sit in the back again and the flight attendants are late with the food and the drink cart, so towards the end of the hour and a half flight, the angry British woman announces "the back 20 rows will not get beverage and snack service." My soul burns with hatred for the system....grrrrr....
6:00 p.m. - I hop aboard the bus from JFK to Grand Central and the bus driver is a Jamaican guy who looks like Don Cheadle. It's uncanny really. The foriegn people on the bus stare and act like it's really him...the keep saying "Rwanda."
6:40 p.m. - The bus breaks down on Park Ave, mere blocks from Grand Central. Don Cheadle starts to laugh/cry and gets out of the bus swearing. He calls the station with this 80's cell phone and tries to fix the bus. 10 minutes later, he gives the gas another thrust and it goes. The busload of people clap and say "I heart de citteee!" I think I'm the only one who speaks English, which, in turn makes me love new york.
7:20 p.m. - I take the Metro north to Bronxville where my pregnant cousin and her mutally exhausted husband pick me up and we go eat Japanese food. The put a bid on an adorable house in Connecticut after YEARS of searching, so they're jittered and worried about finances. Ah, the hormones of pregnancy. Food yummy, family grand.
9:30 back here at their apartment. It's friggin HOT here in New York and being back makes me realize how much I love it here. Sigh....
Anyway, more later when I'm not in such a notetaking mood. I'm alive and more details to follow...