Day 197 (Moscow, Russia)
Today is my 14th day in Moscow and it is time to move onto Saint Petersburg for a little while. I bought a night train ticket that leaves today at 8 PM so I will be there tomorrow morning. I have several CouchSurfing hosts setup and it will hopefully all work out nicely before my flight to Cairo, Egypt on the 24th. Yesterday I got my first tattoo which is pretty cool I think. It took about 70 minutes to apply I think and it didn’t hurt much at all really. It wasn’t that cheap but it was quality work at a quality shop and I am happy with the results. I have to take good care of it for the next few weeks but hopefully it won’t interfere with me seeing Saint Petersburg and having a good time.
The Moscow Invasion was so amazing. It was 5-6 days of events that were really organized amazingly well. I am not just saying that because I was hosted by one of the main organizers. It really was well planned and had interesting events. Thursday we had a pre-invasion party that was organized by a guy from Holland months before, who also was staying with the same host that I was. It was a good start and I met some interesting people but the venue for this event was not great and the owners didn’t seem to like us for some reason. The next day was the big party at a place called Studio 7 which was more like a dance studio that we rented for the evening. Sadly you won’t see me in many pictures from that event as I got way to drunk way to early which was a mistake, but oh well. The pictures I saw made it look amazing and for the 2 hours of lucidity that I had it was a very fun event.
The next day we all met at a dance club which was another fun event but I was terribly hung over and the venue was too small in my opinion. Also the drinks were expensive but I have come to expect 200-300 ruble ($7-$10) pints of beer as normal here. The day after this was the boat trip along the river that runs through Moscow. It started as a very rainy day but 10-20 minutes into the boat trip it cleared up and we really got to enjoy the views from outside. The boat had a very large indoor area anyway so it wasn’t a big deal if the rain had not stopped. We sang some karaoke and I got some personal tour information from a local Russian journalist who is very knowledgeable. The boat trip lasted around 3 hours and after that we went to a nice pub/bar and played some card games for the rest of the night.
The games we played were the classic UNO that everyone knows and a game that I think is somewhat original to Russia called Mafia. This game is actually very fun and it really is more of a role playing game then a card game. I was surprised people liked it so much as it seemed really nerdy actually. Of course I enjoyed it as I am competitive and it involved lying which I always thought I was rather good at. I had played the game the week before during a weekly card game night that I think should be mandatory in every city as it’s an awesome way to get together and meet the community. I had also gone to a club with my host and his friends the week before so I knew some of the people prior to the invasion.
Between and before all this invasion craziness I did some walking around Moscow and generally just relaxed and had a good time. I ate mostly groceries during my time here as Moscow is not cheap for eating out. Fast food that would be $6 in Canada comes to $10-$11 here typically. I personally feel it’s the most expensive place I have been but others say it’s not that bad so maybe I just haven’t found the cheap places yet. I have learned 85% of the Cyrillic alphabet and mastered the metro for the most part so I am getting around the city rather easily now.
On a future note I have been playing around with the cost of flights in South-East Asia with a company called AirAsia and things look very promising for visiting a huge amount of places on the cheap. Most flights are under $40 which is what I paid for most bus trips inside Europe. The only question mark in my mind is if I can manage to see Japan. I think it will depend on my bank account at the time as it will cost roughly $500 more for the plane tickets. That’s it for now, next post will be in Saint Petersburg, possibly on day 200!