Tuesday, August 3, 2010
A Visit to the Museum
First, let's start off with a picture of this smoke that I've been talking about. That's from yesterday. The smoke is worse today. This morning I couldn't even see the buildings across the way. It's pretty awfully to be honest. People are walking around with masks over their noses & mouths. My eyes water almost immediately upon setting foot out the door. I've been indoors for about two hours now & I still smell like a gigantic cigarette. Apparently it's even worse in Moscow. I head there next Tuesday so I guess I'll find out for myself.
On to a happier subject. On Sunday Zinaida informed us that she was taking us to the museum. It was her present to us-a personalized tour of the museum. "But don't speak around anyone. I'm getting you in for free by telling them you're my nieces from out of town." This made the trip even sweeter. I enjoy any type of craftiness.
The personalized tour of the museum was fantastic. Remember a few days ago I wrote that Zinaida had a literary salon? The salon was in one of the halls of the museum. This is where our tour started. We had the room all to ourselves which made for ample opportunities of getting great photos. It was easy to see how much the hall meant to Zinaida.
The whole day was a blast--we toured the picture gallery again (my roommate & I went there a few weeks ago) but this time we were allowed to take pictures for free. In most museums, churches & places of importance in Russia you have to pay an additional fee to take photographs. Zinaida still had enough pull at the museum to get this fee waved. We wandered through the special exhibits on Asian art and beer as well as a trip through the children's museum on the bottom floor of the museum.
Afterward Zinaida announced that she had to take the bus across town to buy cucumbers, and would show us a park where a concert was going on that afternoon. It seemed weird that my host mom would have to go somewhere special to buy cucumbers given the abundance of them in this town, but I shrugged and followed her to the park.
The park was massive-a combination of an amusement park, zoo, playground and wooded area. There was a large stage set up next to the fountain where more concerts would take place as part of City Day weekend. My roommate and I wandered around checking out the rides and cooling off with watermelon ice pops.
When the heat and hunger got too much later in the day, we headed back to the apartment. As I went into my room, a book was on Coffin-A-Go-GO. It was a book that my host mom had that was about the church in the next city over. It's a beautiful picture book of the history of the church and pictures of the area in all four seasons. It's a stunning book that I drooled over. It turns out that she had originally bought the book at the museum, but they don't sell it there anymore (she had checked that morning). It turns out that she went all the way across town to hunt the book down for me! On such a hot day with her cane & her heart condition, she made the trip because she knew that I liked the book so much. I'm going to miss her so much.