Sunday, 6 December 2009

A day at the park

Another day out, this time to the All Russian Exhibition Centre, now known as VVC/ ВВЦ but still mainly called by its previous name - Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy - or VDNKh/ВДНХ  which is also the name of the local metro stop. It is a weird place, a sprawling site across which about 80 pavilions are scattered; some in 'regional' styles, and some to represent a particular industry or field (radio-electronics, soviet culture, atomic energy etc.,) all in varying states of decrepitude. In the Soviet period exhibitions and conferences were held here, and some of the grand intentions can still be felt. But now the pavilions are mainly occupied by stalls selling miscellaneous junk, surrounded by a fun fair and hot-dog stands, as well as heroic statues and fountains. I went at the weekend, so the place was packed with families having a day out. 

I then joined a Mosmania tour to the nearby Ostankino TV tower (by travelling from VDNKh on the new monorail to Телецентр). This is another place to get  a great view over the city; although security was tough (you have to book in advance and show your passport) and the official tour was in Russian. And although I have intended not to make fun of translation errors on this blog - 1.) because I speak almost no Russian yet, and my accent is atrocious, and 2.) because almost all the Russians I work with speak impeccably good English with almost no accent at all - I am going to do right now. Just to pass on the joy of hearing the guide say (whilst we were at the monorail stop, looking away from the Ostankino tower at the nearby Sheremetev estate and it's lake) that we were witnessing " a serial of ponds, where many women committed suicide in that very puddle."

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