Sunday, July 19, 2009

Russian Countryside (Novgorod)

my hotel room
out in the Russian countryside
old russian wooden chapel
another old Russian wooden chapel
the monastery. the first place we went to. one of the oldest churches in Russia.
A lot of people here ask me if Obama is a Muslim... And I say no... Then some ask me if I'm a Muslim and I say no... The most persistent people ask if I'm protestant and I say yes.

Taboo topic update at the very end.

Novgorod was another great weekend away from Petersburg. Stayed up all night and didn't sleep because I was finishing a paper. It wasn't a major problem I knew I could sleep on the bus to Novgorod. I was one of the first one at the school at 8am. After rushing quickly to be there on time! I forgot my camera but the camera on my phone works just fine. Plus I used Roses' camera (she's a student here too).

The weather was nice and overcast and I was lulled to sleep by the sounds of DJ Screw and that good old southern sound that is so familiar to me. A major source of annoyance was the fact that on the way there a bunch of drunk Russians kept stopping me and saying, "what's up homie!?" and "yo man!" I've never been up at this time on a Friday cause I typically don't have classes but basically Russians go nuts on Thursday nights and stumble around the streets on Friday mornings...

Anyway, my iPod/DJ Screw worked better than the best Anesthesia. I was reminded of my high school hooping days... On the bus. Music. Going in and out of sleep. Slightly upset cause I woke up when the bus stopped but then fell asleep before I knew it. We finally made it to Novgorod and it reminded me of Huntsville, Texas (my hometown). The population is about 200,000 and it's by no means a small town like Huntsville but it's definitely got a country charm and feel to it.

Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia and there's a lot of history there and blah blah blah it's over 1000 years old. It was an old capital. Just wikipedia it!

I lucked up and got a hotel room to myself cause the kid that dislocated his knee could not come. The hotel room was very nice. Check the picture. We had lunch and I had a very delicious drink that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. I don't know what it was but it was really sweet and the fruits in it I couldn't distinguish. But I guess there were some berries and something else really fruity.

After that we went on a tour of the countryside which looks just like the countryside in East Texas. I felt at home. We went to see the old churches and were some of the places where monks studied. Afterwards we went to an old Russian village. There was a traditional Russian wedding taking place and it was very lighthearted and joyful. It was informal and if I wanted to I could have joined into the celebration as well as anyone else... At the village (a recreation) they moved old wooden buildings from areas surrounding Novgorod and reassembled them here. by the way, I hit my head like 20 something times on this trip too. On the bus and in the small old village houses. I'm really tall so and I was around of low arches and entryways. For a second I thought I wished I was shorter... that life would be easier... then I snapped back to reality. Being a giant is fun.

I felt like a little kid in the country again. Me and some of the other students walked into the field. I some long straw grass and chewed on it. And enjoyed the far awayness of the city. Breathed in the county air. Not cigaret, polluted smog. Listened to song birds. Not pigeons. Looked out on an endless stretch of fields and water. And not out on the rooftops and chimneys and streets I see from my top floor view in my room here in Petersburg. I felt like I was who I am.

We headed back towards the city after I searched the country gift shops for hours looking for a wooden or lumberjack gift for my dad... To no avail. But when we got back to the city I found something.

I was told of a very special type of beer that was served in Novogord. It was very sweet and made with honey. I as well as several other students wanted to try it. So I appointed myself head of the excursion and we set out to find the legendary beer of Novgorod.

And I think I'll stop here to keep you waiting.

When I finish about Novgorod I'll talk about the excursion, my night there, and the next day, and the bus ride back. plus my last Saturday night here in Petersburg...

The Taboo Topic is still under review but I'm making progress with it. Not official progress but I've come up with some theories of my own to work things out.

Stay Tuned

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