June 12

I’m headed home today, so with luck music blogging will resume as normal soon. I came back to Moscow from St. Petersburg on an early train Monday morning. I wish I’d had more time to walk around Moscow, rather than just a day or two on either end of the trip. After St. Petersburg Moscow seems just this intimidating network of very wide, very bright dusty streets flanked with large buildings. It’s quieter if you leave the center, of course, and there you see ordinary apartment buildings and all that, but it’s still much – I don’t know. Blocky is the wrong word. There are a lot of large square gray shapes here. The drivers are more aggressive and as a pedestrian one feels more vulnerable.

I had another fun little stumble yesterday afternoon checking into a hotel. When I reached reception the young woman just stared at me without saying anything. What I’m used to is getting either “can I help you?” or “hang on just a minute” – here I got nothing, and I was obliged to work out for myself that there was someone else hidden in the office being helped, sitting behind the door in such a way that I couldn’t see him from the doorway. It was the weirdest thing. But this has happened several times. Somehow you’re supposed to already know what is going on and act accordingly.

Last night I half wished I had more opera tickets – they were doing Turandot at the Bolshoi. However, you can’t go to the opera every single day, even when on vacation. So what I will do is go home, and probably sleep for about twelve hours (fortunately east to west trans-Atlantic jet lag is much easier than going the other way – you just wake up really early for several days). And then I will have to pack up all of my stuff and all the books in my office and get ready to move house – but in between, there will be time for a DVD or two. I’m thinking maybe Tosca.

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