Sunday, June 23, 2013

When I Say Adventures in Russia...

...I mean it.

This picture would be much better if I were holding a beer.
Well… today turned out to be more of an adventure than I usually go for.  It started out pretty slowly, with some skyping (oh my gosh… as I type this, I am starting to realize that this morning feels like it was about a week ago) and then the group met up to head out for a leisurely cruise down the Moscow River.  This is always one of our favorite activities of the month, but there was a slight pall cast over the day by the fact that we managed to get the one boat in the fleet that didn’t have a concessions stand – which meant no beer or ice cream!  And the boat had this crazy sulfur smell that was a little much.  But other than that, we had a lovely time, it was very relaxing, and I highly recommend it!

After that the group split up to go to different destinations around Moscow.  I went with some folks to the Arbat street – a cute little pedestrian street with shops and artists and whatnot.  I did end up getting my beer and ice cream there… so I didn’t have to suffer too long.
See... I look good with a beer.
The evening was another low impact one with only four graduate students strolling down to a theatre to see a really delightful production of Женитьба (Marriage).  The energy was wonderful in the show, and there were some truly genius bits.  The theatre where this was performed, however, is a shared space that different companies rent for their productions, and I’m not sure what was up with their lights, but they were extremely clunky.  Still, even with the not-so-great lighting design, it was a super fun evening of theatre.

After the show we hurried back to the dorm for the weekly potluck… and this is where things got interesting.  I stopped into the grocery store to buy snacks to contribute to the potluck and heard that one of the students (we’re going to call her Susie, because she hasn’t had the chance to tell her parents yet, and the remote chance that they might google her name and Moscow and find this entry before she has a chance to tell them the story leads me to create this super original pseudonym) had fallen on the stairs and hurt her knee, but no one seemed to be making a big deal of it.  Fine.  Then I got to the dorm, and it turns out there was, indeed, sort of something about which to be making a big deal.  Susie had gashed her knee pretty substantially.  So, we found a first aid kit to do some preliminary cleaning, but pretty much decided that she needed to go to a doctor.  So, I got directions from JT (who has a pretty nasty cold of his own), bandaged up her knee, then David (one of the MFA actors on the trip) created a makeshift splint out of ace bandages, pot handles and a loofa handle, and we trundled her out the door.  Now, it was about 11:30 by the time we left the dorm, but we opted to take the metro rather than try to figure out how to call a cab and such… so David carried our injured little bird up and down all the stairs on his back, and supported her as she walked on the flat surfaces, while I managed to guide us to the clinic.  Now let me tell you a few things about this clinic: first, the journey to this place involves a LOT of sketchy side streets; and second, it might well be the best doctor’s office ever.  NEVER – even with an appointment – have I been seen that quickly by a doctor.  And I’m including when I was brought to the ER strapped to a board with a head wound (I was left to wait there, strapped down, for what seemed like 40 minutes…but that was a long time ago… I’m totally over it…totally).  I mean, as soon as the paperwork was filled out, we were in the elevator and with the doctor (a delightful young man named Andrei).  He irrigated and disinfected the wound – and had a great bedside manner as he went along, as all this was clearly fairly painful for Susie.  And he finally ended up giving her that liquid bandage stuff and a prescription for antibiotics before sending us on our way.  I think he wanted to give her stitches, but ended up opting for the liquid stitches after he felt bad about hurting her while he rinsed the wound.  Once the worst of the pain was past and it was clear that Susie was going to be okay, the fact that I had been staring at an open wound for the last couple of hours suddenly caught up to me and I got super hot and dizzy and felt like there was a distinct possibility that I wasn’t going to be conscious much longer… so I chugged some water and sat down while Andrei finished up the appointment.  (Andrei was amused with me because I understood his accent and even some of his Russian better than the other two.  Seriously – super nice guy.  We were really glad to have him.)  And he let us take his picture.  So Andrei is totally two thumbs up in my book.

The front desk got us signed out and called us a cab (the metro doesn’t run after 1:00am) and we made it back to the dorm around 1:30 (half an hour after the dorm is supposed to lock for the night… which would have left us out in the cold Moscow world until it opens again at 6:00am… but the babushka was kind enough to stay up late to make sure we could get in.  Then, once we got home, David and I sat in the kitchen trying to wind down from the excitement; laughing our asses off at completely in appropriate jokes seemed to be the right way to do that.

But here’s the moral of the story: this is my third time on this trip, and I’ve repeated a lot of experiences.  But tonight reminded me that there are always new experiences to be had.

That said… if the next experience could involve less blood and more chocolate or money being thrown in my direction, that would be awesome.

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