Its a nice, rainy day here in Moscow; kind of the perfect day for a museum, any of which I've yet to see. But I just can't do it. I'm totally burned out. I'm exhausted, I have a headache, my legs are sore, and frankly, I would pay good money for a sensory depravation chamber right about now.
Yesterday was a very good day (I'll write about that after I get some rest.) And today started out just fine; I went with Em to the school she teaches at, checked it out, met some folks who's names I'd been hearing, hung out for awhile in the library and just kind of chilled while she was teaching. I don't know if its because for the first time I wasn't out and about being a tourist first thing in the morning or what, but around 10 am I just got incredibly tired. And then I started to get a slow, nagging headache. Em helped me acquire some Advil once she was out of class, but it never felt like it really kicked in. I'm betting I'm dehydrated - I know I've not been drinking nearly enough water this week.
Taking public transportation home didn't help either. I caught the shuttle to the Metro station just fine, but we (surprise!) got stuck in jerky stop and go traffic**, with everyone packed in and slightly damp and fogging up the inside of the windows so you couldn't even see out and yes, someone really needed to brush their teeth or bathe or SOMETHING. Blech. Then down into the Metro, which was also juuust a little too warm. I do hate public transportation on wet days; always have. Just unpleasant.
Even feeling as shitty as I did/do, I had to fight the urge to push through and go to the museum. I had a realization yesterday that shit! Even for being here 2 weeks, I'm not going to be able to see everything I want to, and part of me doesn't want to 'waste time' just being in the apartment.
Then I remembered that just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do something, and that if I don't give myself a break, everything down the line will be a struggle too. Time to take a vacation from my vacation, at least for a few hours.
And like I mentioned earlier, I just need to get away from it all for a bit. Moscow is constant stimulation. The streets are filled with people and cars all hours of the day, and that's quarduple for rush hours, which as far as I can tell run from about 7am-10am/3pm-7pm. And when folks here walk, they WALK. No eye contact, no smiling, and not exactly speedwalking, but walking at a good clip. With the number of people walking, you've got to basically walk at the flow of traffic, or people will just bang into you and you'll totaly disrupt everything. Its very... agressive is a good word. People are constantly passing you too, no matter what clip you're moving at. Also, stepping out into traffic is very common here. I'm not going to say the pedestrian is exactly god, but these walkers are on a MISSION, and no delays will be tolerated.
Then there's the Metro. I hope to devote a post to just this phenomenon later, because it is pretty impressive. But for now, let me just tie it in with the aggressive people around here. Unlike any public train I've ever taken in my life, the longest you will wait for a train here is about 5 minutes. They even have digital clocks up on the wall so you can see how long it is behind trains. Hell, the shortest I've waited between trains here was 40 seconds. I am not shitting you. So you can see how its not like missing your train is anything more than a blip in your day. But still, people rush to get down to the trains, and rush to jump onto a train before the jaws of death -- err, doors slam shut with a powerful clang. Again, more rushing, more jostling past. Rush! Rush! Go! Go! And make sure whatever you do, don't smile! Look serious! maybe even frown a little!
There's plenty of car traffic in the city too. Its totally common for lanes to be anywhere from 4 to 7 lanes across -- in each directions. And these crazy enormous boulevards are EVERYWHERE, not just a few here and there circling the city. I've taken pictures; you'll see soon. There's also construction everywhere, mostly of the building persuasion, but definitely roads too. Near our closest metro stop, there's what appears to be a new square being built at the intersection of several enormous roads. Seriously, I think this thing is at least 4 square blocks of construction, chock full of hammers and equipment and all sorts of noisy things.
Hell, I'm going to stop typing for a moment just so there won't be any noise.
Ok, that's better.
Yes, I'm tired and cranky. Overall, still a very good time here in Moscow; it'll just be a little better after I nap, that's all.
** In his impatience with the traffic, our shuttle (paid van) driver turned off the huge boulevard and started driving on the trolley tracks that paralleled it. Not a road. On the (in ground) tracks that are separated from the road by their own built-up curb. And to boot, he was tailgating the streetcar. Trolleys were passing us with inches to spare in the opposite direction. Even the locals on the shuttle were looking around in confusion and a small amount of trepidation. It was fairly, how do you say...WHAT THE FUCK?!?