счастливое Новый Год

January 1, 2009



So….the coldest new year celebrations yet. We delayed until 10 before venturing out into the bitter wind. There were 4 different stages in the Hermitage Square and 4 rotating entertainments….how lucky were we? Well, not a lot it turned out , as we watched cute Snow Flake dancers, a vastly inferior Gogol Bordello troupe, an egocentric middle aged guy with 3 scarves directing ‘It’s a Knockout type games’ and best of all…a Swing Orchestra all dressed as Donnie Darko rabbits – fantastic.

We had made the mistake of taking the vodka instead of the champagne. First the police presence was phenomenal and there was no chance of us getting through to the inner ring without any one of several thousand young army officers frisking us and confiscating our alcohol. The Paddy wagons (or Dimitry Wagons as we seasoned travellers decided to call them)were like tanks and parked in sinister fashion on every corner. Large groups of young men circled them warily.

Second, everyone else took champagne and fired the corks at each other which looked like fun.

Pairs of elderly women with gold teeth and fur coats strolled arm in arm looking like a Beryl Cook painting.

Babies were swaddled in so many layers that they were splayed out like star fish (or Maggie Simpson, depending on your cultural reference).

At midnight there was a serious speech from an unrecognizable politician, the Kremlin clock on the big screen struck midnight and we drank a vodka toast to all our loved ones. Then we watched fantastic official fireworks which exploded over the river…the finale of silver and gold was just wonderful. After that it was every person for themselves as people set off fireworks at random, often nearly decapitating each other with rockets and exploding at the feet of unwary couples who were snogging passionately to celebrate the new year (thoo they do seem to do thaat a lot here, perhaps it helps them keep warm).

It was fun though we felt like observers rather than participants. As we headed back we passed a huge circle of men …. “aha, a fight” think the ex teachers (‘ex’!!!) and then I clearly see the man in the middle is holding up a gun. A gun. We assume he is about to start some sort of traditional New Year race and depart quickly.

This morning we met our American friends again…Jack and ‘M’ (clearly a Maths teacher will be a code expert and can be ‘M’ to his Jack. A Film with Bauer and Bond springs to mind) who are really Becca and Chris have given us useful info about Moscow and we are going for a drink with them tonight.

We had a fantastic walk round St Petersburg today. We walked on the frozen river. The river is solid except for a strip that the ice breaker has opened. The ice at the very edge is like tiny crystals and they shatter with a tinkling noise when you stand on them, further out it’s thicker and different shades of grey and then you get huge shards (like in the ice cave in that Superman film) they look amazing. The snow is great too, it’s crunchy and creaks like the proper snow we don’t see enough of in Mossley. We found the Literary Quarter and worshipped at the house of Dostoevsky, we had coffee and cake, we briefly visited a winter market with stalls and a stage….but when the stage came alive to dancing rabbits and silly games, we sensed a bit of déjà vu and left…..it had become far too cold and you can’t blow your nose with 2 pairs of gloves on ……  moscow next.


4 Responses to “счастливое Новый Год”

  1. Rachel Says:

    -1 here at the moment. (Chester-le-Street)

    Nose blowing -do what the kids do – use your sleeve and it will freeze so hard, crustify and drop off.

    I had a champagne parachute attachment thingy!!!! You plug it into the cork and when it fires it activates a parachute so the cork floats down. Still haven’t located it yet!!!!!!!!!!


  2. gill hartley Says:

    Watched our Preston fireworks and thought of you both.
    It all sounds exciting and you sound like a couple of kids. Keep it up. Will be tuning in with interest. X

  3. Sue & Chris Says:

    Glad to see you’re looking the part in the ‘Black Coat’.
    Stay warm and smiling
    much love

  4. Jessica, Ian, Barbara & Max! Says:

    Sounds like your having an amazing time. We’re all very jealous, we shall show Babcia what you’ve been up to next time we see her.Keep safe & have a great time!seems like you have met some very interesting characters so far. :o)
    Sending all our love xxx
    hope the febreeze is keeping the smell-o-meter down eddie!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: