Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Our Moscow Bureau

It's been quite a while since I last sent an email out. But as the weather has been getting nicer, I haven't had time to write as I've been out and about. I'm still going out and doing the touristy things, but I'm also getting into a groove/rut which is making me a bit lazy. You know the drill wake up, go to work, come home, watch old "Bay Watch" re-runs, go to bed.

I think the coolest thing I've done in the past month was go to visit the Cold War Museum. Picture this… The year is 1945. The USA has just bombed Hiroshima. Stalin, out of fear that the USA might one day bomb Moscow, builds a huge underground bunker 18 stories below street level. No one knows that it exists except the small group of men and women that work there. They have been sworn to secrecy (and probably threatened with their life). The underground bunker is a fully functional Nuclear Shelter that was meant to protect a small group of survivors (mostly Government officials) for months after a Nuclear War. In the early 1990's after the collapse of the USSR, the government came in and dismantled most of the valuable items out of the bunker (computers, electronics, etc...). The bunker was left vacant until last year when an independent company came in and bought the bunker and refurbished it for tours. While not all of the bunker is accessible and a lot of it is still being refurbished, you still get a pretty creepy feeling of what life would be like living 18 stories underground.

The best part of the tour was the Russian propaganda films that they show you. Lots of valuable information is given in the film that I never knew about (or will ever believe). For instance… Did you know that the USA bombed Japan for no reason!? According to the film, Japan had done nothing to provoke a nuclear attack. Also, did you know that Churchill single handedly started the Cold War? I don't remember seeing him at any ribbon cutting, but according to the film he was the one that started it all. The film was loaded with crazy information (it's no wonder the Russians hated us for so long). As I am prone to embellish any good story, I invite you to check out the website

It's summer time and that means three things.

Longer days. I've had to put aluminum foil up on my bedroom windows so I can sleep. The sun goes down around midnight and comes back up again around 4:30am.

Warmer days. Everyone is hanging up their winter gear. The girls here wear "Business Shorts" to the office. I'm not sure if it means that they are for "Business", or if they are wearing them to show off their "Business". Either way, I'm not complaining!

Block-Buster Summer Movies! While I can go to my local flea market and get just about any pirated movie I want, some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen. This summer the movie that I was dying to see was the new "Indiana Jones". I had to wait a few weeks, but I finally found a movie theater on the other side of town that was showing the film in English. I gathered up a few of my closest English speaking friends and we headed to the theater. When we arrived we were informed that the film was dubbed over in Russian, but we could listen to the film in English on headphones for an additional $5. Most of us paid the money and prepared to be awed by Harrison Ford. Instead we were let down. Not by the movie, but by the worst voice over's I've ever heard in my life. Some guy read the film to us in English via our ear phones. His English was horrible! He also read all the parts (even the girl parts). You could hear the pages turning (which I thought was pretty funny). But the most aggravating thing was when there was a heated dialogue among several actors, our translator would lock up and only say the last sentence of a conversation.

Needless to say, I hope that Harrison Ford makes a 5th installment so that I can watch it in English back in the States. What would they call it?… "Indiana Jones and the Crusty Skull"

~The Moscow Correspondent

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