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Late June - July 2001
July, as usually happens in Moscow, brought heavy heat and merciless sunshine. Nice weather for vacations, a bit tough one for those who have to stay in the city and go to work every day.
This year July is even more fierce than one could expect. Beaches (a very few of them exist in Moscow) were packed on the weekends - look at the photos on the left! Below I show a graph for quantitative illustration of what means hot by Moscow standards. The picture compares average daily temperatures observed this month in two different locations in Moscow (blue and red lines) and the daily temperatures averaged over the years (black curve at the bottom of the graph). Temperatures are shown in Centigrade, and please remember that 30 C means 86 C. When daily average is close to this value, in the daytime the temperature is around 100 F, and night's low of 75 F also is not very refreshing.
As always in my stories here, you can zoom in on any picture. Just click on an image and a larger and better quality photo will open. Many of the photos are worth looking at in postcard size.
So it has been a sunny and hot month since my last posting here. It was some fun, too - and here are the photos that prove it! Once again, 40+ views of Moscow in the summer of 2001. Enjoy!
I finished my previous story here by a few pictures taken at the opening of the festival of street theaters in Moscow. Later the event became even more spectacular. Street theaters occupied few squares in the downtown Moscow and the entire Hermitage Garden. In the evenings, hundreds of lights (big candles in the flower-pots) illuminated the garden, strange and wonderful persons filled the area, and everyone was invited to join a carnival.
On the stages, on the lawns, and even on the walls all sorts of performances were occurring. The best teams from all over the world demonstrated dances, installations, plays - or a music were paint buckets serve as drums.
Live music, happy faces, and lots of kids added to the general air of joy and relaxation that any carnival brings in a busy city.
Moscow hippies (yes, they still existů) and important office managers were all looking alike these few evenings in the Hermitage Garden. This is the wonderful - maybe the most valuable - effect of a carnival, it makes all of us who join the festivities equal.
Colorful ethnic dancers and emotional gipsy singers, bright fireworks and endless tam-tam rhythms from all corners of the park - all that was making a usually quiet part of Moscow very attractive and refreshing place.
Finally, the festival was over. A weird Ship of Fools was built by clowns from all over the world on Moskva river, and on the last day of the Festival it departed and took some of the joy away... However, all the real Moscow fools stayed home. Real fools, unlike their images created by clowns, are not much fun for the people around.
Both performers and Muscovites who attended the Festival of street theaters were lucky - the days were not too hot at that time, and the water of lakes and ponds outside of the city was not calling loudly. Most of July weekends definitely were not good for street events, the streets became too hot for staying there in the biting sun. The dachas became the target of all Friday evening and Saturday morning traffic in Moscow.
But summer brings one event after another. When Theater Olympics was over, the time has come for Exotic Auto show on Tushino airfield.
Auto show means lots of bright cars - some of them are old, others, brand new - but each is special. People who make and drive exotic cars are slightly exotic themselves, and that also makes the auto show resembling the clowns' festival.
Artists who paint cars sometimes obviously cannot stop and keep looking for other objects to lay some paint on. Examples of body art available at the show somehow illustrated similarities between good cars and good girls.
Of course, Moscow has some options or those who prefer places more quiet than airfield shows. Small and cozy monastery yards and museums offer shadows and cool walls amidst overheated city.
Spaso-Andronnikov Monastery sitting on a high bank of Yauza river (largest tributary of Moskva that runs through the city) is a small territory combining museum expositions (one the best in Russia collection of genuine icons) and actual churvhes. A few benches in the shadows of old trees offer some rest - one can feel like inside a time machine - the pace, the looks and the smells are the same as centuries ago. New bells shine with hot sun reflections - like once the old, now black, bells were shining...
The walls of Donskoy Monastery - or of any other one - are also thick, impressive and cool. Jump into this pool of quietness after the rush of weekend shopping or crowds at a show - feel the diversity of Moscow.
...We are getting closer to the end of the story and now again is the time to show assorted pictures not necessarily united by an event or an idea. Glimpses of the city in its everyday life... Well organized groups of tourists looking at the decorations of Moscow Metro stations - though even a deep underground stations are hot in this weather - and even better organized groups of Communists demonstrating their helpless rage in front of State Duma, Russian Parliament. Red flags of the Commies look funny with red SALE signs in the windows of luxury shops in the background. These old communists were taught all their life to obey the Party and the State - and now when the State is not representing their beloved Party anymore, they are at a loss and cannot even protest powerfully. WE'll have to wait until the new generation of protesters grows up to see impressive rallies - like the ones lead by anarchists in Western Europe.
The hotter is the day, the more attractive a beach and the water look. On a weekend we all try to get away - as far as we can - from the heated urban buildings, from huge anthills of our apartment blocks.
When Moscow melts down in the furnace of July, we all dream of the weekend adventures in the outdoor. But then the weekend comes, and it turns out that mere idea of going to a beach or to a forest looks suspicious. Hot asphalt or hot metro on the way there and back are not attractive. And all of a sudden an apartment with a computer adding to its temperature looks even better then escaping into the woods. And I am sitting in these 90 F and type this story so that you can read it on Monday...
...And swimming in the lake will wait until the next Sunday...
Andrey - firstname.lastname@example.org
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