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Moscow, Day 2

It is taking longer than I thought it would to find my way around. But here's proof I've made progress- I cropped and rotated this using Photoshop in Russian.

I am in no mood to come up with a better title.  I’m trying to not take out my frustration with myself on Moscow.  As much as I like feeling clever and being right about stuff, I really really hate feeling stupid and being wrong.  I am not even sure what I was wrong about today but I did something wrong.

The day was not a wash.  I had a very pleasant early meal with my friend and some of his friends.  One of them spoke English so I was able to keep up as much as I wanted to, which was not very much since I am still a little dazed by the fact that I am in Russia.

If you are looking for any hockey information in this post, you can go away now.  There won’t be any, which is part of why I feel stupid today.  It is also why I feel so cranky I can hardly remember the happy pleasant thoughts I had about being here, earlier in the day.  Maybe I will remember  more tomorrow.

After said meal and a long stroll through a market and a visit to a monastery, I thought I really should be getting back to the flat to make sure the game starts when I think it starts.  So at 4pm we headed back, we got to the apartment at 5:15pm, which is when I discovered that the game started at 5pm.  Panic, hands shaking, how can I miss this game?  The JAGR game?  I can’t, it can’t be happening…

My friend offered to drive me.  He dropped me off where I thought the game would be.  I thought it would be at the Megasport arena.  It was not.  Why I thought that, I don’t know anymore.  Maybe it was a wikipedia error.  Now the KHL site says that the Dynamo Moscow team plays at MSA Luzhniki, which is one of the places someone mentioned while I wandered all over the Megasport arena neighboorhood.  That is a name I have never seen before, which makes me think the KHL site maybe didn’t say that until fairly recently.  I could be wrong.  Anyway, by then it was 6:30, and according to that helpful young woman I simply could not get there in time to catch any of the game.

Hoping she was wrong, I continued to ask people where the hockey arena was, showed them the ticket.  One man very confidently gave me very specific directions in English… to the soccer stadium.  Damn soccer again?

The Muscovites I met were all very kind.  But they sure ain’t hockey fans.  Oh well, I guess I got that much about hockey in Russia today.  A poor return for the money and effort but it was something.

By 7 or so I realized I was also pretty much lost.  Even if I could reach my friend on his cell phone I would not be able to tell him where I was.  I figured I might as well keep looking for the game until it was over.  I asked several more people, random pedestrians, a security guard at the metro.  I was sent running back and forth underneath Leningradsky Prospect.  Everyone I talked to said it was on the other side, no matter what side I was on.  By the time I was told to go back under that massive boulevard a fourth time, I had given up on finding the game, or even the last few seconds of it.

Since I did find a metro station, I made it back to the flat.  Along the way I saw some packs of well-fed stray dogs, apparently a plague on the city right now.  Only one pack of suspicious looking young men.  No pack paid me any mind.  While people looked a little miffed when I asked if they spoke English and they didn’t, a few words, a very few, like “please,” or the name of the metro station I needed to go to, these things would at least get pointing directions.

I should have had the ticket with me from the time I left for breakfast.  I should have gone to the arena yesterday and verified that it was there and that there would be a game there.  Being groggy exhausted and doped with cold meds, I still should have gone.  Once I discovered that was the wrong place, I could have made arrangements to spend today finding the damn place.  Oh well.  Jagr lost anyway.

I won’t swear that I didn’t have to tell myself I would go find another Avangard game within travel distance between Oct 1 and Oct 3.  I did of course tell myself that, that I would have a few days in St. Petersburg to go find one… somewhere.  Turns out Omsk heads home by way of a team named Sibir tomorrow.  Hm, so someplace named “Siberia” or Omsk, which I know for a fact is in Siberia.  Hm.  And all the trains take more than 24 hours, closer to 48, to travel to Omsk.  Wow.

So when I thought that I would rather not try to get to Omsk, that was me being right.  It is one hell of a long ways away.  I’ll just try to bear this heavy sad feeling that is slowly replacing the sickly sinus infection feeling.  And yes, I did look into flights. Just now. It can be done, but it is only done via local airlines that use planes that Aeroflot retired years ago.

It may be time to admit that I missed Jagr again.  By like a gazillion miles, or a metro stop. Decades, miles, what’s the difference.  I will be grateful that my fanaticism got me to Russia even if the fananticism remains unsatisfied and unabated.  This puts a lot of pressure on Nabby, since I refuse to burden 45 year old twice retired Hasek with it.  If I manage to find any of Nabby’s games I expect one hell of a performance.

I am an idiot.  But I am not a stupid idiot.  I will do nothing tomorrow before I find the arena where CSKA and SKA will play and talk to someone there to verify that there will be a game there at exactly the time it is supposed to be there.  And then I will talk to a few more people, I may even enlist my friend to talk to the ones that can’t speak English. Unless of course I decide I need to be at Sibir’s home ice Monday instead.

But I just can’t go to Siberia. I really did, just now, investigate it at some length. The flight to Omsk takes 6 hours, if you leave from Moscow. And there are only 3 flights a day, which makes it tight to squeeze in a game, even if it does start at 2pm, and still get back to the Omsk airport for the last flight west at 5:55pm, so I can be back in time for the SKA-Hurricanes game on the 4th.

Really it is very very tight, even if I were willing to climb of my own free will into one of Aeroflot’s retired clunkers being used by Transaero or whatever that intrepid airline is called. It seems very far fetched. I will go a long ways to make up for a mistake but this might be beyond even me.

So, maybe after finding Nabby’s Moscow venue and interogating everyone I see there, I will check out Red Square.  But only after that.

PS: I have taken some random pics, and this computer has Photoshop on it but I can’t find “crop” in Russian.  They aren’t great pics anyway so no great loss.

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