Eurovision twothousandnine (Oh those Russians)
Trip Start Apr 14, 2009
22Trip End Aug 06, 2009
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First things first, we arrived in Moscow on the day of Eurovision first semi final, so we set about getting our tickets. We walked to Olympsky Stadium and tried to find some form of ticket window which seemed to be non-existant after walking around for 1 hour and asking about 8 Russian security guys. At one stage they sent us to the accreditation area and had our passports and bags scanned, but due to the MASSIVE language barrier, we went along with it. Finally we found the 'Bilyet Naya Kassa' and with a great sigh of relief, we were in posession of our tickets.
Back to our dodge hostel for a rest and then dinner, we set off with great excitement once again to the stadium, anticipatin the famous words "HELLO EUROPE"
It was awesome. The dag, the TERRIBLE warm-up act, the lights, the hair, and everything that Eurovision is.
Lowlights included: Belgium - A guy dressed as Elvis convinced he was the real King and that Elvis was a fat, dead, copycat.
Czech Republic - gypsies led by weird dude in a red cape.
Finland - bringing out their own Vanilla Ice.....and making it through to the final??
The Hosting - A model constantly showing her discomfort around her old co-host trying to get too close.
We thought the winners of the night were Iceland and Turkey and the two poms that sat next to us. Possibly the only other people that spoke English.
We had a blast and were just hanging out to see the other half of acts in two days.
The next day we braved the crazy Moscow traffic and walked through town on a wet and miserable day. Passed a heap of old monuments and cars trying to mow us down before we made it to the famous and totally awesome Red Square. As many times as we see it on TV it couldn't prepare us for the breathtaking feeling we received as we walked in. We ventured from the north end with St. Basil's Cathedral waiting for us at the opposite side. An amazing walk.
Our reasons for liking this place took a severe tangent but quite a happy one, when we noticed Julia Zamero complete with film crew in tow
That afternoon met a bunch of people in our hostel to drink with and venture out into the Moscow night with. Most from England, one Kiwi. Great to meet some more top folk on our travels.
The next day, tired as anything, we did bugger all until the Eurovision semi final that evening. More fun for all! This show's great/shocking moments included:
Ukraine's half naked dancers and sequened women assuring us she was our "Anti-Crisis Girl"??
Latvia dishing up a dog's breakfast of a noise fest in their 3 minutes
The crowd going ballistic at Norway's performance...it was a clear favourite from the beginning
More mediocre hosting.
An even worse warm-up act.
And another great night of entertainment. Now we just had to find somewhere to see the final.
Friday was wet and cold again which made for more miserable attempts at sightseeing. Walked around hoping to see nice parks etc. but just met rude people and couldn't make the most of our time. Found a nice souvenir street and ate at what we think is the world's largest McDonald's.
Saturday we woke ourselves early to visit the Kremlin and enjoy our last full day of Moscow, only to be nothing but frustrated by the town and its people. We'd had enough by today, and learnt our strongest lesson about this culture. When capitalism became the way of life near on 20 years ago, it seems to have been taken waaaay too literally. In Australian capitalism we work for our money and pay our own way. But here in Moscow that ideology is taken to the extreme. People want what they want and have no aspect of empathy, sharing or basic courtesy. It seems sharing disappeared with communism. The number of times we waited in a queue only to be pushed in on, the observations of their driving...it is just a different mindset
So back at the hostel we started on a cheap bottle of Russian vodka left to us by our Kiwi friend, and walked in search of a venue to watch the final. Red Square was unfortunately closed off due to threat of a protest march that day. So where else to go?? We found a restaurant, made sure they were staying open until the 2am-ish completion of the show, and foolishly ordered more vodka! We had a great time even if nobody else in the venue watched the show with us.
As you know Norway totally destroyed the others with more points than have ever been given. To our surprise United Kingdom for once did not place bottom 3, and came 4th behind Iceland and Azerbaijan. Chris absolutely staggered on the way home and we woke up slowly the next morning, but we left Moscow after loving and being frustrated with our time there. A thrilling week.
After a night's rest in Vienna we safely arrived in the Czech Republic and are enjoying amazing Kosňar family hospitality. Details soon!