Birthday in Russia: Moscow (Part 3)

After a quiet first day and festive but short second day in Moscow, we really balas dendam and walked all around Moscow and visited a few attractions on our third!

Day 6 - 10 May 2016

Had breakfast at the Coffeemania cafe right in front of our hotel, and liked it so much, we returned over the next few days because it was so convenient and comforting. Also because ada this barista who had super cute curly hair and both my husband and I wanted to see her again hahahahaha

Anyway. We started the day by making our way to the Kremlin complex! Observed a guarded memorial ceremony while we were on our way to buy tickets.

Random picture of random cute boy in his little uniform, running and jumping amongst the gorgeous blooming flowers near the memorial. So carefreeeeeeeeeeeeee, we also felt carefree looking at his infectious happiness.

But 20 minutes later, kita dah tak carefree sangat la kan. Sebab we found out again that buying attraction tickets in Russia is tak straightforward langsung HAHAHAHA. Aku pikir menyusahkan aku bila kat St Petersburg aje (remember our Hermitage tickets story???). Kat Moscow nak beli entry tickets pun, dia punya menyusahkan and sakitkan hati, nauzubillah min zalik! Nak pinang Puteri Gunung Ledang lagi senang aku rasa HAHAHAHA

Ya ya ya now I laugh la, but at that point of time I was so frustrated and dejected, I lost hope and almost told Saliheen I didn't want to go into the Kremlim anymore lol

Ok. So. We walked into this glass structure which had ticketing booths inside - we had to figure out if these was the correct ones because (1) there were entrances to another attraction next to the ticketing booths (2) the ticketing booths were a two minutes walk away from the actual Kremlin entrance.

Then lepas kita dah confirm that's the correct ticketing place, we had to figure out which booth to buy from because even though there were wordings at the top of the ticketing booths which, to their credit, were in English, but all of them weren't really clear (their descriptions were not straightforward). We eventually spent 15 minutes trying to decipher which ticket to buy = which ticket booth to approach from a poster next to an entrance which leads to another attraction CONFUSING I KNOW. 

We finally figured out there were 2 booths selling the tickets we wanted to buy; one booth had about 5 or 6 people in line and the other booth had 3 people in line. Naturally, I went to the booth with the shorter queue. Makes sense, right? After about 10 million questions from the 3 people in front of me (maybe if their directions/instructions weren't so susah to paham, they wouldn't get that many queries...) I was relieved that it was finally my turn............................................. except it wasn't.

Because the minute I stepped to the front of the counter, the staff slammed down the shutter and left. 

*crickets sound*

I was stunned because... ummmmm, rude much????? I wouldn't have minded so much if she looked at me, gestured that she wanted to close the counter and apologetically waved me to the other booth. I mean, it happens la, maybe she needed to be somewhere else and memang it was just my luck for choosing to line up at her booth. But no. The customer in front of me walked away with his tickets, I stepped to the front, and the staff just banged the shutter down in my face. The other customers behind me and I were flustered for awhile then everyone started to rush to the next available booth. 

I stepped aside to discuss with Saliheen if we still wanted to queue for the tickets, we decided we didn't want to leave Moscow without stepping foot into the Kremlin so we went back to the ticket booth that was still operating (with a longer queue) and resumed queuing. 30 minutes later, with two more customers in front of us, I made a silent prayer for the counter to remain open and for the staff to not bang down the shutter in our faces... again! But ternyata I should've also prayed for something else lolol because this happened: 

A middle-aged woman started hovering next to me and I wasn't so bothered la - maybe my head was blocking her line of sight or something, or maybe the counter staff was her relative or what, aku tak tau la, aku tak syak wasangka apa apa pun. Then she inched in front of me, squinting like she was really trying to figure out the information on the ticket price board, and right after the customer in front of us left the booth with tickets, this betina called out to her friend in Russian who appeared in a flash, brushed past me macam aku ni habuk, stepped up to the booth, took out her purse and started asking the counter staff for tickets!!!!!

Saliheen and I stood there, right behind them, with our eyes wide open, mouths gaping in bewilderment. Wow! Sedap nya cut queue! Mintak kena bakar ke tickets kau tu???

Unfortunately, we were on foreign land where English isn't the first language and their law enforcement/attraction officials isn't known to be kind or fair to non-locals, so I knew I couldn't protest or scold these women like I would have done here in Singapore. To be honest, I would have let it slide and shrugged it off as just a classic example of aunties cutting queue because they have self-entitled privilege, but after that first shocker of having shutters rudely slammed in my face, and now having locals pretending they just wanted to look at the price board and then blatantly cutting our queue after 30, 40 minutes of orderly waiting in line for tickets... aku seriously macam nak meletup with frustration. 

Abeh betul betul kita dah kat depan, the booth sebelah (where the staff left me standing there macam tongong) opened its counter again and started selling tickets. Thanks. Asal tak lepaskan waktu Maghrib je. 

Hahahaha bingit eh, bingit eh. And ok, before you question why we didn't buy tickets online beforehand, it's because I assumed the Kremlin is just a huge square which you can walk in without any fees whatsoever, and then you can purchase tickets to masuk each individual cathedral/church/building. Which is the case for Red Square la, but apparently not for Kremlin. Pfffffttttt. You need a ticket to masuk into the Kremlin complex itself then just keluar masuk the cathedrals and buildings within it without any additional fees. 

After purchasing our tickets, we went through two other security checks and entrances before finally stepping foot into the Kremlin complex.

There are a few attractions within the Kremlin complex; Kremlin Palace, Ivan Great Bell Tower, Church of the Twelve Apostles, Dormition Cathedral, Cathedral of the Annunciation, Cathedral of the Archangel, amongst others. Very pretty! Walked around for awhile, then left the complex to have lunch at the Red Square area. Had to do a huuuuuge walking detour, which I suspect contributed to my health condition later that night. Lolol.

Visited the St Basil's Cathedral again after lunch! This time dah takde barriers and metal structures and we could freely walk around the square sebab the parade organizers dah dismantle and bring down the stuff for the Victory Day parade. But sayang we didn't get to masuk Lenin's Mausoleum to tengok the preserved body of Lenin because it was closed when we were there because of the Victory Day celebrations :( I comforted myself by telling myself it's just a mayat, it's just mayat, but it's not just a mayat, it's mayat of someone who was revolutionary and influential in his time, IT'S JUST A MAYAT DIA DAH MATI SO DIA MAYAT.

What to do. Takde rezeki. Tak dapat tengok mayat, kita pergi tengok souveniers pulak kat GUM LOLOL. Discovered a nice indoor departmental store where we could buy souveniers for our family, friends and colleagues. Also bought beluga caviar for ourselves because when in Russia, WHY NOT #FANCYAF 

Lepas jalan jalan, we took a train down to a cool vaping space called Babylon Vape, but no pictures of the actual space because we were too engrossed with the whole experience. Haha. Really wish we took some pictures though, because that space was dope af. Extra smoky because it's a super small intimate space, and had very intimidating edgy vibes. Henley Vape (the one we went to in NYC) had a more chill but welcoming community vibe and wasn't as smoky because it was 5 times bigger in terms of space whereas Vaping Ape (the one we went to in Tokyo) felt more mellow and familiar, and had a strong kedai kawan feel. It's been very interesting to experience different vape spaces and communities in other countries! If vaping ever becomes acceptable and legal locally, our local spaces would probably feel just like lepak bawah block hahahaha

Ventured out to Fallen Monument Park next! Also known as Graveyard of Fallen Monuments haha.

Saliheen was so tickled when we walked past this structure and I exclaimed "Eh kepala batu!" Lolol

Pretty cool to see all the different statue heads and monuments scattered around in a park, instead of inside glass boxes in a museum. Started feeling exhausted and almost ill when we reached the end of the park and I was really lemah already at that point, and we would have taken some time and effort to figure out our way back. So kita nekad to try and take an Uber back!

We were apprehensive at first because of Russia's notorious taxi/private car street pick-up reputation (mostly from negative online reviews though) and the language barrier but we decided to cuba nasib because #yolo. Nasib baik we were picked up by a young driver who understood simple English. Actually it didn't really matter since he can just ikut GPS + our location was a known location (St Regis Moscow), but it was comforting to speak to him and know that he knew exactly where we were heading and how to get there. The whole ride was smooth and uneventful and the trip cost us 220 rubles (SGD4.50) can you believe it????? For a 15 minutes ride! 

Arrived at our hotel safely, had our dinner and then went down to the hotel's luxurious-looking swimming pool for a late night backstroke to celebrate my birthday at the stroke of midnight :D

Happy 29th birthday to me! Patut la malam tu jugak jatuh sakit, nak membesar rupa nya. 

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