October 26

In Moscow

My last day. Woke up to some of Olga's pancakes as she was getting ready for work. Ate breakfast alone for the first time since arriving; Anton had gone off to a friend's place and Olga had to take care of some things before leaving. At about noon, Mitya came and we walked to the nearby Melodiya store on Leninsky Prospect. I bought 11 Russian classical CDs for 44000 rubles, about $36. Then we walked to Oktyabrskaya Square (?) looking for a fashion magazine with little success.

We walked into a store selling obscenely priced and rather ugly artwork. 450,000 rubles for an unremarkable picture of a stream in a forest. Mitya said many of the pictures have remained in that store, unsold, for the past few years at least. It's easy to see why. Also present in the store were a bunch of souvenir items, priced higher than their equivalents in kiosks and street-undercrossing marketplaces. I figured it must be a state store, since it seems unbelievable to me that such a place could remain in business if it had to turn a profit.

It had started to snow lightly and the wind had picked up a bit, but we walked through an outdoor art marketplace (cheaper and better artwork than at the store) and to a building of the Tretyakov Gallery, where we saw an exhibit of officially sanctioned Soviet art of the past 75 years. No pictures of Lenin there, oddly. They must have all been snatched by the Lenin Museum, which had a gallery's worth of Lenin portraits.

Then we walked home via a side street (Leninsky Prospect is noisy and crowded) and I read for a while. Sasha (Jr.) took me downstairs and we had a larger- than-usual dinner with kotlieti, a thick-crusted quiche, rice, and some vegetables. Not too long after I returned upstairs, Olga got home with a new copy of the DOS front-end she uses, which I installed and attempted to configure with only limited success. Well, I warned her I wasn't an expert on PCs! But she can edit files again.

The whole family had farewell tea with some chocolate and some berry-filled angel-food cake. I took a couple pictures and went upstairs to finish gathering my things and to go to bed early. With the alarm set for 4:00, I didn't think it necessary to take a sleeping pill.

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