Sunday, October 14, 2007

First Snow of Winter

The first snow fell and stuck to the ground today. On one hand, it was really pretty, on the other a reminder that I live in a country that has 6+ months of winter. Oh well, it was a gorgeous summer...

Edit: [Monday] It hasn't stopped snowing since. This is going to be a long winter.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Career?

For those of you in Moscow, pick up an October edition of the magazine "Sex and the City" (basically a Russian version of Cosmo), where you can see me launching my new modeling/acting career on p166-167.

On second thoughts, maybe I'd better stick to finance.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


After years of promising, I finally joined my great friend Bernd, who lives in Munich and is one of the most fanatically German people I know, to celebrate Oktoberfest with him. Armed only with a pair of lederhosen and the knowledge we would drink a lot of beer, I set off with Bernd early Saturday morning to the Munich fairground to see what the fuss was all about.

It was quickly apparent that about a billion people were bent on the same course. Thousands of people squished together into seething beer halls to drink, sing, and sway to drunken german Oompah music and strange incarnations of "YMCA" (email me for the video- it's terrifying). Those who couldn't make it into the tents (barred by large teutonic feis kontrollers) were left to mill around the fairgrounds or throw up wherever they please.

Back inside, the serious business began. After lining our stomachs with Spatzle, Knudel, Wurst, and other heavy Germanic dishes, we began downing litre steins of beer. Our talented fraulein kept them coming as fast as we could drink them, and her abilities to carry up to 12 steins was a source of fascination for the Aussies, who could only wish that our beer wenches back home were as competant!
Lots of eating, singing, and about 5-6 steins each later (not to mention Bernd befriending a rather curious-looking English guy in drag), we staggered back out to what was left of the sunshine, braving surging mobs to make it inside another popular venue. Dave (who happened to be in Oktoberfest coincidentally the same weekend) attempted to show us how to scull a litre stein with much theatrics, while Cam & Bernd managed to talk our way inside to the hallowed upper halls.

Having found a warm haven from which to befriend locals and continue drinking, we stayed there for some time until we failed to convince security that were in fact permitted to be there, and rapidly found ourselves jettisoned into the back alley. Picking ourselves up, we decided that some fairground games to determine the ultimate lederhosen champ were in order (Cam lost, so next time Bernd visits Moscow- get ready to see me hit the nightlife in lederhosen), followed by the crazy idea to do the "Olympic Rings" rollercoaster.

What may seem obvious to the reader occasionally needs to be spelled out. After drinking ~9 litres of beer, doing 5 upside-down loops on a rollercoaster in quick succession is not the best idea on the planet.

After this feat of gastro-intestinal fortitude, we dizzily stumbled our way to the nightclub P1, a fantastic nightclub complex with some of the best pizza we'd tasted all day, and hordes of pretty German girls in their dirndl's (think peasant dress). These, combined with the menfolk in their lederhosen and everyone's dazed expressions from 14 hours of drinking made the place look like the 1606 population of Freising had been abducted and transported to modern-day Munich (only with better deodorant, dentistry, and hair dye).

The night became a little blurry (like some of my photos) shortly thereafter, but somehow I made it back to Bernd's, out of my adopted lederhosen and onto my plane the next day, eventually making it home to Moscow.

The photos are here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

September Musings

OK, so it's October already and I somehow managed to get through all through September without posting. I'm blaming my work/travel/party schedule, but the reality is, without new & exciting photos, I don't tend to write as much.

September kicked off with a bang with an old Aussie mate of mine Adam in town for a weekend. Once again, we learned why taking a camera out at night in Moscow is a really bad (although entertaining) idea.

The following weekend a close college friend of mine was married in Denmark, so I enjoyed a comparatively civilised weekend in Copenhagen which was delightful and once-again rekindled my longstanding love affaire with Scandinavia, although disappointingly managed to not end up swimming in the canals...

The next couple of weeks were a blur of work, as several new deals kept me trapped in the office before I managed to escape for 3 days to NY to renew my Russian visa. Upon arrival, I was told the Russian government wouldn't let me back in the country for a week, keeping me prisoner in NY for a few more days (as you can imagine I was really upset). Apart from the constant work interruptions, the joys of seeing close friends, NY's incredible restaurant scene, and some new clothes to prepare for another Moscow winter kepy me busy.

After another week in Moscow, it was time to head to Munich to meet a close friend of mine for Oktoberfest, but that's the topic of my next post...