Tag Archives: kremlin

Nightmare at the Mausoleum

Everybody likes looking at dead bodies – it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. Sure, you wouldn’t want to see a rotting corpse climbing out of a grave while you’re walking home late at night, or catch one rooting your missus, but it’s usually a lot of fun to have a squiz at someone who isn’t quite as alive as they used to be. Naturally, when I was in Moscow I took the chance to check out one of the world’s most famous (and best-preserved) dead dudes.

I was swaggering through Red Square, watching the bear fights and swigging from a two-litre bottle of vodka when a little bloke in a funny hat came over and gave me a toothless smile. “привет,” he said in an accent as thick as a bowl of borscht. “Do you know famous man Mr Lenin? His body just over there! You can see him!” I love The Beatles and John was always my favourite member of the so-called Cute Quartet, so I joined the line the like the fella pointed me towards and prepared to meet the remains of my hero.

“I want to hold your hand,” I sang to a chubby bloke wearing a furry cap, and instead of joining in with my impromptu Beatles tribute, he spat on the ground and called me a, “гомосексуальный.” Dunno what that means, but it didn’t sound like he was complimenting me on my outfit. “Let it be,” I whispered, but that didn’t calm him down. Thankfully the line started moving and the angry fella left me alone, and soon I made it to the security gates, which were manned by a group of angry individuals with machine guns.

“I’ll have a ticket to ride,” I crooned to one of the guards, and he responded by pushing me up against a wall and roughly patting me down. Honestly, the Russians just don’t understand that The Beatles are all about love and peace. After I was deemed to be of no risk to the Federation, I was pushed through the gate and started winding my way around the Kremlin, towards a big, square, pyramid-like mausoleum. I don’t remember John Lennon being an Egyptian, but that motherfucker was on so many drugs that he wouldn’t have known if he was an octopus.

The line moved quickly and I soon stepped into the gloomy mausoleum. I expected to find hippies dancing around and flowers everywhere, but instead there was just some grim-faced guards with big, shooty weapons. “Hey Jude,” I warbled, “where’s -” I was cut off by the guard telling me to shut the fuck up (or the Russian equivalent) and pointing me foward. I didn’t want to get shot to death (although that would be somewhat appropriate), and so just gave him a weak smile and walked on towards the cadaver.

Only it wasn’t John Lennon, it was some other dickhead. He was lying in a big perspex box in the middle of the dark room, and I spent about 20 seconds walking around him before I was ushered back into the drizzly afternoon. To be honest, it looked more like a wax figure than an actual preserved body, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they just grabbed a mannequin from one of the local shops and tossed it in there. I mean, it’s not like anyone gets much of a chance to look at it. And that was it – a whole lot of warm up for a few seconds of action (much like my sex life).

I was confused about what I’d seen inside the mausoleum, and started ranting and raving about the switch-a-roo. A skinny dude wearing a Garfield jumper came over and explained that the crypt contained the body of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, not pop singer John Lennon. Vlad was a bit of a knob and led Russia towards decades of communism, which left the people wallowing in poverty and misery. He was obviously pretty bloody up himself, too, because he wanted his body preserved for people to weep over after he carked it.

All in all, Lenin’s Mausoleum is worth checking out if you’re in town. It doesn’t cost anything, won’t take up much time, and the body is probably made out of plastic, so there’s little chance of it coming alive and chomping your brains out. And I’m not too upset about not seeing the preserved corpse of John Lennon, because tomorrow I’ll be checking out the remains of Ringo Starr-lin!

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It’s Hip to be Red Square

I might spend my days sleeping until 3pm and watching old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons in my undies, but my girlfriend is a valuable member of society and has a big-person job to go to, so today I was left to explore Moscow on my own. Not wanting to be a typical tourist, I headed for the one place that certainly wouldn’t be crawling with Chinese dudes clutching selfie sticks; the Kremlin.

See what I did there? I made a joke, so at least give me a pitty laugh. The Kremlin is packed with more Chinamen than a small penis competition Jackie Chan book signing, but despite that it’s still an incredible site to behold. Red Square is massive, and the cathedral thingy at the end (I don’t know what it’s called, look up a proper travel blog if you’re interested) is absolutely beautiful. The majority of Moscow might consist of Soviet-era apartment blocks, but the historic centre is glorious.

Hey, and unlike the Chinese, I didn’t stand around taking a billion selfies.

Before coming to Moscow, I definitely thought it would be a drab and dishevelled place to visit, with a homeless person in every gutter and the threat of a head-kicking around every corner, but it’s far nicer than that. It’s similar to places like Riga and Warsaw, of course (it’s basically within walking distance) and is a modern city that’s safe and easy to navigate. It’s also now almost completely free of the bubonic plague.

After sauntering away from the Red Square and into the nearby neighbourhood of Balchug, I found an incredibly strange park full of the wackiest statues this side of a malaria-fuelled fever dream. The most interesting statue in Bolotnaya Square Park is titled Children – Victims of Adult Voices and features an evil robot, a frogman, a big fat dude on a barrel, a drug-dispensing doctor, a dancing pig, a sexed-up granny, and several other intensely strange creatures. I think most artworks are as worthwhile as the sticky stuff in a teenager’s sock, but this one really spoke to me and was totally awesome. Three thumbs up.

By that point I was feeling tired and in desperate need of a drink, so I was stoked to see a train not far away, and gleefully climbed aboard. Alright, it seemed a bit old-fashioned, and the fact it had a slippery dip jutting out the front raised alarm bells, but I assumed the communists do things a bit differently and settled in for the ride back to the suburbs. Sadly, it turned out to be a kiddie ride, and I was soon chased out of the park by a group of angry locals who must’ve assumed I was a sex pest or something.

I was swaggering back past the kremlin on my way to the real train station when a long, shiny limousine pulled up next to me and bunch of burly blokes in black suits climbed out. I thought they might be the Men in Black and had a look around for that Willie Smith fella, and while I was doing that a wiry bloke with piercing blue eyes got out, looking me up and down. The dudes in the black suits reached for their guns as I approached the wiry fella, but he told them to relax.

“G’day brother, I’m from Australia, how are ya?” I asked, sticking out my hand.
“I am doing very well,” the main man said in a thick Russian accent, before shaking my hand with a grip that could crush a doorknob. “My name is Vladimir.”
“Oh, you’re Vladimir Kozlov, the former WWE wrestler!”
“No.”
“Dominican baseball legend Vladimir Guerrero?”
“No.”
“Long-dead concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz?”
“No.”
Everybody Loves Raymond star Vlad Garrett?”
“No, no, no!”
“Yeah, figures,” I replied, walking off into the icy evening. “I never meet anyone famous!”

BEER OF THE DAY: 387 OSOBAYA VARKA

Legend has it that this creamy lager is named after the number consumed by the average Russian every week. I only had one, but amongst the sea of other brews, it was the best, and perfect for colder climates. Like the perfect woman, it’s comforting, not too thick, and goes down easily. It’s a bit like dipping a Caramello Koala in your beer and theen drinking it, only it’s not as disgusting as that would be.