One of the things I feared most happened today. Anyone who knows me knows that I am directionally challenged. I refuse to go on the metro by myself. If I attempted it, I would most likely never be seen again. I have been afraid of being on the metro by myself.
When we are in the metro station, which is always bustling w/ thousands of people, I cling to Dave like a piece of velcro. Anyway, today we went to Moscow to attend Zone Conference. On the way back, we approached the "green line". (the metro lines are by color - green, purple, brown, blue and dark blue). Different colors take you different places. The door was open so I got on, but then the door closed and the door actually hit me in the arm. There was a man on the train who saw the door hit me and asked me if I was ok. (there was a look of concern on my face and I'm guessing that is what he was saying).
I was on the inside looking out and Dave was on the outside looking in. (once the door starts to close, that's it). Dave said that I had a look of panic on my face. He said he wished he could have taken a picture. The door shut in front of me and my face was close to the glass and I knew I was headed out w/out him! He made a gesture w/ one finger and I nodded. Luckily, we had a plan. The plan was that if we ever got separated on the metro (which I swore would never happen), the person who went on ahead (in this case me) would get off at the next stop and the one left behind would go ahead and get off at the next stop also. The trains come along every couple of minutes so it wasn't going to be a long wait once I practically jumped off at the stop. I waited only a couple of minutes and there he was. WHEW!
Sometimes it is standing room only when all the seats are taken. Dave said he felt like a sardine in a can. I have seen many acts of kindness of which I have been the recipient when a seat is offered to a woman or an older person. (I am the woman, not the older person - ha ha.)
The metro is an interesting place. We knew that we would be on the metro a couple of times a week for an hour or so. I have never found the metro to be boring. People are so fun to watch. One day I was sitting across from a lady who saw my name tag (in Russian - it says Sister Sutton Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). She was glaring at me. Another time this past week there was a man sitting across from me and he was staring without blinking. It was creepy. Then all of a sudden his head would drop forward and he would stay down for a while. Then, back up he'd pop and the staring would begin again. I decided he was looped.
You see all kinds of things on the metro. Men in business suits, jogging suits, w/ their bikes in tow, moms with strollers, old men and women and young teenagers. All different attire. One day a man came in and got out these lights which he hung from the ceiling and started demonstrating how they worked. He was selling his wares there on the metro. It worked. Sometimes people who want money come through singing or playing instruments w/ a pan held out for you to donate, or the poor will do the same thing sometimes. Then they get off the next stop and get on another train.
There are thousands upon thousands of people who use the metro every day. That truly is no exaggeration. The metro station is massive and very beautiful. There are engravings on the ceilings, some statues around, beautiful pictures and marble walls. It was very elegant at one time and still has a stately grace to it, even though people are going so quickly that they most likely do not see or appreciate the beauty around them.
It is clean. All those people are passing through and it is kept clean by a staff of people hired for that purpose. And the escalators. I've never seen anything like them before. The metro system is deep under ground. They were built to also act as a bomb shelter. The escalators are the longest we have ever seen. They are several stories high.
You see all kinds of things riding the escalators. People kissing, talking on their cell phones, reading the newspaper. They are fun to watch. I love to watch their expressions. I love to catch the eye of a child and wave and watch them smile and wave back.
In the wide wide halls as hundreds of people pass you, there are also interesting things to see. There are beautiful statues to look at. My favorite is a man w/ a dog. Many people who walk by stop to rub the dog's nose. It is for good luck. The nose is getting shiny. You also see stray dogs in there from time to time, which is not a good thing. We were there when a stray (who liked people but not other dogs) went after a dog who was walking with his master.
The metro station is not a place for the faint of heart. There is shoving as people hurry to their next destination. It amazes us as we see these little old ladies or men who are shuffling along, that they don't get knocked over. Dave mentioned that he felt like we were cattle being herded along.
My goal is to never ride the metro alone again.