Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pick Pocketed on the metro!

One hundred and forty missionaries arrived at the Central Building today in the heart of Moscow for our first ever all-new mission meeting. Many took the metro while others in the outlying areas came in by train. One of our senior missionaries, Elder H. was pick-pocketed on the way to the meeting while riding the metro. (I didn't say it was us that had our pockets picked). You have to be SO careful. He is not the first this has happened to and sadly will most likely not be the last. Fortunately, we all have been counseled not to carry large amounts of cash on our person (which he was not), but it is still very inconvenient.) Riding the metro at rush hour is a nightmare! Today was the first time I have been on the metro when I didn't have anything to hold onto. I can't reach the bar overhead, and there were too many people around. I stood behind Elder Sutton and held onto his belt. While I have been told it can get even cozier, I felt like a sardine in a can. We stood up for a good 40 minutes before we got off. The metro is an interesting way to travel though and is remarkable in its own right when you think about the fact that 9 MILLION people ride the metro in Moscow area every day. Isn't that amazing? (I think there were about a million on our metro alone this morning.) OK, slight exagerration there. If you miss the train, no worries, another one comes along within a couple of minutes. It is a very effective way to travel. And very fast. You never know what you are going to come across as you ride the metro. It is not uncommon for people to take advantage of a captive audience and play their instruments or break into song as they walk along (obviously when it is not as crowded). they have a little bucket for people to put money in if they want to. Sometimes it is a crippled person that looks for handouts. They get off the train and climb on the next one and earn a few rubles this way. The metro station is VAST and since I am so directionally challenged, I get turned around very easily which is why I will never go to the metro alone. I may know to take the purple line for 7 stops and switch to the green for 2 but in the metro itself finding my way around is not something that is likely to happen in my lifetime, let alone in the 15 remaining months here in Moscow. Also, the escalators are the longest I have ever seen. Some (but not all)of them are many stories high. You see all kinds of things on the escalators. People reading the newspaper, chatting with their neighbor, kissing, combing their hair. I like to get the little one's attention and wave to them and see how many respond as they go up (or down) and I am going in the other direction. The ornamentation on the walls and the ceilings are very ornate and beautiful. There are beautiful sculptures in the metro as well of soldiers, dogs, different things. The millions of people who pass through seem oblivious to the beauty around them. Sometimes we feel like cattle being herded along. It can get very crowded! These metro stations were built to be used as bomb shelters during war time which is one reason why they are so deep under the ground. They never had to be used as bomb shelters though. There is so much more to post, but will wait until another day to tell you about the momentous meeting that took place today and my trip to the Wooden Palace last week. We continue to work hard but are having such an incredible experience! Until later, dosvidonya.

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