Friday, October 8, 2010

Turkey Hunting...and some MGU and Sparrow Hills recap

Rhea and I went out turkey hunting this morning.

No, not that kind of turkey:

Armed with purses and shopping bags rather than bows and arrows (or whatever else hunters use to catch turkeys), we ventured out to a different kind of jungle - Ashan, the Costco/Sam's Club "hypermarket" that I blogged about earlier. Ashan is somewhat manageable on weekdays, but Fridays are CRAZY, no matter what time you go, and today was no exception. Although, I guess the "fight of flight" atmosphere inside Ashan - including some elbowing, shoving, butting in line, and muttered curses - did add some authenticity to our turkey-hunting expedition.

We made it out alive, but alas! No turkey! Will I have to resort to roast chicken for tomorrow's Canadian Thanksgiving dinner? I'll keep you posted! I don't know if turkey is just a North American thing, but I am really starting to crave something along the lines of this:

A girl can dream, right? Well, wish me luck...the dinner is tomorrow and I'm hoping to have SOME kind of tasty, golden, delicious bird to feed my guests!

Anyways, to finish up my Sunday update:

After enjoying our Starbucks and people-watching at Arbat, Dima took us to Moscow State University (MGU), up in Sparrow Hills, which is in the southwest corner of the city and is the highest point of altitude (up to 220 m). MGU was founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov, the famous Russian scientist, polymath, and poet. Today, more than 40,000 undergraduates and 7,000 post-graduate students, as well as 5,000 specialists participating in "refresher" courses, call this stunning campus home. MGU is, perhaps not too surprisingly for Russia, very research-intensive with a focus on the sciences and maths. In 2010, it was ranked 93rd by QS World University Rankings (out of interest's sake, I googled the list - Cambridge was first, followed immediately by own alma mater, the University of Western Ontario, didn't make the top 100, although Canada had a good showing: McGill was 19th, U of T was 29th, and UBC was 44th).

1 down, 6 to go: my first picture with one of Stalin's "Seven Sisters"

MGU's main campus is absolutely stunning. I always thought Western's campus was gorgeous, but this was just unreal. I tried to imagine myself as a student here, walking in between the buildings with my books clasped to my chest, but I just couldn't fathom actually casually being like, "Yeah, this is my school."

The building in the photograph above is one of Stalin's "Seven Sisters," seven huge tiered, neo-classical buildings he had commissioned in the post-World War II era. The MGU main campus building is the largest of these sisters, and at the time of its construction, was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City. It truly is huge, with a spire that seems to reach on forever, topped only with a massive star at the top like some kind of Communist-inspired Christmas tree. The central tower is 240 m tall, 36 stories high, and flanked by four huge wings of student and faculty accommodations. It contains a total of 33 kilometers of corridors and 5,000 rooms!

I wish this was my own picture! :) MGU on Christmas, 2009

On both tree-lined avenues leading up to the main building, there are statues of famous Russians - from what I gathered, mostly scientists and "math-letes," although there were a few writers in there as well. This was very exciting for me!! I ran around and let out thrilled little yelps of recognition whenever I saw a statue I knew (in my defense, I'm a history major! Whatever gives you your little kicks, right?)

Here's Mikhail Lomonosov himself, the founder of MGU

With Alexander Herzen, the pro-Western writer and "Father of Russian Socialism." His autobiography is considered one of the best of the genre.

Dmitri Mendeleev, the guy we all have to thank for inventing the periodic table (and for all those hours spent trying to memorize it in high school science...ugh)

Here I am pretending to be one of Pavlov's dogs from his conditioning experiments
(Rhea is too busy laughing at me to play I said, HUGE history nerd!!)

Pondering "What is to be done?", the name of the book Nikolai Chernyshevsky is famous for writing (revolutionary democrat and philosopher)

Ok, enough with the lame, cheesy historical poses! My favourite picture of the day was one of Rhea, Dima, Polly and I at the top of Sparrow Hills, overlooking the city of Moscow:

It was a VERY fun day and I am super grateful to Dima for showing us new parts of Moscow. I can't wait to keep exploring this city!

Now off to tackle more Thanksgiving cooking preparation! Hope all you Canadians out there have a fabulous long weekend full of family, friends and food! :)


  1. Those world rankings you referred to actually mean nothing. Was in a meeting with Paul Davenport last week where we talked about this. The president of UoT even went so far as to pretty much dismiss the rankings as completely irrelevant and not worth the time in an interview after they were posted. As a little side fact Paul Davenport received an honorary degree from MGU in 2002.

  2. Hi, im a long time follower first time commenter :P Wow that campus looks amazing, how'd you know so many facts about the university? its almost like you had a tour guide with u. ahh if only pavlov had figured out a way to control ppl as effectively, and its fight or flight i believe..unless urs was a typo

  3. Last year for American Thanksgiving the old Mytischi DOS, Oksana, had to order a turkey from a specialty meat store in Mytischi. It cost her nearly 16,000 RUB! But it was sooooo goooood....