Russia, April 20, 1999
When Yuri Lushkov says it's spring, Mother Nature listens!
|It is officially spring in Moscow now. Even though all the snow is
finally melted, and there isn't a threat of more for another four months,
the trees are starting to bud, and the first mini skirt of spring was spotted,
not even singing birds can indicate spring before the city's annual cleaning.
Wednesday, as I zipped across the city to pick up the revolutionary posters I got framed, I saw an interesting sight. A group of babushkas in orange jumpsuits were painting the railing and tree trunks around the Christ the Savior Church. Then, yesterday I watched a water truck block traffic for five minutes while workers washed the traffic light (oh, the traffic lights are on poles, like in DC, not hung from wires overhead). Finally, early this morning I awoke to a tractor cleaning the field in front of my apartment, putting the trash in plies to be burned. This afternoon I watched workmen replace the sidewalk in front of my work by the glow of the trash fires.
I asked my neighbors if this was an annual occurrence, and they said yes. Each year Moscow cleans itself when winter is finally over. This came as a surprise to me since I never really noticed that the city was relatively clean to begin with. A thick coat of dust and/or dirt covers everything here year-round as far as I could tell. It probably has something to do with the complete lack of landscaping, but that is another topic.
So, in the spirit of Spring in Moscow, my carpets are being steam cleaned as I type this. They are doing a good job, even scrubbing the strange stains left by the previous tenants. The guys work for the company that has the sanitation contract for my office, but I am sure my cash payment is not going to be recorded anywhere.