Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moscow on the Hudson

I'm writing this as we fly 30,000 ft above Greenland, about six and a half hours from Moscow. We've been on the plane since 4:00 EST and will probably arrive in Russia around 3:00 AM, 11:00 AM Moscow Time. After some ground delays we were able to get wheels up and the nine hr flight seems like a walk in the park after our last 16 hr trip back from Hong Kong.
We are traveling with our usual assortment of of instruments; Brian's removable neck upright bass, my cymbals, Joe's guitar and lunchbox amp, but not Johnny's keyboard this trip. Even still, we have to give away a few CDs to make sure our stuff gets on the plane without breaking the bank;)
It gets easier with each trip to remember what to pack for our performances and which cables to bring so that we can stay in touch with you all while we are overseas.
Besides being the baddest guitarist in the land, Joe is our resident tech guru. He's schooled us on everything from wireless networks, phone unlocks and whatever it takes to keep the blog and FB posts rolling.
The guys are enjoying some downtime on the plane and resting before we hit the ground running. Although today is technically a day off, we have to have a band meeting, go over some new charts and get some supplies. The itinerary over the next 14 days includes; rehearsals and a performance with the Moscow symphony, a Jazz cruise, a jam session an dinner with local musicians, a performance at a rehabilitation center, a music festival and playing the Fourth of July celebration for the US Embassy. We'll go to places like Kaluga, Sochi on the Black Sea and Tomsk in Siberia
We'll travel by planes, trains, automobiles, boats and knowing us, probably horses;)

We finally landed in Moscow and were reunited with our gear.

We were met by our US Embassy host Masha and our driver.

The traffic from the airport to downtown Moscow rivals that of LA,
but we were already having such a good time with our new friends that we didn't even notice the time.

Our hotel is beautiful and we are not too far from Red Square, hopefully we will go after our rehearsal tomorrow.

We were already eyeing some cool gifts to bring back home;)

After our meeting we took a walk to get SIM cards etc. We went to the train station that will take us to the Kremlin tomorrow.

Even though we've been up for more than 24 hrs, we went out for our first proper meal in Moscow. We went to this great seafood restaurant called Sirena, it was very pricy, but we had such a great time. The Chef kept bringing us new things to try on the house because it was their 21st anniversary.
There was also a great Jazz pianist who was playing in the back ground and we took the opportunity to say hello and express our excitement.
What a pleasure to hear such a great player with such a fine touch. We exchanged info and hope to get a chance to play with him while we are in town.

The maitre de gave us 20% off gift cards for our next visit;)

We are a long way from home, but it's amazing how we can Skype, FaceTime and text across these great distances. From the Black Sea to the Hudson River, we are able to feel much closer now than ever before. The world has become a smaller place and its easier for us to all find a common ground and communicate even more. The transmission of art and music has become so much faster and easier. Moscow reminds me a lot of New York, not just because of the great expansive metropolis or its fast pace, but there's a vibe here almost like it's a sister city. It's another reminder of how we are all a lot more alike than people like to believe. One human race, one planet floating through space, all bound together;)