Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Standstill in snowy Moscow

This year, the first snow came on November 1 and since then it's been pretty much a snow-less affair. A bit of snow once a fortnight but generally pretty warm compared to previous years. When I say warm, I mean in early single digit celsius.

Today, the cold returned with a vengeance. It was just this past weekend that they started installing Christmas trees and decorations all around the development we live in. This is the Christmas tree that stands in the middle of the now snow-covered football field.

Picture below was taken at 10pm and right before this I saw a few Russian children making snow angels! Brrr...

I just found this on the internet. I was right about this winter being unusually warm, the caption on this WSJ's Picture of the Day read: SNOW IN MOSCOW: An honor guard soldier stood at the Eternal Flame outside the Kremlin in Moscow, Monday. Heavy snow hit the Russian capital for the first time this season as after record-breaking warm weather in December. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

Apparently, today's snow caught Moscow authorities by surprise and traffic came to a standstill in the city. In fact, not just the city, we were unlucky to be stuck in school too. The workers are usually very efficient in clearing snow on the roads, but because the weather changed quite suddenly, they were caught off-guard.

All morning, I had been huddled warmly at home enjoying the Finale of Amazing Race, last night's X Factor results and then the Fall Finale of Desperate Housewives (season 6 is really good) so I didn't even realise it was snowing till Eddie told me. He called to warn me to keep warm when heading for school pick-up as the temperature was -7 and it was "snowing very heavily". I didn't take him that seriously, just said, "Got meh?"

The drive to school was pretty smooth. I had to pick Sean up after his Cooking Club activity at 430pm as Brian's activity ended only at 5pm today. I had warned Brian to hurry as Eddie needed the car for a function at the Indonesian Embassy at 6pm. But when we were ready to leave and I called Alexey, our driver, he said BIG PROBLEM, BIG JAM. So in my chicken-and-duck talk with him over the phone, I told him to call me once all was clear. Called Eddie to tell him Alexey would probably not be able to make it to him in time, and he said he'll take a cab to his function and Alexey could pick him up after the function.

Took the boys to the cafeteria, ordered loads of french fries and a bottle of coke. And then Eddie had to call Alexey and rushed him, cos he was worried traffic to the city would be really bad, so he wanted us to start heading back. Quickly finished our fries, went into the car at 5.24pm, and the car moved maybe 10 metres, still well within the school compound, and we were stuck there for almost 1.5 hours! During that time, the car moved maybe 5 feet more. Unbelievable.

I later found out that the SQ station manager's daughter, who goes to the British school, was stuck in her school bus for 3 hours today. So in comparison, the boys had it good. Still, I had to endure Sean's fatalistic, "We're never going to get home!" "We'll be here forever" "The car is never going to move!" whining and crying in the car on and off for an hour or so, I can't imagine having to do that for 3 hours in a bus. I think if he had been in a school bus, the bus driver would have kicked him out of the bus.

So we got home, happy to be warm, and Alexey heads for the Embassy. Then at 10pm, the door opens and Eddie's back, freezing cold. He and his colleagues had taken a cab from the office to the Embassy and abandoned the cab midway cos the cab wasn't moving. They took the metro and from the station walked to the Embassy. And then Alexey got stuck in city traffic and never made it to the Embassy. Eddie ended up taking the Metro and walking in -7 deg temperatures and terribly thick snow home! When he reached home, he could hardly speak and said he couldn't feel his nose haha.

Meanwhile, Alexey is still stuck in traffic somewhere in the city. Poor guy.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow?...


Anonymous said...

It looks dauntingly cold for the tropical beings like me! *shiver*


Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

First snow in Seoul this morning! I hope the kids were having recess/ lunch during that time. They would have been so excited! I was told it seldom snow here. It would also cause MASSIVE traffic jam when it does. I won't be surprised it will be as bad as Moscow since normal traffic w/o snow is already bad. :(
Luckily we live near school.

mariposa said...

Hope you guys didn't have any urgent toilet calls during that 1.5hr!


Lilian said...

QX: My contact with Russian weather is limited to the amount of time it takes for me to jump out from building into car and out of car into building. Can't stand the cold either.

Sandy: Seldom snow in Seoul? So all those K-drama bluff one lah haha. Winter Sonata wasn't in Seoul eh? Ya, so lucky to stay next to school. We're fairly near, without traffic, it's only 10 min drive away but with traffic...anyone's guess.

YY: Toilet calls wouldn't have been a problem cos we were still in the school compound! The worst was when we returned from the airport the last trip back, 4 hours it took us, when with no traffic it should be 50 min. Lucky no toilet emergency then.