Thursday, February 09, 2012
Melhor do que descrever a cidade é olhar as fotos aqui. Mas vou falar de 2 monumentos que merecem atenção especial.
O primeiro estava no topo de todos os guias de atracões turísticas e chama-se monumento QWERTY. Não, esta não é nenhuma palavra russa que o seu computador não conseguiu ler. São as 6 primeiras letras de qualquer teclado. O monumento nao é nada mais do que o maior teclado do mundo. A diferença é que esse aqui é feito de concreto. Apesar da fama, a prefeitura detesta o monumento e resolveu se livrar dele. Por sorte, a prefeitura de Perm (cidade carente de atracões) se ofereceu para hospedar o teclado gigante e ele terá um destino mais digno que o deposito de lixo municipal.
O segundo é um monumento dedicado aos soldados mortos na Chechênia, chamado Tulipa Negra. Este poderia ser apenas mais um entre as dezenas de monumentos dedicados a soldados (famosos ou desconhecidos), mas não é. Além de ser muito maior do que os outros, o soldado retratado aqui não está posando de herói, nem vestido para guerra. Ele está sentado no chão, cabisbaixo, numa pose em que é impossível dizer se ele está fatigado ou refletindo sobre a utilidade de uma guerra.
Para finalizar, é preciso dizer que a melhor agencia de propaganda da Rússia fica lá. Há anos, Voshod vem mostrando que é possível fazer propaganda boa, de nível mundial, independente de networks, budgets e clientes multinacionais. Talvez seja um reflexo ou uma consequência da visível aura artística que a cidade tem.
The last stop in my 2011 Russian tour was Ekaterinburg, one of the big cities of Siberia (the fourth biggest in Russia). If I had to describe it, I'd say this city is a more urban (both in the sense of modernity and development) version of Irkutsk, but without all the natural beauty of Krasnoyarsk. Meaning that it's very well taken care off, it has a palpable artistic aura (one of the most famous street artists in the country lives here) and several venues that could easily be located in the heart of Moscow.
Better than trying to describe the city with words, I recommend you look at the pictures here. But I'd like to talk a little bit about 2 monuments that deserve special attention.
The first one is the top attraction in any tourist guide and is called monument QWERTY. No, this isn't a Russian word your computer is unable to read. These are the first 6 letters in any keyboard. The monument is nothing but the biggest keyboard in the world. Only this one is made of concrete. Despite the fame, the city mayor hates the monument and decided to get rid of it. Luckily, the city of Perm (in need of attractions) offered itself to host the giant keyboard and it will have a destination better than the city dump.
The second one is a moment dedicated to all the soldiers that died in Chechen, called Black Tulip. This could be yet another monument dedicated to soldiers (famous or unknown ones), but it isn't. Aside from being way bigger than the other ones I've seen so far, the soldier portrayed here is not posing heroically or even ready for combat. He's resting on the ground, with his head down, in a way that makes it impossible to say whether he's resting or wondering about the pros and cons of the war.
Last, but not least, as a creative I have to mention that the best ad agency in Russia is also there. For years, Voskhod has proved that it is possible to do great creative work (world class level) regardless of networks, budgets and multinational clients. It's probably a sign or a consequence of this visible artistic aura this city has.
Before you start thinking that Stockholm and London can be compared, let me explain the title of this post. Some time ago (not taking into account the usual delay to write about my trips), I went on a business trip to London and saw the city in a new way, as a cozy place where I could definitely live. The same happened to Stockholm. Despite the fact that I already considered this the most perfect city in the world (it's like Paris after a visit of the cleaning lady), through the non-tourist eyes, it gained even more veneer. It seems like everything conspires for you to love the place: how clean it is, how organized it is, the natural beauty and the beauty constructed by man, the fact that absolutely everything works, plus its well educated and well dressed citizens. Even "Ericsson City", where Ericsson's (my client) headquarters and dorms are located, is modern and beautiful. If it wasn't for the undecipherable language and the fact that I'm an atheist, I could easily think I had gone to Heaven.
Fora isso (ou talvez por isso) São Petersburgo continua inesquecível.
Whenever you hear a Muscovite talk about Saint Petersburg, it's always the same story: the city is beautiful, people are more laid back, and the cold is unbearable. The first two facts I had already witnessed during some of my previous trips there. The third one I felt in my own skin (though I must admit that after a couple of minutes exposed to the weather I couldn't feel anything anymore). Because of the humidity and then wind, a mild +2C temperature becomes a true arctic experience. A pair of leather gloves with a woolen sub-layer feels as effective against the cold as a pair of latex surgical gloves. The skin, red and burnt by a storm of icy particles, boils when you go inside any heated place. It feels like your hands are about to explode as they regain their normal temperature. The feeling is so intense that it feels like your nails might fall out.
Despite the cold (or maybe because of the cold), Saint Petersburg remains an unforgettable experience.