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Fan Club 3 Year Anniversay Celebration

Posted by Jingtian , 11 September 2009 · 3617 views

Attention!!! Some details have been intentionally omitted in order to protect my or other people's privacy. If you have any concerns about privacy or other issues, please PM me with your suggestions and I will make necessary changes. This story might contain some deep-rooted misconceptions that I have but am not aware of. If you find something offensive to you, please also let me know. Sometimes it is written in a slightly amusing way, but the purpose is not to make fun of the people being described.

Update log:
September 5 Finished Part One
September 11 Added photos to Part One, started Part Two
September 12 Continued Part Two
September 13 Finished Part Two
September 15 Uploaded the photos to a different server, as some people said that the photos could not be displayed
September 17 Updated the name of the building with the statue of Lenin in front of it
September 19 Finished Part Three
September 21 Started Part Four
September 26 Continued Part Four
September 27 Finished Part Four. (It happens that Part Four describes what happened on August 27.)
September 30 Started Part Five
October 3 Finished Part Five, started Part Six
October 4 Finished Part Six
October 5 Corrected a mistake in Part Six (Thanks, Baz^^), started Part Seven. You will find what I changed easily in Part Six, as the texts were stroke through. After I finished all eight parts, I will add an Acknowledgement section, and some guys will be acknowledged for their help.
October 7 Finished Part Seven. Added the entire Part 7 as a comment, as I got the following error message: "Sorry, but you have posted more images than you are allowed to." :)
October 8 Finished Part Eight (Finale); added the acknowledgements.
October 9 Updated the first two paragraphs of the "August 29, the Red Square" section in Part 7 (a big mistake was corrected, thanks, shah000). Made a few minor changes somewhere else based on a user's suggestion.
October 10 Updated the second paragraph of the "August 29, the Red Square" section in Part 7
October 29 Replaced some pictures

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Part One

August 26, Shanghai

Got up at 6 am.

After brushing teeth and washing my face, I started to pack. There are always things that you cannot pack until the day you leave.

By the time I left home, it was already 7 am. I pulled a suitcase, and carried a bag on my bag. I went through a park to a stop of the airport shuttle. I had not been in the park so early for quite a long time, but a lot of people were already there, running, playing badminton, or practicing Tai Chi. I'm also learning Tai Chi, maybe I can join them in the future.

It took about 70 minutes to get to the airport. I was very sleepy, but could not fall asleep, as I was very excited. Looking back on how I got the visa at the last minute, and that I finally I had the chance to go to Russia—a country whose language I learned four years, I was full of expectations for this trip.

The check-in process was very smooth. Before boarding, I visited a few souvenir shops to see whether I could buy something for some friends on the forum. There was nothing special, except panda dolls and Haibao, the mascot of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. The panda dolls were not as lovely as Kung Fu Panda, and a lot of Chinese, including me, do not like Haibao, as it is too ordinary, without any features. I decided to leave, as I did not have enough time to figure out what to buy, how many I should buy, and for whom I should buy.

******

August 26, on the plane

The air stewardesses on the plane was not friendly at all. I had long heard about the inhospitality of them, therefore, I was not surprised when they asking me what I'd like, jaded.

People might think that I like to complain, as I described the bad experience that I had when applying for the visa. Well, I always try to present the true story. The purpose of doing so is to share, not to complain.

Luckily I chatted happily with a French student sitting next to me, who had been in China for a 21-day visit. He should me some of the pictures he took. I was amazed that there were few people in those tourist sites, especially there was only him in Tian'anmen Square. He said that the photo was taken at 4 am. Then I pointed at a photo taken on the Great Wall, asking what about that one. He told me that they took a taxi very far, and that section of the Great Wall was not the one most people visited. Obviously he did a lot of homework before he came to China. He also told me that quite a few passengers on that flight would take another flight from Moscow to Paris, as it is cheaper than flying directly from Shanghai to Paris.

As the plane took off an hour late, it might arrive an hour late, too, which made that French very nervous, as they only had an hour and a half for the connection. I wished him good luck before he left.


******

August 26, Sheremetyevo Airport

I went through the passport control without any difficulty. After claiming my luggage, I chose the Green channel, as I had nothing to declare to the customs.

So where is the Fan Club T-Shirt lady or guy? If the person to meet me was a girl, should I run up to her, kiss her, and throw her in the air? After looking around and walking around, I didn't see them. Had they left? That is possible, as my flight was an hour late. I took out my cell phone, found Kristy's phone number, and was ready to call her. Maybe I should look around again. I looked forward, and saw the white Kaspersky Fan Club flag, beside which was a man wearing a suit.

I walked up to him quickly, asking :"Are you from the Kaspersky Fan Club? Here is my passport."
Instead of answering me, the guy asked: "Are you...," unfolding a piece of paper with my name on it.
"Yes, it's me. I am really sorry that my plane took off an hour late, therefore, it arrived late."
"It's OK. I checked some time ago, and the flight had not arrived."
"I'm sorry. So you have been waiting for me for about an hour and a half?"
"Yes, almost."

It was hinote. Then he drove me from the airport to the hotel. On the way, I took some photos, and he explained the itinerary to me. We also talked about famous Russian people that are known to many Chinese, like Maria Sharapova, Vitas, Isinbaeva, etc. Of course, Eugene Kaspersky, too.

If I had been the driver, I would have stopped the car somewhere, and shouted: "I'm in Moscow now!" It was excited to see with my own eyes a city which we had learned so much in text books, listening class, and movies.
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******

August 26, Hotel

Hinote left after I checked in at the hotel.

It was a very nice hotel. My room was on the 19th floor, therefore, I had the advantage of having a bird's eye view of the city. It was about 8 pm, but it was still bright. The TV tower was looming against the backdrop of the sunset glow.

I watched TV for a few minutes, then decided to take a walk. There was a gift shop on the ground floor of the hotel, and there were many beautiful Matryoshka dolls, but each one cost several thousand rubles. That's way too expensive.

I walked out of the hotel, and went to a shop nearby. I bought some black bread and a pack of milk, and went back to the hotel.

My roommate has not arrived, and I didn't know who he was, although I got the name from the receptionist. Richbuff must have arrived! I called the receptionist, asking whether a person called Rich* Buff* has arrived. They said yes, and tried to put me through at my request, but nobody answered the phone. Maybe he was out then. Then I knew that I would not meet anyone else from the forum, therefore, I posted several messages with my BlackBerry, and went to bed.

******
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Part Two

August 27, Hotel

I had a nice sleep. I woke up before the alarm sounded, as I wanted to take some photos of Moscow in the morning. I haven't enjoyed the quietness for a long time. In Shanghai, I cannot sleep any longer after 5:30 if I do not use earplugs.

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After taking some photos, I went to the cafeteria on the first floor to have breakfast. I put on the "Jingtian" T-shirt to maximize the chance of being recognized by other fan club members. There was a wide selection, and I ate a lot. Fruits, bacon, scrambled egg, etc. I was looking around as I was enjoying breakfast, but didn't see anyone wearing the Kaspersky T-shirt. Total bummer.

I was sitting there for about 45 minutes. Outside the window, there seemed to be an underground. Near the underground, a guy was holding a bottle of liquor, maybe Vodka, drinking. People were going into the underground or coming out of it, paying no attention to the drunkard. About a minute later, the guy left, with the empty bottle on the floor.

I ate a little bit of everything until I got really full. Although I didn't meet anyone from the club, I had a sumptuous breakfast. I knew that I would have to have lunch pretty late, as I decided to go out.

I went up stairs and got my camera. Before I left, I decided to give a call to richbuff. The receptionist put me through, and someone answered. It was ASH0. Finally I got connected with someone from the fan club.

The security guard escorted me to the fifth floor. I was feeling very safe in that hotel, as people can only go to the floor where they were staying with their key. Without a key, the elevator would not take you anywhere, unless you travel with someone else.

After a brief greeting, I asked whether ASH0 would like to go to the Red Square with me. Richbuff had gone out with his parents.

******

August 27, Subway

After getting the necessary information about transportation from the receptionists, we left the hotel with a map.

Going to the underground was a bit exciting, too, as I learnt from university that Moscow has very advanced underground transportation system. I remembered a joke about the subway (metro) in Moscow. In a Russian class, our teacher said, "In many places in Moscow, you can see a big "M" sign. What is it?" "McDonald's!" Someone answered.

It was an underground pass, but it had an exit close to the entrance of the subway station. The underground pass was long, with small shops on one side. An old lady was selling vegetables. When we were about to reach the exit of the underground pass, we saw a young man in suit playing violin. I like the music. I don't know what it is like in the rest part of the world, but in China, these artists never wear suit. They usually look shabby, sometimes with a letter describing their painful experiences. And the instrument they use is usually guitar, and sometimes Erhu. (If you see any words like this, you can search it in Wikipedia or Google.) But I've never seen people play violin in the underground pass, subway, or anywhere.

After getting the tickets, we used the elevator to go down to the platform. It went down very deep, and there were a lot of people. Another busy city. It is the first time that I traveled by subway in Russia, therefore, I did spend sometime to make sure that we were going in the right direction.

The trains come very frequently, about every two and a half minutes? The air-conditioner was not turned on, but the windows were open, therefore, it was very cool when the train started. The train was not very good, compared with those in Shanghai, but it was running faster, and the air ventilation was better.

As ASH0 didn't have breakfast, we decided first to go to a restaurant that he had been to several years before. As we were talking on the elevator taking us out of the station, a Russian girl asked us whether we could speak English.

******

August 27, All-Russian Exhibition Center

The girl is studying Finance in a university in Moscow. Maybe she is learning English, and wants to practice her English, therefore, she wanted to join us.

ASH0 asked whether she could do him two favors: find that restaurant and get a SIM card for his mobile phone. Unluckily she is not from Moscow, and it seems that she is not very familiar with the city. She speaks very basic English. Most of the time, I had to turn to my English-Russian dictionary.

Then we ended up in front of a large building, with a statue of Lenin in front of it. In the center, it says Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the left, it says something like People's Assembly of Russia. On the right, it says something like People's House/Palace of Russia. It might be an important place in the history. Later I learnt from the Russians that it is the All-Russian Exhibition Center, and the building in the picture is called the Central Pavilion.
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Then the Russian girl said that she had to be away for about an hour and a half to deal with some personal matters. She said that we were going to meet again beside Lenin's statue in two hours.

Will she show up in two hours' time?


******

August 27, Gem, SIM card, and Lunch

After the girl left, ASH0 suggested going to a gem shop nearby. He got a slip of paper with the address.

That place was not difficult to find. When we got there, it appeared to be a shopping center, not well decorated. Then we asked a lady where the shop was, and ASH0 showed her the address. Then she pointed at the date, and said something in Russian that I didn't understand. I took another look at the paper, and it says bla bla bla 2006. Oh my! It is an exhibition center! It is very possible that the gem shop exhibited their products here.

Then we decided to look for the restaurant. This was the most difficult part. We asked many people, and showed them the address, but nobody knew this place. They told us to go to the Cosmos Hotel, and then ask passers-by. Still nobody knew that place. ASH0 said that one direction seemed a bit familiar, therefore, we decided to try our luck. We walked for about 10 minutes, still did not see the restaurant. Then we had to give up. But this adventure was not fruitless, as we saw a shop selling mobile phones and accessories.

This was the time that I felt that my broken Russian did help a little. ASH0 bought a SIM card that can make phone calls in Moscow, and the price was reasonable. The two young men there did not speak English, but they were very helpful.

I was thirsty, but not hungry, thanks to the sumptuous breakfast that I had while waiting for other people. It was only 40 minutes before the time that we were supposed to meet the girl again. ASH0 bought some take-out food, and I bought a bottle of water. Then we headed to the place with the statue of Lenin.

"Do you think she will come?" asked ASH0.
"I don't know. "

I have met a net pal once in real life, but I didn't have any idea whether I should trust a person that I talked with for only half an hour.

******

August 27, All-Russian Exhibition Center

As we were working towards the statue of Lenin, we saw that girl. She had arrived before the agreed time.

After half a day's walking and adventuring, I felt a bit tired. I decided to go back to the hotel to see whether other people have arrived. ASH0 and the girl also wanted to go back to the hotel to have further talks.

Walking out of the underground pass, we saw a group of four people, who had just walked out of the hotel, and were coming towards the underground pass.

"Richbuff!" said ASH0.


******
******

Part Three

August 27, Hotel

"Where are you going?" AHS0 asked them.
"We are going to the Moscow University," A tall man in glasses answered, "Jingtian? I'm richbuff. Nice to meet you."
"Yes. Nice to meet you, too. How do you know that I'm Jingtian?" I asked.
"Because of your T-shirt."

I almost forgot that I was wearing the same T-shirt as I was wearing in the hotel for breakfast in the morning. A saying goes like this: "Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there." A literal translation of this Chinese saying is: "Flowers don't bloom even you cultivate them whole-heartedly, while willow lines up after being sowed with casualness." When I was wearing this T-shirt, waiting to be recognized, it did not work. When I forgot that I was still wearing it, it helped me.

Then richbuff introduced the three people with him: his parents, and a friend of his friends', who is a native Moskvitch and is their tour guide.

It seems that richbuff's parents also visit the fan club forum, or richbuff showed some posts to them, as they also recognized the picture on my T-shirt.

"We are going to the Moscow University. Do you want to join us?" Richbuff's mother asked.
"Thank you. I'd like to."

I suggested some must-see sites in Moscow several days before I went to Moscow, but I missed Moscow State University. I should have added it to the list.

When I was in the United States last year, I made a lot of American friends: people who sat besides me on the plane, people we met when seeing an NBA match, people we met in the shopping center, bus drivers in the hotel, people working in the shipping and receiving of the company, etc. I know that Americans can make friends with you very quickly. So, I decided to join them rather than continue the adventure by myself.

In order to protect people's privacy, I use people's screen names instead of their real names. Since richbuff's friend does not come from the forum, let me call him "our guide" in this story.

We took the subway again. While we were on the elevator, I asked Why the stairs went so deep under the ground, and richbuff's mother told me that the subway was built under the Moscow River. The Moscow metro has a long history, therefore, it might take them quite a long time to dig deep under the ground.

******

August 27, Sparrow Hills

We arrived at the Vorobyovy Gory station. When we went up the elevator, we saw the Moscow River through the glass walls. What? We are right above the Moscow River? Yes, we are. My eyes cannot deceive me. A minute ago, we were right below the river.

This is the most beautiful subway station that I've ever seen. The lush greenery on the Sparrow Hills, the meandering river, the clear sky, and the tall buildings far away. Most important, we are right above the river!
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If you take a look at the map of Moscow subway, you will see that the Vorobyovy Gory Station is the only subways station that is built right above the Moscow River.
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The station is named after the Sparrow Hills, as "Vorobyovy Gory" means Sparrow Hills in Russian. Are there many sparrows there? Not necessarily, as "Vorobyovy" is a person's name.

We took several photos before we got out of the station, then we were heading towards the top of the hills. Richbuff has retired, therefore, I guess that his parents are pretty old now. They might be unhappy when they see this, but believe me, they are in really good health, and they look much younger than their age. We tried to see whether there was a cable car, or taxi, or tourist bus, or whatever, that could take us to the top of the hills. Unfortunately, we had to walk.

Richbuff's parents were enchanted by the beautiful naturally scenery in the hills, and we took more photos. As we were chatting happily all the way, it took shorter than we had expected to get to the top of the Sparrow Hills.

Now we have a bird's-eye view of the city. This is one of the highest points of Moscow. The round building is the the Luzhniki Stadium, the chief venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics, and both the opening and closing ceremony were held there. On the right of the picture it is the Luzhniki Metro Bridge. The upper level of the bridge is used for motor vehicle transportation, and the glass-walled subway Vorobyovy Gory subway station, where we came from, is on the lower level.
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Behind us, a lot of people are selling souvenirs: Matryoshka dolls, T-shirts, key rings, fridge magnets, etc. A set of five nested dolls costs 200 rubles. Not expensive, but we decided to look around before we made our decision.
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I looked further ahead, and saw the building that I once saw in the Russian text book, a landmark of Moscow.

August 27, Moscow State University

The Moscow State University. One of the world's most prestigious universities, with a very long history and the tallest education building in the world.

We got very excited. You can imagine what happened next. Photos. Yes. It is a good place to capture the main building.
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As we got closer, we were impressed by the large terrace in front of the building and the thick and tall pillars. I dare say that I have never seen such a grand building in any of the Chinese universities.

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At each corner of the terrace in front of the building, there is a sculpture of a student, reading a book.
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Feel yourself how tall the pillars are.
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As we were walking closer to the entrance of the building, we saw that even the wooden doors were decorated with small sculptures, each symbolizing a branch of science.
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We opened door, and tried to go inside the building. But the security guards did not let us in, even though our guide explained that we just wanted to take a look on the campus. What a pity! Anyway, after all, we had the chance to see the university, so close.

Then we spent about a quarter walking around, taking photos.

Standing on the terrace and looking in the direction of the Sparrow Hills, we saw a long road leading to the main road. In the center of the road, there is a fountain. Next to the fountain, there is green grass on each side. Then there is a pavement on each side. It is not actually a pavement in the strict sense, as it is not paved with stones or bricks. It made me think of a quote made by Lu Xun, one of the most renowned writers in China, "In the beginning there was no path in the world. Then paths came into being as many people walked on them." (A literal translation) Still farther than the pavement, there is are many crescent benches, where students can sit reading, chatting, thinking...
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There are a lot of sculptures of famous people on each side. I would pay respects to each of them if time permitted.
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This is Nikolai Lobachevsky, a famous Russian mathematician.
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We had planned to take a cruise on the Moscow River, but time was running short. It was already past 5 pm. There were five people, therefore, one taxi was not enough. If I had not come with them, they could have taken a taxi. I said sorry, but they said they were very happy that I came with them, but thanked me for being considerate. Thanks to our guide, we got on a tour bus, which took us to the Kiyevskaya subway station.

It was a marvelous trip to the university. I am very grateful to richbuff, his parents, and our guide. Without them, it would have been impossible for me to make this trip on my own. There was another small pity. There was no university T-shirt for sale. Richbuff's parents always visit famous universities and buy T-shirts with the logo of these universities.


******

August 27, Subway

The Kiyevskaya subway station is next to the Kiyevsky Rail Terminal, which has trains running to Kiev and other European cities. Some fan club members came by train, maybe this was their first stop in Moscow?
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The subway stations in Moscow are very different from those in Shanghai. There are no commercial ads, but there are sculptures and other forms of art.
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******
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Part Four

August 27, Hotel

When we got back to the hotel, it was about 6:40 pm. Neither richbuff nor I felt hungry.

There was an hour and 20 minutes before the welcome party started. When I was thinking about the party, my tiredness was gone with the gentle evening breeze of Moscow. Has everyone arrived? I logged in to the fan club forum with my BlackBerry, but there was no new message, except one posted by richbuff.

So what does those people look like? Is Lucian Bara the skinny, pale-faced computer freak? What does the 99-year-old white-bearded man look like? Is the guy from the British navy as uptight as, or even more uptight than, other Brits? Or is it my misconception? Does anyone actually look like their avatars? Is E.K. coming? Are there many beautiful girls?

******

August 27, Hotel

When I got there 10 minutes before the party started, I saw groups of people, chatting happily.

Then I caught sight of richbuff and ASH0 and walked to their group. After a short greeting with them, some guys introduced themselves, and shook hands with me. "Lucian Bara." "Baz^^."...

* The rule that I stick to is to use the exact user name in the forum, therefore, I did not, and will not use "Lucian" or "Baz" to refer to them.
* I don't want to make this story look like a who's who, or a novel; therefore, the story will be focused on people from the international forum, and only a little will be devoted to people from the Russian forum.

"Jingtian," I said, pointing the picture on my T-shirt, "Nice to meet you all."

Then I had the time to compare their real images with the ones that I had imagined.

Although Lucian Bara had written that he is tall, has long hair and wears glasses, I was a bit shocked when I saw him. So this is the guy who contributed more than 50,000 posts to the forum? He is not that thin as I had imagined, on the contrary, he seems to be very well nourished and healthy. White but not pale.

Baz^^ looks younger than in his photo in the fan club forum. That photo of his, in which he was wearing the Royal Navy uniform, is an excellent one, and he looks very mature. I thought he is in his late twenties or early thirties. However, when I saw him in person, he looks much younger, probably in his early twenties. The thick clothes he was wearing in the photo might make him look older than his age. Anyway, the navy photo might be more attractive to girls.

So where are the other people?

The welcome party started. Christy briefly introduced the itinerary to us, and Baz^^ translated for us. We would visit the KL office next day, and go to the
Location X the next evening. There would be a guided tour on the 29th, and in the afternoon we were going to the Kva Kva Park. After that, we would be escorted to the airport.

Kristy looks very friendly and helpful, although she had written that she is pretty scary when she got angry. I hope I didn't make her angry by sending her several e-mails asking about the status of the invitation letter a week before I came to Moscow. Anyway, I wrote her a thank-you e-mail after I got the visa.

I like Baz^^'s translation. I got my master's degree in English Language and Literature, specializing in interpretation (oral translation, not the one as in "Interpretation of Dreams"). My M.A. thesis is on the quality assessment of interpretation; therefore, I know what good interpretation is. I really like his translation.

Three of the participants are underage. How lucky KL is to have these young and talented fans! Of course they are lucky too, as they haven been invited by one of the 100 top software companies in the world before they come of age. But wait a minute! They cannot drink. We need to keep on eye on them while we are enjoying the beer and wine.

Due to language barriers, I did not talk with too many people that night. I saw that richbuff was taking a scratch pad with him, writing down people's screen names on the forum. Richbuff has very good memory. While we were in the Moscow University that afternoon, he could still remember some posts that I submitted two years ago. The palest ink is better than the best memory. Kudos!

I don't know when the Germans came. Four of them. The largest group from the international forum. Three of them were wearing the Viruses NO PASARAN T-shirt with Eugene's photo modified from the famous photo of Che Guevara. I don't know where they got this T-shirt. Some people from the Russian forum were also wearing the same T-shirt.

I don't know why redbull21 uses a pig as his avatar. He doesn't look like the pig at all (no offense). Maybe he likes the alert sound of the pig? Janrei is a bit slim, which is quite good nowadays, as lot of people want to lose weight. :) I have never seen SunBlack's avatar or photo. If SunBlack can sing, or dance, or act, he can come to China and become a star, as I'm sure that teenage girls or girls in their early twenties like his type. I have to remind you that Kilauea is a man, although he uses a woman as his avatar. If you still remember a thread in the fan club forum on self-introduction, Kilauea wrote that he is an "actor," i.e. not actress. :) I said I would visit the theater he was working for if I had the chance to go to Germany, but I didn't have the chance, although I did lose a chance last May, when some of my colleagues went to Germany for a two-week meeting.
Kilauea should thank me, as I'm sure that everyone who has read this story will remember that he is a man. :)

Sjoeii's presence was quite fun. When he arrived, he came to our table, and introduced himself, but all of us thought that he was "Joey." Then we chatted and waited, until someone asked: "Has Sjoeii arrived?" Then we knew that he is Sjoeii, not Joey. I didn't know how to pronounce "Sjoeii," so it is possible that we thought his name would sound different from S+Joey. Another reason we didn't recognize him is that he is young, not the 99-year-old white-bearded man as in his avatar, although we know it's not him. I don't know whether he felt he was neglected when he first came and nobody knew who he is.

So nobody looks like their avatars. You have to be careful when you use an ugly avatar. People might think you look similar. :)

I thought many girls would come, but actually there were only two, including Kristy. Among 70 members who were invited, there were no girls? Maybe more would go to the KL office the next day.

******

August 27, Hotel

The party finished at about 10 pm. Then Sjoeii and I went to the bar on the first floor. After talking for a while, the Germans joined us.

We talked about things in the official forum and the fan club forum, and Kilauea’s nickname. Kilauea is the name of a volcano in Hawaii, but what made him decide to use Kilauea as his nickname was when he saw a TV commercial in which the name of the bike(?) was called Kilauea and he thought the name was very cool. Hence the nickname.

Whizard and norwegian did not come. It seems that Whizard ran into trouble with his dual nationality, and norwegian also had some issue with the visa. So visa issue is still the main factor that prevents people from visiting Russia. I think that's the reason why some of my friends, who have traveled all over North America, Western Europe, and Asia, have never been to Russia. We hoped that a miracle would happen, but unluckily it didn’t. We were missing those friends while we were chatting.

I went back to my room at about 11:30, as I wanted to get some sleep. I don’t know when they finished their party—the second party.

******

August 27, Hotel

My roommate had arrived. He is Леонид, who comes from Kazakhstan. We didn’t talk too much, as my Russian was too bad. Maybe it’s time to brush up my Russian when I come back to China, I thought.

After washing, I set the alarm on my BlackBerry to 7 am, then went to bed. Леонид went out, maybe for another party?

When he came back, it was almost 3 am. Before I fell asleep again, my alarm rang. Oh my! My cell phone was still using Shanghai time (GMT+8). So it’s 3 am, instead of 7 am in Moscow. I am glad that he didn’t go to bed then, otherwise, I would have to apologize. Alarms in the early morning can be really annoying, let alone before dawn.

******
******

Part Five

August 28, Hotel

When I woke up, it was about 6:45. I crawled out of bed, and found that Леонид had already got up. How many hours do people sleep in Russia or Kazakhstan? Is sleeping not a necessity, but a luxury, as some people say? No, at least to me, it is a necessity.

I had breakfast with richbuff and Sjoeii. Seeing what I picked, richbuff said: “Looks quite healthy.” Yes, healthy indeed—a lot of fruit and vegetables, only a little meat. Then we talked a lot, from how Americans drink orange juice, to the high end restaurants in Santa Barbara, etc. It is great fun. Like someone in the forum wrote, this trip is not a tour; it is more of a get-together with friends.

I’m sure that people who did not attend the celebration must dream of getting on the bus. So you know where we are going, don’t you?
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******

August 28, KL Headquarters

** The information provided below might not be accurate. There are several reasons: I didn’t know I would write about this trip when I visited the KL HQ; more than a month has passed, and I couldn’t remember everything I saw and I heard; the presentations mentioned below were given in Russian, and non-Russian speakers lost some information; etc. I don’t want to confirm with Russian speakers about a lot of details of this visit, as most of the readers of this story do not speak Russian, and what you read in Part 5 might be what you would understand and feel if you had been there.**

Two buses were taking us to the KL Headquarters. When we arrived, it was drizzling—the first Moscow rain we’ve ever seen.

I was so eager to see the KL office that I forgot to take a picture of the building, and even forgot to check out how high the building was. I checked the photos other people uploaded, but none of them took a photo of the building, either. Maybe everyone was as excited as me, so that we forgot everything else.

The Kaspersky offices are located on the 4th, 6th, 7th floor. It is said that there are also offices on the 1st floor, but I we didn’t visit them.
In the past, there were other companies in the building. Now the entire building is Kaspersky's, which means that Kaspersky's business is growing. B)

First, we went to the office on the 6th or 7th Floor, which I don’t remember now. There are security guards outside the entrance, and you need also need access cards to get in. KL employees opened the door for us.

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This is the reception desk of the KL headquarter. We were not allowed to take photos in the office without permission, but KL has a photographer taking photos for us.

We were asked to find our own name tags. It has both our name in the forum, and real first name or last name or even middle name on it. And we had to select a fan club T-shirt that suited us. Although I used the word “had to,” the T-shirt looks really nice. I like it.

Then I realized that among all the people who were invited, there were very few girls. Kristy is a KL employee, and besides her, I only saw Elly. Maybe boys are stronger than girls in the IT industry. As there were no girls, most of us changed the T-shirt in the office. Sjoeii was the only one who put the T-shirt on top of his own shirt. :)

We also got a red Kaspersky bag, in which there were: a calendar, a pen, a notepad, a sticker, and a scarf-like thing, the name of which I don’t know.

There were candy and drink on the table. I don’t know whether they are free every day or just that day we were there. It was so nice of them to take every aspect into consideration.

Then we were divided to two groups, as it was impossible for 70 people to visit the same place at the same time.

The conference rooms are named after countries. So this is not Kaspersky China office, it is a conference room named China in the KL HQ.
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Virus Watch
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Virus Test Zone
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We didn’t go in to this room. Electronic devices are not safe in this room.

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the KL HQ this June, and he went into the virus test zone. Let me ask you a question: where did he put his nuclear button before he went inside?

We also visited a few other places, e.g. the server center. Then we went to a large conference room and listen to several presentations.

Stanislav Shevchenko and a lady, both in orange T-shirt, gave the presentation in Russian. People from the international forum didn’t understand anything. Then Jeremy asked whether there were any non-Russian speakers, and we put up our hands. Then we changed our seat with other members, so that all the non-Russian speakers were seated in the right corner. Jeremy translated the main ideas for us. It was impossible for him to translate everything, as the speaker did not stop when he was translating.

The first presentation is on the AV-School, a program to help senior pupils build IT knowledge. The program seems quite interesting. Pupils can learn basic knowledge on computer security, build team spirit, and take part in outdoor activities, too. If you want to know more, you can visit http://av-school.ru/.

The second presentation was made by Eugene. It was the first time I met Eugene. He has been to China a few times, and the last time was this April, when he also made speeches in a few universities in China.

April happened to be my busiest time this year. Because of the global financial crisis, and the reorganization of the department, the project I was working in was at a critical juncture, as the release date of our flagship product was the end of April. I remember that I went back home every day by taxi at that time. It is good that I finally met him.

The first sentence Eugene said was, “We are very lucky. Not every company has a fan club.” That’s totally true. There are a lot of good companies in the world making good products, but few of them have any fans, not to mention a fan club. In June 2006, I found a Kaspersky Fan Club in China, and I attended the launching ceremony of KIS 6.0 in China in July 2006, and made a speech. Today, I am still able to find the news about that event: “What made it interesting is that, our reporter also saw (Jingtian), founder of the unofficial Kaspersky fan club, who came all the way from Shanghai despite the rain. Like stars, the antivirus software also has its fan club.” I think the word “security software” should have been used instead of “antivirus software.”

Eugene is dressed very leisurely, with blue shirt and jeans. My impression of him is that he is very personable, and has a sense of humor.
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When I came back, I asked several friends of mine, who got their master’s degree in Russian Language and Literature, whether they could understand the Russian jokes. They said sometimes no. When I was writing about the main ideas of Eugene’s speech, I felt as if I was connecting the dots. He told several jokes during the presentation.

He talked about President Medvedev’s visit to the KL headquarters. Then he told a joke. One day President Medvedev wanted to drive, therefore, he asked the driver to go to the back seat. The police stopped them on the road. When they saw it was President Medvedev, they let him go. Then one policeman asked, "Who is sitting in the back seat?" The other policeman answered, "I don't know, but I know that the driver is President Medvedev." Then he told a joke similar to this one. I still don’t understand the purpose of telling this joke. Please let me know if you can figure it out.

He showed us several pictures they took when they were travelling. All of them are places of natural beauty. I am still impressed by the photos they took at the Kamchatka Peninsula, although Eugene did not show them again during his presentation this time. I think he is the person who loves nature very much. So am I.

He asked us where we came from. Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus… When he heard I say China, he seemed to be a bit surprised. Then he said that we have more than 800,000 fans in China, and the number will surpass 1 million by the end of this year. When I was writing this part, the number of registered members is 973,823. It is certain that the number is going to exceed 1 million by the end of this year. Several days ago, I sent an e-mail to the president of KL China, congratulating him on that.

Eugene also mentioned that KL was writing a book on Internet security, and every one of us can contribute. We might find our names among the authors or the acknowledged. Probably we should ask Eugene for more details about this plan, and I’m sure a lot of guys from this forum are willing to contribute.

Someone asked why KL chose Jackie Chan as Kaspersky’s brand ambassador. The reason seems to be president of KL China and Jackie know each other very well. Eugene then talked about his impression of Jackie. He loves kung fu, and in his life, he is the kung fu type, too, not just in movies. Jackie is very friendly, but sometimes, he appears to be different from what he really is, as he has to protect himself.

Sometimes Eugene also talked in English. His English is fluent, and he joked that sometimes he had to speak more English than Russian, and forgot how to speak Russian.

At last, Eugene talked about the decision to further develop the fan club forum. He said, in the future, there will be a KL employee dedicated to the fan club forum.

Then some people were asked to go up to the platform to receive awards. It seems that nobody was translating at this time. Mona Sax gave Eugene a gift, which was wrapped in a big box. We don’t know what’s in it. Do Russians open the presents when they receive them? I don’t know, maybe I have to consult my friends.

Glad to see Mona Sax, another girl among the 70 invited attendees, who provided a lot of useful information in the fan club forum.

Before lunch, we had a lot of photos. First, a group photo together with Eugene. Then many people had the opportunity to take a photo with Eugene separately, and I was lucky, too. Some people also got Eugene’s autograph. Richbuff had Eugene’s autograph on his T-shirt. I am wondering what he was going to do with that T-shirt. :) He said that he was not going to wash it.

******

August 28, Cafeteria

The sticker that we received in the Kaspersky bag was used for free lunch. With that sticker, we could order food and drink which altogether cost not more than 250 rubles.

We went to the cafeteria on the ground floor. It was very interesting to see where KL employees usually have lunch and also had a taste of the food there, too.

I ordered salad, salmon, borsch, an apple, and a glass of orange juice, which cost about 220 rubles altogether. With that sticker, I didn’t have to pay anything.

The food and drink were good. After a short chat with richbuff and ASH0, we went outside.

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August 28, KL Headquarters

There were two presentations in the afternoon. Andrey Nikishin talked on the history of virus and spam, and grnic talked about KIS 2010 features. Jeremy found two translators for us, Rishat and Nastia, who work as translators in KL.

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This is the famous Eugene’s escape. Does anyone notice the book on Eugene’s desk? Feng Shui for Dummies. I’m glad that the Chinese culture is influencing the whole world, and Eugene is no exception. Feng Shui itself is disputable in China, some people think it is pure superstition, other people believe it is aesthetics or even science. Anyway, I know that it has become popular in Europe.

******
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Part Six

August 28, Location X

Before we came to Moscow, we already knew that after visiting the KL office, we were going to the Location X? Is it a conference center, or a bar, or something else? It could be anything, and it was considered a secret, top secret, before we left for it.

When we got down, we saw a place called Самолёт (plane in English). We still didn’t know what it is. But the picture on the door suggested something like an adult bar or something. Or no! We have under-age members! Then I realized that it might be a place which offers a lot, but you can choose what you need.
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After a brief security check, we went in. There were shops, pool/snooker, bowling, restaurant, etc. We went directly to a restaurant. The place was nice, with a small artificial waterfall. Several TV screens show an interview with Eugene. Balloons were hanging on the tables, which say 3 year birthday. In one word, this place has been decorated before we arrived. Tonight is going to be fun!
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Sjoeii, Baz^^, Lucian Bara, richbuff, ASH0 and I sat at the same table. As we were eating and chatting, three Russians joined us. At least one of them is KL employee, as he told me that he spent two weeks in KL Beijing office. The other two might be KL employees, too, as I did not see them earlier that day, or the next day. Kilauea, redbull21, Janrei and SunBlack sat at the table next to ours.

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The waitress brought a large beer container, which was 2.25 liters. I did not drink, but I took several photos with that large beer container full. Almost all my friends who saw that picture asked me: “Did you drink all that much?” Of course not, I cannot drink much, as suggested by the doctor. I just had a glass of beer, and champagne. If I had drunk too much, richbuff would have put me to a rehabilitation center. :D However, before I left Moscow the day after, I spent about forty minutes in the duty-free shops looking for the same brand of champagne! And it’s good that I didn’t find it. :)

Then Kristy told us that we could play Q-Zar or bowling if we wanted. All members from the international forum chose Q-Zar. A guy explained the rules to us, and Baz^^ translated for us. Q-Zar is a laser shooting game which is played with a gun that fires infrared light that can be detected by the vest that the players wear. The members are divided to two teams, and members of the same team wear vests of the same color. If you are shot, your vest will vibrate, and you cannot shoot others for a few seconds. Each team has a base, which is on the ceiling. Each team should find the opponent team’s base and shoot it.

There are other laser shooting games in China, but I have never played them. I was not that nimble in darkness, but I tried my best to shoot a few guys. Then at last, I got shot more than I shot others.

At last our team lost. Each player got a “transcript” which shows how many players you shot and how many times you were shot by others. It surprised me that I shot Lucian Bara four times, who was in the same team with me. I didn’t remember that I shot my team member, maybe he was close to the opponents and then I shot him by mistake in the darkness.

We went back to our table to continue eating and drinking, and of course, taking photos. This is the best time to make friends. Quite a few Russians came to me and chatted with me. My Russian was not good, therefore, most of the time, we were asking each other “What’s your name in the forum?” “Where are you from?” “Is Chinese difficult to learn? How many letters are there in Chinese?”

I didn’t know what Mona Sax was wearing on her ears until I had the chance to take a photo with her. They are RAM sticks! I have never seen girls wearing those in China. What an individuality she has got! She must be an IT enthusiast.

Then it was the award giving time. Those guys who made the greatest contribution were awarded with a laptop—Asus U50Vg! And two of the guys from the international forum are the winners: Lucian Bara and richbuff. Lucian Bara seemed to be the biggest winner that night, as his hands were full with the laptop, boxed KIS, T-shirt, etc. Richbuff is the other. Richbuff’s parents were also there when the award was given. They must be very proud when they saw their son got a big prize. They arrived later than us, maybe they knew that richbuff was going to win something that night? :) Oh, the number should be three, as Whizard also won a laptop. Maybe they were going to mail it to him, since he didn’t make the trip.

The laptop has very good hardware, but the preinstalled software… :) When Lucian Bara started his computer, we found that it was preinstalled with Norton!!! That might be the biggest surprise that evening. Then someone suggested removing Norton immediately, and installing KIS, but Lucian Bara said that he would rather keep Norton until the system is infected with a virus. :)

Then other prizes were given: digital photo frames, KIS, Kaspersky T-shirts, etc. Game players were also awarded. I think in the end, almost everyone got something. When all the prizes were given out, there were certificates. Some members got certificates, like Mona Sax. Kaspersky Certified Professionals? I don’t know.

The party lasted till about 11 pm. It was a wonderful party, having fun with a lot of friends.

******
******




Part Seven

August 29, Hotel

I woke up at about 6:30, as I was very excited about the tourist attractions that we were going to visit. Another reason is that we had to pack and check out before going out.

Леонид got up a bit earlier. He said something in Russian, but I didn’t understand him. I only understood the word “балкон” (balcony in English), then I realized that maybe he wanted to show me something.

We went out of the hotel room, and walked towards the balcony. When Леонид opened the door, oh my! What a beautiful morning it is! I saw the dim skyline in the distance because of the fog. The high way is on the right of the hotel, and further to the high way, there is a train station. Buildings were dotted by lush greenery. We took several photos, and then I thanked Леонид. Had it not been for him, I would not have had the chance to see the beautiful picture.
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******

August 29, Hotel

I didn’t know where Леонид went, so I went down for breakfast myself. I joined Lucian Bara and Baz^^. I asked them how to crack the shell of hard-boiled eggs in western food. We have them in China, but I don’t want me to make a fool of myself eating them in the wrong way. They told me to do as I like, as nobody cares.

Since they don’t care, I just cracked the shell with the plate. I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate. Let me know if you know the correct way to do it. I’m interested in the etiquette in western dinner.

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August 29, Hotel

I had almost finished packing before I had breakfast. I did a final check and then pulled my suitcase to the elevator. The checkout process was pretty easy.

A lot of people had already checked out, and they were chatting in twos and threes in the lobby or outside the hotel.

Before we got on the bus, Baz^^ told us that the tour guide would only speak Russian. Oh no! It would be tough for us, but tougher for Baz^^. The poor little guy didn’t get enough sleep for at least three days, but we had to turn to him.

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August 29, Bus

We put our baggage to trunk of the bus, and then started the city tour.

We saw the circus, the stadium in which the 1980 Summer Olympics were held, the new building (still under construction) of the largest oil company in Russia, a lot of churches, cathedrals, statues, buildings of different colors… Due to the time limit, we did not have the chance to get off the bus and see more, but at least we saw them with our own eyes, and we need to allocate enough time for the most famous spots: the Kremlin and the Red Square.

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August 29, the Kremlin

Our first stop is the Kremlin, which is the most famous scenic spot in Russia. It is the official residence of the Russian President—now Dmitry Medvedev, and before him Vladimir Putin. I have to look for the presidential residence, and take some photos, as quite a few girls are interested in the building that Mr. Putin has worked in. I don’t know the situation in other countries, but in China, Mr. Putin is much more well-known than Mr. Medvedev, especially among girls.

There are cathedrals, palaces and towers in the Kremlin. The thing that came to our sight is the red tower with the red wall. We spent about a quarter taking photos before we got in. Some guys took so many photos here that their battery was not going to last till the end of the day. If you have never been to the Kremlin before, I suggest that you take an extra battery with you, as there are a lot of things inside or near the Kremlin that you want to take a photo of.

After the security check, we were at a bridge (the Troitsky Bridge?), which leads to the Troitskaya Tower, the tallest tower in the Kremlin. Actually we were still outside the Kremlin, until we went through the thorough passage.
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We were divided to two groups. Actually we were already divided to two groups on the bus, as there was a guide on each of them. People from the international forum were in the same group, as Baz^^ would translate for us. The translation at the Kremlin would be more difficult than he did at the welcome party and at the Location X, as there would be more figures, facts, and stories rather than daily conversations. Part of the trip to Moscow is an interpretation practice for him. :wub: We had a new tour guide, a young, blonde lady, who would explain the most important about the Kremlin to us. On the flight back from Moscow to Shanghai, the girl sitting next to me told me that there are two reasons that it is difficult to understand the Russians: they speak very fast, and they speak with very strong intonation. That’s true, as I didn’t understand her at all. We were lucky that we had Baz^^ with us, who seemed to manage it with ease.

On the right side, it is a white building with a golden eagle on the top. I have no idea what this building. On the right, there are several yellow buildings. In front of one of those buildings, there are many cannons, aiming at us. :wub: I don’t think there are any cannonballs in them; otherwise, it would be horrible.
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One of the buildings is said to be the one the Russian president works in.
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I spent several seconds looking through the windows, but saw no one. Of course, it is not easy to see the president and premier. I could do nothing but take a photo of that building. At least, I know where they are working. Next time if the girls come, they will know where to look for Mr. Putin.

Then we saw the Tsar Cannon, which is the largest cannon in the world. According to Wikipedia, “The cannon weighs nearly 38 metric tonnes and has a length of 5.34 meters (17.5 feet), a calibre of 890 mm (35 inches), and an external diameter of 1200 mm (41 inches). The Guinness Book of Records lists it as the largest howitzer ever made.”
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The green barrel is supported by a black carriage, in front of which there are four cannon balls. There are engravings on the barrel, the carriage, and even on the axle of the wheels. I don’t know what the lion and snake symbolize. Anyway, it would take a lot of time if you want to know everything in the Kremlin.
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After taking a lot of photos, almost one by one, we moved forward, and then we saw another must-see, and “must-photo” thing—Tsar Bell.
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All my friends who saw some of the photos that I took marveled at the size of two things—the big beer container at the Location X, and the Tsar Bell. They exclaimed: what a huge bell it is! According to Wikipedia, “The bell is currently the largest bell in the world, weighing 216 tons, with a height of 6.14 m (20.1 ft) and diameter of 6.6 m (21.6 ft.” The slab, which cracked off while the bell was still in the casting pit, weighs 11.5 tons. I wonder what the purpose was of making such a large bell.
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There were also portraits and engravings on the bell. So the Cannon and the Bell are not only huge, but also delicate. A lot of photos again. Some kids limbed into the bells through the hole, and were asked to get out by the guards.

When we turned right, there was a large square, and there were cathedrals and palaces around it. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember their names. We visited one of the cathedrals, in which photos are not allowed.

When we came out, we were told that there would be a parade on the square during the change of shift, so we’d better find a vantage point. Guards began to come to the square, and we had the opportunity to take photos with them before the parade started.
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Tourists gathered behind where the guards stand, forming a circle with only one way out—where the guards on parade would come from. Nobody is allowed to go to the square, except one lady, who cleans the square before the parade starts.
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Then we heard music and stamping coming towards us. The guards at the front were those playing music, followed by guards riding horses, and the guards walking with weapons in their hands brought up the rear.

The parade is mainly about the goose steps, the art of playing with the weapons, and the skill of controlling the horses. I am lucky that I saw the parade. A few friends of mine who have been to Moscow several times haven’t even heard of the parade.
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On a building nearby, I saw quite a few cameras, and it is possible that these cameras were guns in disguise. For the same reason, I didn’t take a photo of them, as I didn’t want to be misunderstood. Then I heard someone say, “Horse crap.” At about the same time, I smelt something bad. Yes, horse crap. It really stinks.

When the parade finished, they left through the way they came from. The guards who stood before us also vanished from the crowd. Three cleaners came and cleared the crap on the ground. The square returned to what it was before the parade, and tourists started walking about, taking photos again.
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Our Kremlin tour finished. We exited the Kremlin by the route we came from. Then we were heading towards the Red Square.

******

August 29, the Red Square

Can you make money with your face? Yes, of course, if you have a nice look, you can sing, you can dance, you can act. But if you look like celebrities in history, you can also make money by taking photos with tourists. When we turned over from a garden, we saw “Lenin,” “Stalin,” and a guy which I don’t know who he is, or who he looks like. Of course, “Lenin” is easy to recognize. But which one is "Stalin"? It seems there are two "Stalins," one is young, and the other one is old. At first, I thought the guy in a suit with a scar on his head is a tourist. I thought he was zipping up his briefcase after taking a photo with the "celebrities" and paying them, while "Stalins" and "Lenin" were putting money into their pockets. Then a user told me that the guy with a scar on his head is “Gorbachev.” I checked Gorbachev's profile, and yes, that guy is "Gorbachev." The scar on this head is the identify for Gorbachev. So this picture should be interpreted as: after a tourist took a photo with them, they got paid, and are putting money into their pockets or briefcases. So you cannot always trust your eyes. What you see might be an illusion. :wub:
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We walked past a small square when we were about to get to the Red Square. Some people were throwing coins on that square. I was told that the round bronze mark on the ground is the geographic center of Moscow. According to Wikipedia, "The bronze plaque marking Russia's Kilometre Zero is located in Moscow, just in front of the Iberian Chapel, in a short passage connecting Red Square with Manege Square and flanked by the State Historical Museum and the City Duma." People standing on that round thing, throw a coin while making a wish. It becomes a custom. A lot of old ladies are waiting there to collect the coins that tourists throw. One day, if you are down and out in Moscow, make sure that you check out this place. :wub:
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The red building is the State Historical Museum.
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Walking past the State Historical Museum and turning right (south), we saw the Red Square.
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The Red Square is not red, nor does it have any connection with communism. “Красная” means either red or beautiful in Russian. “Красная площадь” means beautiful square. Anyway, its Chinese name is also Red Square, rather than Beautiful Square. I think very few people would pay attention whether it is beautiful, but every one would notice that this square is at a very important place. On the north it is the State Historical Museum where we came from.
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On the south it is the Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
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Lenin’s Mausoleum and the Kremlin towers lie on the west. Posted Image

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The GUM (Main Department Store) is situated on the east, separated by a road.
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A US friend of mine want to see two people on display—Mao Zedong and Lenin. You can see Lenin on the Red Square. You can see Mao Zedong in the Great Hall of the People, which is near the Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen literally means the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Chinese).

I want to see Lenin, too, but we didn’t have the time, and his mausoleum is not open to the public every day. I don’t think anyone in the Russian history has exerted such a profound influence on Russia as Lenin did. You can love him, you can hate him, but you cannot ignore the importance of him in history, regardless of your political belief.

A stage was being set on the Red Square for the International Military Music Festival; therefore, part of the square was fenced. That’s OK. At least, we were already standing on one of the most famous squares in the world, seeing it, feeling it.

The colorful onion-shaped domes of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral is the de facto landmark of Moscow. If you search “Moscow” in Google Images, you will get more pictures of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral than the Kremlin and the Red Square. I saw a lot of cathedrals in Moscow, but this one is very different from others, but I was carried away by its beauty, especially the dazzling interleaving “onion heads,” which was called by many Chinese.
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******

August 29, Restaurant

It was almost 2 to 2:30 when we left the Red Square. We were taken to an Italian restaurant near the Red Square for lunch.
It is a nice restaurant. We were eating in an area outside. It was raining, but the roof sheltered us from the rain.

We were eating and talking happily when a Russian member said: “These balloons are your birthday present from those three ladies.”
“Today is not my birthday.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Whose birthday is today?”
“Yours!”
They must be joking. Anyway, I took the balloons from them, and tied them on my chair.

Then I asked other people on my table whether they knew what those Russians meant. They said no, and asked me just to take those balloons.

After lunch, when we were about to leave, those Russians in the next table said, “You forgot to take away your birthday present.”

“Today is not my birthday.” Then we left. I hope they didn’t mind, but I really don’t know what they mean. If you understand them, please let me know, so that I can bridge the cultural gaps with our Russian friends.

******

August 29, Bus

We got on the bus, and continued our tour.

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Does this picture look familiar to you? We are on the Luzhniki Metro Bridge. I wrote in Part 3 “The upper level of the bridge is used for motor vehicle transportation, and the glass-walled subway Vorobyovy Gory subway station.” Yes, we are at the upper level of the bridge.

We were driving towards the Moscow State University. When we arrived, we had 10 minutes to take photos and shop souvenirs. I bought two key chains and two Matryoshka dolls. One has ten nested dolls, and the other one has five. I should have bought more key chains and at least one T-shirt, but I didn’t.

We continued our tour towards the Kva-Kva Aqua Park. Neither Sjoeii nor I knew that our Moscow trip would finish very soon. At the welcome party, Sjoeii told me that he and I were not going to the park, as we would have a discussion with Eugene on how to further develop the Fan Club. But neither of us knew that we were going to leave the party soon.

******

August 29, Subway Station

Our bus stopped at the Prospekt Mira subway station. Kristy told us that the buses were driving to the Kva-Kva Park. If our flight is earlier than 9:00 pm, we’d better get off and go to the airport directly. It would take an hour and a half to go to the Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) from the park.

It was about 4:30 pm then, and my flight was at 9:20 pm, therefore, I should arrive at the airport at about 7:20 pm. That means I had to get on the taxi at 5:50. Then I couldn’t go anywhere. Sjoeii’s flight was about half an hour earlier than mine. Both of us must get off and head for the airport!

There was so much fun that I forgot to check when I should leave for the airport. I didn’t think Sjoeii had expected the sudden end of the fun, either.

Baz^^ helped translate how we were going to take the Aeroepxress (an express train from another subway station to the Sheremetyevo Airport). It was really a rush saying goodbye, then we got off, took our baggage, and went towards the subway station.

Hinote and Ell were also going to the subway station. They were going back home. In the subway station, hinote explained us again how to get to the Savyolovsky subway station, and take the Aeroexpress. We thanked them, and got into the train.

******
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Part Eight (Finale)

August 29, Subway Station

We had to take the Koltsevaya line, travel one stop to the Novoslobodskaya Station, and then transfer to the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya line at the Mendeleyevskaya Station, travel one stop and get off at the Savyolovskaya Station. It looks very complicated, but with a map, it is pretty straightforward.

Because Baz^^ and hinote have explained the route to us, we had no difficulty arriving at the Savyolovskaya Station. When we got to the exit, we saw the sign to the Aeroexpress.

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August 29, Savyolovskaya Railway Station

It was just two minutes walk from the subway station to the railway station. The ticket cost only 250 rubles. That’s very cheap compared with traveling by taxi in Moscow.

I asked the security guard how to get to the platform and when the train would arrive, he said, “I will tell you when it arrives.” That answer did not sound very friendly, but we could do nothing.

There was a small bookstore in the ticket hall, and I took a look at the DVDs, as a friend of mine wanted me to bring her some Russian DVDs, but most of them looked a bit violent to me. I was not interested, and my friend would not like them. A man is known by the company he keeps, and is judged by the DVDs he buys.

Then we heard something from the broadcast, and passengers started to go out. Maybe the train arrived. We went out, and then followed other passengers and turned right. We saw the railway station. Following the sign, we went to the platform of the Aeroexpress. There were only a dozen passengers waiting for the Aeroexpress train.

We were lucky. Travelling by train is a great way to see the city, as the railway stations are often built along the poorest areas of the city. We didn’t see any slums, or piles of trash along the railway, instead, we only saw the beautiful countryside. Dachas are scattered among the forests. I hope that one day I can have a dacha in the forest in Moscow.
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******

August 29, Sheremetyevo Airport

It took about 35 minutes to get to the Sheremetyevo Airport. We decided to consign the baggage, and then meet at a restaurant to have dinner together.

I went to the correct counter, but was told that I could not check in until 7:20 pm. It was only about 6:40 pm, so I visited a few shops. I received a short message from Sjoeii when I was about to pay for the two boxes of chocolate that I chose. He wrote that he was not allowed to go out after check-in, and wished me nice flight.

I replied to him, and continued my shopping, as I was not very hungry. I bought two DVDs, a map of Moscow, then I had a fruit salad before I spent out all the rubles that I had. If I bring the rubles back to China, they will become souvenirs rather than money.

After checking in, I visited all the duty-free shops for Московское шампанское (Moscow Champagne), but couldn’t find it. I knew that my last hope would be the Aeroflot, as I saw it on the catalog on the flight from Shanghai to Moscow.

******

August 29, Plane

I got an isle seat. I was reading my scratchpad for a list of the people that I got to know during these three days, and a to-do list for the next few days, when my neighbor came. She looks like Maria Sharapova, and is younger, and more beautiful than the tennis star. We chatted happily. She speaks good English and a little Chinese.

When the stewardess came, I asked them whether they had Московское шампанское. She said no. Then I realized I should have bought one from the food shop near the hotel that morning. OK, maybe it is a good opportunity for me not to drink…

******

August 30, Shanghai

The plane arrived in Shanghai on time, and I took the airport bus back home. It seemed that most people from the international forum hadn’t arrived, as I visited the forum on the bus. I didn’t have lunch, but went to bed upon getting home.

When I woke up in the evening, I recollected what I saw, who I met, and what I did during my Moscow trip.

People to thank:

KL organized the celebration very well, and let us make full use of the time to know more about KL, to make friends with other Kaspersky fans from the forum, and to have fun in the most beautiful and interesting places of Moscow. The programs are excellent, and the people are friendly and helpful.

Like Eugene said, not every company has a fan club. I don’t think another company has invited its fans from all over the world for a celebration, but KL did that successfully.

Kristy and Panfil provided a lot of help on the visa issues, transportation, etc. We didn’t have to bring anything except our passport, camera and money to buy souvenirs.

Baz^^ did the translation for us most of the time. Without him, people from the international forum would have had very little fun, and I would not have written this story, as I would have missed the main part of this trip.
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I am just kidding. Baz^^ is very modest.

I also want to thank richbuff and his parents for asking me to join their trip on August 27, on which I had lots of fun.

Regrets:

I don’t think anything in the world is perfect. Therefore, there are some regrets of this celebration.

1. Some people who got the invitation didn’t make this trip.

2. We’d like to see more participants from the international forum, and I think that’s what we are striving for, as the Russian fan club forum is quite successful now.

3. The presentations were given in Russian, and everything was basically in Russian. Although we had translators, we missed a lot of useful information. I found that sometimes when the Russian speakers laughed out loud during the presentation, non-Russian speakers were gazing on the speaker in bewilderment. Of course, there might be cultural gaps that translation cannot bridge, but I suggest that if the presentation is in Russian, the slides can be in English; or the other way around. In this way, both the Russian and English speakers can understand the presentation well.

4. There was not enough interaction with the KL employees. Maybe they are busy, but we’d like to know more about them and their work.

5. We didn’t conduct a fan club interview on Eugene. I remember that before I left for Moscow, and I recalled that when I came back, but I forgot that while I was in Moscow. Maybe the tight schedule made us forget a lot of things. Next time, if there will be a celebration with Eugene again, please make sure to shoot a video with Eugene and post it to the fan club forum.

In the evening, I decided to write something so that I will always remember this wonderful celebration and interesting trip.

A few days later, I ordered three Russian books online. It is time that I brushed up my Russian. I hope that if I have the opportunity to take the next celebration, I will be able to take over part of the translation.

~~The End~~

Acknowledgements

First of all, I would like to thank KL for making this trip possible, without whose generosity this trip would not have been possible.

I would also like to express my deepest gratitude for those who have helped me on the travelog, especially Alexandr Donovskiy, Baz^^, Lucian Bara, shah000, and norwegian.

I am also indebted to the readers of this story, who have provided me with encouragement and inspiration.

Finally, I used some photos that other users took at the celebration. Your contribution is also hereby acknowledged.

When I wrote the story, I referenced Wikipedia and used some pictures from its Web site.

Note: There will be a deluxe version, which will be in the PDF format, but basically it will be the same as this one. I will let you know when it is ready. :wub:
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