Dec 25th in Moscow, 2005-2007

WE SPENT THREE Christmases in Moscow in the years 2005-2007, although Russians officially observe Christmas day on 7th January. (An article in the December 2007 Aeroflot in-flight magazine explained: “The Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar invented in ancient Rome and the state follows the more modern and widely adopted Gregorian one. According to the Julian calendar, Christmas falls on the Gregorian January 7 and New Year begins on January 14.”)

While I don’t have photos taken of 25th Dec 2005 in Moscow, I vividly recall in our first year there, we went to MEGA mall, a shopping chain operated by IKEA. We used to spend a lot of our weekends there to shop (there are more than 150 stores) and do our grocery at adjacent French-chain Ashan, which was the first hypermarket to open in Moscow in 2002.

On that fateful day, we arrived at Ashan by 9am (after some 45 mins slow drive on snow-cleared roads) and we couldn’t believe the crowded outdoor parking lot. Getting a parking spot was one thing, getting a shopping cart was another. Waiting out in the cold temperature of -10°C for some 15 minutes just to get a cart was no laughing matter. We were in for another shock when we entered Ashan to see a sea of people, doing their Christmas and new year shopping. We joined in the crowd nevertheless, sandwiched with burly people in bulky winter clothing, and got elbowed at times in narrow aisles. After an hour of trying to shop as quickly as we could, we headed towards check-out only to come face to face with a wall of stagnant queue waiting to pay! A quick scan around and we realised the scenario was the same at all check-out counters. Tired and hungry, we abandoned our cart and headed for lunch instead, vowing to learn from this lesson.

We DID return to MEGA mall the following year in 2006, but we stayed away from Ashan for sure! In 2007, we stayed away completely and went for a drive in town instead!

Back at MEGA on 25 Dec 2006, we had our Christmas lunch there and did our Christmas shopping at the stores.

Back at MEGA on 25 Dec 2006, we had our Christmas lunch there and did our Christmas shopping at the stores.

Out driving on the street of Moscow on Christmas Day 2007.

Out driving on the street of Moscow on Christmas Day 2007.

Stopped along Moscow River for some photos of the Russian White House. (25 Dec 2007)

Stopped along Moscow River for some photos of the Russian White House. (25 Dec 2007)

We also stopped by the Ukraina Hotel in Kutuzovsky prospect, which has since been renamed Radisson Royal Hotel in 2009. Ukraina Hotel was one of the historic “Seven Sisters” (all built between 19302 and 1950s during Stalin’s time) known for its distinctive architecture. The other notable “Sisters” are the Moscow State University on Vorobyevy Hills and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Smolenskaya Square.

We also stopped by the Ukraina Hotel in Kutuzovsky prospect, which has since been renamed Radisson Royal Hotel in 2009. Ukraina Hotel was one of the historic “Seven Sisters” (all built between 19302 and 1950s during Stalin’s time) known for its distinctive architecture. The other notable “Sisters” are the Moscow State University on Vorobyevy Hills and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Smolenskaya Square.

 

Xmas Weekend in Malacca, 2012

LAST YEAR WE were in Malacca during the Christmas weekend. It was yet another memorable time for the kids (reminiscent of our previous time together in Hong Kong, December 2009).

Arriving late on Saturday afternoon, we went on the Melaka river cruise. After dinner of Peranakan cuisine, we walked to a church nearby where a mass was being held. St. Peter's Church (built 1710) is said to be the oldest operational Catholic church in the country. We then proceeded to the Portuguese Settlement to view its famous Christmas lightings. (24 Dec 2012)

Arriving late on Saturday afternoon, we went on the Melaka river cruise. After dinner of Peranakan cuisine, we walked to a church nearby where a mass was being held. St. Peter’s Church (built 1710) is said to be the oldest operational Catholic church in the country. We then proceeded to the Portuguese Settlement to view its famous Christmas lightings. (24 Dec 2012)

Christmas Day at the Stadthuys. (25 Dec 2012)

Christmas Day at the Stadthuys. (25 Dec 2012)

A little snack at the stalls opposite Stadthuys. (25 Dec 2012)

A little snack at the stalls opposite Stadthuys. (25 Dec 2012)

(Top, L-R) Statue of St. Francis Xavier atop St. Paul’s Hill; inside St. Paul’s Church ruins (built 1521); (Bottom, L-R) The famous A Famosa; hubby and his friend.

(Top, L-R) Statue of St. Francis Xavier atop St. Paul’s Hill; inside St. Paul’s Church ruins (built 1521); (Bottom, L-R) The famous A Famosa; hubby and his friend.

Lunch of chicken rice balls here. (25 Dec 2012)

Lunch of chicken rice balls here. (25 Dec 2012)

A meal of satay celup before heading back to KL by evening. (25 Dec 2012)

A meal of satay celup before heading back to KL by evening. (25 Dec 2012)

Little Em with some Xmas decos in a mall and at the hotel. (25 Dec 2012)

Little Em with some Xmas decos in a mall and at the hotel. (25 Dec 2012)

The Christmas before, we were also back in Malacca, and took the evening river cruise on 26 Dec 2011.

The Christmas before, we were also back in Malacca, and took the evening river cruise on 26 Dec 2011.

Malacca River (25 Dec 2012)

Malacca River (25 Dec 2012)

Tan Kim Seng Bridge across Malacca River, with Stadthuys on the one end and Jonker Street on the other. (25 Dec 2012)

Tan Kim Seng Bridge across Malacca River, with Stadthuys on the one end and Jonker Street on the other. (25 Dec 2012)

 

Christmas, 2012

WE HAD A small get-together at Ahyee BB’s new home on this date last year. It wasn’t even planned. Our regular Sunday lunch at Kong Kong and Ah Ma’s place extended to Ahyee’s home just a stone away. Ahyee BW’s Xmas tree was quickly transported there to give an air of festivities. The kids will remember that other than the Christmas ornaments on the tree, there were red packets of cash too for them!

(L) Berku got the honour of putting the final touch to the Xmas tree; (R) The little ones playing dress-up.

(L) Berku got the honour of putting the final touch to the Xmas tree; (R) The little ones playing dress-up.

Young musicians entertained on the piano, violins and guitars; Niki hoping to make a few extra bucks from her solo performance :-)

Young musicians entertained on the piano, violins and guitars; Niki hoping to make a few extra bucks from her solo performance 🙂

Merry Christmas, 2012!

Merry Christmas, 2012!

Related Posts:

Em’s Xmas Parties

Party in the Park

Malaysian Idol in Moscow, 2007

ON THIS DATE in 2007, we caught a charity concert in Moscow that featured our one and only Malaysian Idol, Jaclyn Victor. Indeed she flew all the way from home into the Russian capital on a cold December day, on the same flight as our house guest Kit.

The concert, organised by the Malaysian Medical Students, was held at the Slava Zhizny Concert Hall, Moscow.

Jaclyn took to the stage belting out a few numbers including her Idol-winning song “Gemilang”. The concert also clearly showcased our multi-talented medical students – mainly from the Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy (MMA) and the Russian State Medical University (RSMU) – who, among others, put up a Malaysian cultural dance, piano recital, band performance and fashion show, along the local talents.

(Top, L-R) The Christmas Bash Charity Concert 2007; M with Jaclyn Victor; (Bottom, L-R) One of the organising committee member Melvin, with our house guest Kit; a group pix with Jaclyn.

(Top, L-R) The Christmas Bash Charity Concert 2007; M with Jaclyn Victor; (Bottom, L-R) One of the organising committee member Melvin, with our house guest Kit; a group pix with Jaclyn.