Friday, May 18, 2012

DISC 10 Moscow (17 May)

Thought I would give a few impressions of Moscow before it all fades from memory. My first trip, after all.

 The plane ride in seemed to pass over pockets of gray concrete apartment blocks with vast green spaces separating groups of them bigger than the Houston medical center. You would think the green space would be a good thing, but somehow it wasn't. Taxi from the airport was 1.5 hours to go 30 miles. My handler, a nice young fellow named Vladmimr Zuev of EAGO, had a couple of interesting things to say. 1. When locals see road construction they realize it is not a process, but a status. 2. When it comes to traffic: If you are moving, now matter how little, then it is not too bad.

 Up early Wednesday morning and off to red square. I was out way ahead of the crowds and found a starbucks along the way. It is about 3 miles which is more walking than this computer jockey is used to. Unlike the apartment towers seen from the plane, this part of town is quite nice. Lots of older buildings, streets wide enough for a super tanker, and more than a few stern and blocky soviet-era 'government buildings'. The city center is a walled medieval collection of churches and museums, very charming with a wide garden around the perimeter in what used to be moats. Well not all the way around, the north side of the wall is red square where the Kremlin and Lenin's tomb sit. Red square is about 3 acres paved in stone.

The part of town I have seen is as clean as Brisbane, which is saying a lot, but not nearly up to the antiseptic cleanliness of Narita. I did not see one person who appeared to be homeless or asking for handouts, more than I can say about Houston. The people seem energetic and busy. I am here on a nice spring day. A brief interlude, I am told, between brutally cold winter and scorching summer. Excellent timing.

 Well, having walked about 10 miles today I need to rest up for tomorrow's DISC at the University of Oil & Gas. Interesting that Russia and China have oil & gas universities, while in the U.S. O&G research and teaching is spread across departments of petroleum engineering, geology and geophysics. And O&G is typically a small part of the latter two.

The DISC was held at Gubkin University for Oil & Gas.  This school was hopping with activity, lots of students running around.  The DISC attendance was 28 including several students, bringing total DISC attendance to 505.  We got a late start due to local traffic, but managed to get through most of the material.

Not an official class photo, but most of the attendees.

Gubkins's Rose and EAGO's Vladimir took care of me.

A nice gift from Gubkin.  A guy can always use a hoody.


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