Monday, May 25, 2009

A City Tour in the Wrong City: Andrei Nosov and Andrei Amirov

Andrei Nosov and Andei Amirov's project is to organize two city tours in two Russian cities simultaneously. The cities are Nizhniy Novgorod and Saratov; Saratov being the city, where Andrei Amirov has to travel to for some work reason. The absurd and simultaneously special aspect of their idea is, that both Amdreis who are giving the tours, are not speaking about the city they are situated at, but about the city where their respective partner of this project is giving his tour at. So Andrei in Saratov talks in great details about Nizhniy, while pointing at things in Saratov and Andrei in Nizhniy explains all historical aspects and architectural details about all sights in Saratov, while pointing at buildings and streets in Nizhniy 

Now it's time to take a city tour! I have been here an entire week and I feel like I know nothing. On Sunday I will take the train to St. Petersburg and a few days later I will have to go back to New York. All my time here in Nizhniy I spent indoors, discussing projects with students. How could I now possibly learn everything about Russia in the little time I have left? 

But I find the perfect solution!! A city tour covering two cities at once! A two for one deal, perfect for someone like me!! ... cost and time efficient... A city tour in Nizhniy Novgorod telling me everything about Saratov!

The two Andrei's project is so wonderfully absurd. A city tour about Saratov in Nizhniy

At 7pm the group meets at the entrance of the Nizhniy Novgorod University and I guess Andrei in Saratov has selected a similar place. 

Andrei stands there with a big funnel held against his mouth to amplify his voice promoting the start of his city tour. 

There are some young folks standing about and drinking beer, they are indeed very puzzled about this offer!

Finally, a group of enthusiasts takes off, to learn all about the spectacular sights of Saratov and it’s history, while looking at streets, buildings, and other various sights in Nizhny!

I am deeply impressed by the thorough research Andrei has done and his in depth knowledge of the city he might never have seen himself. 

Well, Masha, my translator explains, he is a typical example if a real University student! 

We walk from building to building, listen to his explanations about the ancient Saratov circus, which is one of the oldest in the world, while looking at an office building or hear about the grand Saratov Theater, while looking at an old wooden shack. 

Here we get a chance to take pictures of each other in front of the grand Saratov Opera House!

As we follow him enthusiastically and he shares his knowledge with us, and allowing for some opportunities to take some pictures, people overhearing Andrei’s explanations are visibly confused!

The tour leads us through some old streets and famous avenues, while I am learning all about other streets and avenues, which I am not seeing. It’s really interesting what that does to the brain! My head does not want to collaborate! In the end we find ourselves at the edge of the Volga where Andrei in Nizhniy calls Andrei in Saratov who has also just concluded his city tour with great excitement. We will be excited to hear about his experiences!

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