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Report - BD 2.04 - Moscow Collectors

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by dsankt, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. dsankt

    dsankt si ce que tu dis est vrai
    Regular User

    Aug 13, 2006
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    "DRAINERS" proclaimed the sign in bold handwritten letters. It leapt out from the sea of bored men in cheap suits, many holding computer printed signs which lacked the charm of Moscowhite's hand-drawn one. The drainers sign was held by a man, like Dougo of the cave clan, too big to believably be such an avid underground explorer, a Digger. Moscowhite towered over the crowd grinning ear to ear. He'd spotted us to, sans signage we stood out from the crowd. Maybe he recognised Siolo's bucktoothed grin or the drain mud caked on our backpacks. Visa two of three had slid back and forth under the nose of the I've-never-smiled-a-day-in-my-life immigration officer without so much as a blink and we were legally in Russia, Russia!


    Neglinka is arguably the best known collector below Moscow, conveniently located 10minutes walk from our hostel. Siologen booked the hostel, so I suspect this was more than dumb luck, but less than deliberate intent. Ol' mate Mr Westminster possesses the fucken knack.


    Two decrepit metal hatches hinged to meet in the middle, covered in a torn faded blue tarp opened with a slow screech like fingernails down a chalkboard to reveal an old ladder leading downwards. Inside, by the warm glow of work lamps was a concrete chamber skewered by twisted reinforcing bar, like we were standing inside the chest cavity of a man-made titan with bits of rusty rib protruding from the surrounding flesh. This was the abandoned section of Neglinka but it's a stretch to imagine it was once an active piece of city infrastructure. Construction materials lay everywhere, tunnels pierced other tunnels in odd shapes and forms. This mash of construction contrasts greatly with the dapper organised victorian redbrick of London I am accustomed to. We walked upstream from the mish-mash of concrete through a brick tunnel into an old stone section which terminated with a blockage pierced by a rusty iron tunnel feeding water into Neglinka.


    Back past the entrance chamber we entered the active section of Neglinka, heading downstream towards the much photographed squashed riceball section. Moscowhite heaved open a manhole nearby, which much to my surprise was in a road. Popping lids from below is generally frowned upon, the Diggers certainly have bigger nuts than most. From the manhole we saw the dazzling lights of Red Square. I love it when exploring and general tourist drabness collide. Tourist sites are certainly better viewed in the comfort of high viz and waders, with a whiff of fresh. Overpowered SLR and folded out city map larger than a satellite dish optional.



    Our second Moscow drain was a slow ankledeath walk in which we encountered drain fungi adept at sucking delicious nutrients from the humid atmosphere and leaking bricks. Whether anyone has properly identified or eaten these delights I cannot say, perhaps there is a botanist in the house?



    Best of all we encountered the feature for which this drain is known, the much photographed vertical lozenge steps. An unexpected torrent of water saw a hasty retreat, flailing down the tunnel with tripod legs bashing awkwardly against the stone. The stream vanished as quickly as it came.



    The last of the trifecta is Presnya. I don't recall too much off except for:

    1 - the slots in the roof through which they dump snow melt

    2- Exiting up a manhole shaft raining liquid in which the urine content was distinctly higher than generally acceptable. The only trick is to climb quickly, and refrain from looking up. Unless an eyeful of piss is your cup of tea then be my guest.

    Quote of the trip was uttered by none other than Siologen Jeeves Westminster III, most likely inspired by the great J. Doetherby Snr: "Let's go in the bathroom, turn the lights off, and pop that thing open!" Poor girls film camera had jammed.

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