Even in just a few days, we have encountered seemingly dozens of discordant scenes. We took the subway north from Red Square to visit the Museum of Cosmonautics, and stopped beforehand at a massive plaza built in 1939 for an agricultural conference. Epic scale, with huge arches and a multi-story Lenin statue. But it didn’t quite fit together: A wedding party was posing for photos; people were taking selfies pretending to be Lenin; and eery music piped in from speakers around the park. Imagine Tom Jones’s “It’s Not Usual” echoing through the park.

The clouds opened up and we ducked into a mostly-deserted shopping mall. Here, too, a slightly unsettled feeling. But they happened to have a great foodcourt, and we warmed up with khinkali and soup.

Andrew Bartholomew