Some Russian Episodes

March 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm (Uncategorized)

We have a folklore class every other Tuesday where we sing songs and learn Russian dances and games.  The other day we played a game involving flowers, which is meant for Russian children.  If your flower is chosen, and you don’t answer fast enough, then it is required for you to take off something you’re wearing.  I am not kidding, children play this game in Russia.  Most people in our group took off watches, but Jeff was forced to take off his belt because he didn’t have a watch.  Apparently strip games are not only for adults in Russia.  I should not have been surprised.

We experienced Russian clubs for the first time this weekend.  We went to two different ones.  The first club played a lot of Russian techno music, with the exception of Lady Gaga, which the club played especially for Emily’s birthday.  There was a brief period in the first club where all of the power went off right after we first got up to dance.  We all joked that we were so bad at dancing that the system just shut down in protest.  The second club was really big and really expensive.  They played only English techno, and there were way more guys than girls.  It was a sausage fest.  The guys weren’t remotely interested in dancing with girls because they were all too busy busting out by themselves.  It was a bunch of guys in beaters and jeans acting like they were in the movie Step Up.  It was absolutely hilarious.

I saw my first Russian bar fight in the classiest bar I’ve been to yet here.  A tall, gangly guy with an arguile vest literally kicked some guy out the door because he was too drunk.  The guy came in again, so the innocent looking waiter kicked him out again.  And I mean, he literally raised his foot and kicked this guy in the back.  After the guy fell out the door, the waiter (I swear to God) did a superman dive out the door on top of this guy and started beating him to a pulp.  Afterwards the waiter came inside and called an ambulance because there was so much blood poring out of the guy’s head.  Meanwhile I was the ONLY ONE who saw any of this happen.  Everyone else in my group was too deeply immersed in conversation to hear me saying, “Guys did you see that??”  It was crazy.

I also went to Globus, which is the Russian equivalent of Costco (which is like Sam’s Club for those of you who don’t have Costco).  Except Globus was way nicer than Costco because it wasn’t in a crappy warehouse with birds flying around everywhere.  I honestly felt like I had somehow passed through a portal to America, because absolutely nothing in Vladimir looks like this.  It had absolutely everything.  However, there were several reminders that I was still in Russia.  For one, instead of workers looking bored in blue smocks, there were giant mafia-type men in suits with earpieces, standing still and staring at everyone.  There were also too many people walking around with whole fish for it to be America.  In America, most of our fish can be bought pre-gutted and without their heads.  The idea is laughable in Russia.  The Globus symbol is also too creepy.  It is a smiley face, but one eye is a globe.  It looks like it should be a villain in a James Bond movie because the globe looks more like a diamond.  It is particularly eerie.

I remember before I came to Russia, one of my friends told me that Russians make crazy remixes of American songs, and play them in clubs.  Today I found out that Russians do not limit their remixes to American songs, but ANYTHING American.  And I mean anything.  Today, a couple of us were in “Whiskey Pub,” a popular bar/nightclub, when all of a sudden we heard George Bush’s voice speaking over techno music.  That’s right, I kid you not, I heard a remix to George Bush’s “We got Saddam Hussein” speech.

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