Friday, December 30, 2005

Bacon and a side order of Sausage: A day with the family

First meal of day, around 11:00am: pancakes and sausage
Second meal of the day, around 3:00pm: strawberry ice cream with crushed pecans in a waffle cone
Third meal of the day, about 5:00pm: beef lasagna and garlic bread, small salad doused with Italian dressing

Then while watching REVENGE OF THE SITH on DVD we had microwave popcorn and Dr. Pepper.
Around 9:00pm everyone else had another ice cream and chocolate cake, but I declined.

My father had a triple bypass a few years ago but is doing fine now, thank you, despite a diet which would kill a wharf rat.

Spent the day cleaning out the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic of cheap after-christmas clothing items. I'm really going to be a chuvak when I get back to Russia.

(That's Russian for "cool dude.")

Saturday, December 24, 2005

America, Fuck YEAH!

Back in America for the holidays! Wow! 50 ways to chisel rock hard abs! Hollywood's kinkiest couples! Jessice Simpson divorce heartbreak! 14 pound newborn sets record!

People are still fat here. . .

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Doll with No Eyes

My neighbors have been redecorating. Like a lot of Soviet-era older people, they're packrats -- they rarely throw anything away. Out in the corridor we share there's a cabinet that contains about twenty pairs of old shoes, I suppose being kept in case the apocolypse happens tomorrow and worn-out footware becomes unavailable. I'm sure they save their plastic bags and empty pickle jars, too.

They have an old cabinet that I guess they don't have room for anymore, and they're moved it out into the hallway we share. It's full of old books -- and a plastic baby doll with no eyes.

Its head is hollow, but not broken -- I don't know where the eyes went. I guess they got pulled out the front at some point.

Naturally one wonders why anybody would keep such a thing. I'll try to get a picture of it, it's damn near the creepiest thing I've ever seen.

Naturally I like to greet guests with it when they ring the bell. I stick the doll with no eyes out the door and say, "Why don't you love me, Mommy?" in Russian. "petchamoo ti nye lubish mnye, mama?"

I keep thinking I could just take it in here and keep it, but who knows, maybe they want it for sentimental reasons.

Hmm, maybe we could take it to the abandoned building near the disc market and get some picures of it. . .

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bass Ackwards

You know, it's pretty fucked up -- I actually look forward to the work week so I can get some rest and peace and quiet. It's the weekends that are rough.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A New Russian Moral Fable: or Ow, My Ass Hurts

One of my students was sexually assaulted in the entrance foyer of her building last week. Russians generally have nice enough apartments, but they're in hideous crumbling concrete Soviet blocks for the most part, with the mailboxes beaten to shit and hanging free, graffiti all over the stairwells, and elevators that are alternately full of piss and shit or don't work at all. Often the lightbulbs aren't replaced.

This is because people own their own flats; nobody but the state owns the building, and so unless the people get money together or fix things themselves, they won't get fixed.

So she went in the front entrance, got grabbed by a guy with a knife, who drug her up into the stairwell and made her strip and tried to force her to give him a blow job. She refused so he cut the top of her head with the knife -- finally someone heard the screams and came out to investigate -- chased the rapist away and out into the street.

Imagine opening the door when your daughter rings the doorbell and she's standing there naked, hysterical, and covered with blood. . . Jesus.

Now somehow, they found the guy and arrested him; something about he went to hide in a ratty lowlife bar around the corner, and the cops somehow knew he would, and went and found him there, threatening to beat the bartender within an inch of his life if he didn't point out everybody who'd come in in the last thirty minutes.

Open and shut case, more or less; bloody fingerprints and all that, and he has a record, and apparently there are about five unsolved rapes cases much like this one.

The girl wasn't seriously hurt -- though she thought she was going to die from all the blood, scalp wounds always bleed like a bastard, and of course there's the usual mental trauma.

The cops, by way of solace, I suppose, told her a story about a recent case they had -- a 54 year old man was sitting at a bus-stop and four young guys came up to rob him, and then beat him up, and then drug him back into a park and gang-ass-fucked him.

Now why exactly four young men would want to gang-ass-fuck a 54-year-old man, when this is essentially a city full of young women, I don't understand exactly; okay, I understand rape is supposed to be a crime of violence, not of sex, but hell, it's not like they were locked up in prison or something. Maybe they just got out.

Anyway, too embarrassed to call the cops, he nearly died of internal hemmorhaging before admitting what had happened in the hospital.

Is there a lesson there? Uh. . . well. . .

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Fat Chick Project

The other night English Teacher R1 and I ended up at the Club Rossia, the shitty cheap gayish bar in the reconverted Soviet theater. We went to meet a couple of girls that I know, but one of them had to leave, and the other one immediately drunkenly tumbled over the banister at the balcony and knocked herself out.

Amazingly there was no permanent damage, she got up and dazedly managed to walk out on her own.

After getting pretty hammered, I decided that I was going to be a good samaritan and dance with some fat chicks. (It should be said there weren't really any other good looking girls in the place.) I did, but of course before too long all the fat chicks were running and hiding from me. . .

So much for charity. Kind of reminds me of the time a couple of years ago when we decided to go hand out bananas to homeless people down by the central market, and ended up getting mobbed by several dozen gypsy children and teenage gypsy mothers pushing their snotty-nosed, dirty little babies in our faces and trying to pick our pockets.

Then a few cops came over and chased them all off with clubs.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Made Pee-Pee

Well now that's strange. I apparently pissed on the floor last night. (Here at my apartment, which I guess is better than doing it at English Teacher P's.) And even stranger, I did it on the floor right outside of the toilet. Weird. And my pants weren't wet at all; if I made it that far, why couldn't I make it to the toilet? Or the bathtub?

I've pissed the bed twice in my 20-year drinking history, and that would be the second time I've peed on the floor. I have no memory of it.

English Teacher P had a birthday party last night; afterwards, at 2:00am, the two English Teacher R's (one being a 36 year old guy from Belfast, the other being a 35 year old guy from Maine) and I decided to go to the current trendiest bar in town, where we were denied entrance by the brutal lesbian who does the face control. Completely arbitrary- ETR1 and I have gotten past face control there several times, when not being any better or worse dressed than we were, although perhaps a bit less visibly intoxicated.

ETR1 starting shouting insults about style fascism in bad Russian; I just tried to go in the other entrance, just to be a pain, necessitating the brutal lesbian running over to stop us.

Then I got a good idea; I dared ETR1 to try to bribe the woman, deliberately choosing the humiliatingly low amount of 50 rubles. (About 90 cents at the current exchange rate.) Oh, it was priceless. Just beautiful. The look on her face, and she started to say, "OF COURSE YOU'D HAVE TO PAY MORE THAN THAT!" before she realized we were fucking with her.

I think even the bouncers got a laugh out of that one; I haven't laughed so hard in ages.

My original idea was to try to bribe her with a pair of Levi's, but of course going home to get a pair would have been a lot of trouble. Wonder if she would have got the joke.

Went to the House of Pain afterwords, where I suppose the highlight was me vomiting - just a bit -- into an empty beer glass. Don't think anybody noticed. A real classy evening, you best believe it. I even made out with the best friend of a girl who has a crush on me, but she was so drunk she was passed out in a corner for most of the evening.

One of the toasts at ETP's party was, "Here's to second childhood." To which he responded, "I don't think I've finished my fist childhood yet."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Little Nap, And Then Let's Get Drinking

English Teacher R doesn't, or at least hasn't, gone out with us that much. We went out last Saturday to a trendy new poseur bar after a drunken party at English Teacher P's. We had a pretty good time; towards the end of the evening I lost track of him and assumed he'd left with a girl or something like that.

The next day he SMS'd me and said that he'd fallen asleep in the toilet and the bouncers had had to kick the door open. Then he'd gotten on the tram to go home -- it was 6:00am at this point -- and gotten into an argument with the conductor when she tried to charge him 9 rubles, forgetting that the price had gone us two days before.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Ideas For Teacher Training

It came to me, while discussing her shattered expectations with our new teacher, that the average CELTA course ought to include a climax much like that of CIA training, where you are abducted and subjected to a brutal interrogation which will seem absolutely real.

You can be taken to a crappy apartment and locked into it and forced to eat crappy food and do your laundry in the bathtub, and maybe forced to drink huge amounts, and then be forced to wake up early and bathe in cold water, then be subjected to a few hours of people yelling at you in an incomprehensible language.

If you last a week, they'll let you go, and you can have your CELTA certificate.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Here's Your Authentic Fucking Cultural Experience

We got a new teacher a few days ago.

She spent the first 24 hours crying in her flat because everything was so grey and cold and awful. She saw some rats outside her apartment.

Here's your real cultural experience, baby. Thank the Internet, which seems to be putting a lot of people where they don't belong.

Hey, these rats are nothing, you should have seen the ones in Bangkok. . .


Thursday, October 27, 2005

White Halloween

First snowfall of the year, Vodkaberg Russia: October 27th, 2005.

You people may get a white Christmas, even a white Thanksgiving; me, I'm having a white Halloween.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Cost Effective Alternative

We had a party for one of our female friends the other night; I, somewhat uncharacteristically, just drank vodka until I vomitted and collapsed unconscious.

Being awoken at 6:00am by some of the other guests returning form the nighclub -- not all, quite a few were on the floor also -- English Teacher P said to me: "Don't worry, you saved a lot of money that way."

Unconsciousness: the cost effective alternative.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Song of Your Death

We had a conversation about a question inspired by the film THE DEVIL'S REJECTS --

Suppose you were on the run from the cops, for whatever reason, justly or unjustly, and were wounded and found yourself in a convertible with a cop roadblock ahead of you.

You are exhausted of running and decide you’re going to smash into the roadblock
with your guns blazing. Allowing an infinite selection of music, what song
would you like to be playing when you did so?

Of course in the movie, it's FREEBIRD. I myself can't help but think of ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID by TATU.

English Teacher P suggested THE END by the Doors. I don't know, the intro is kind of long, by the time the screaming started you'd probably alredy be shot.

English Teacher A suggested BAT OUT OF HELL by Meat Loaf. Yeah, that's all right, you can't deny that it's appropriate.

One of the new guys around here suggested "something by Sinnead O Connor." Well, I don't know, I'd sooner get out of the car and surrender than go down to NOTHING COMPARES 2 U. Oh, well, maybe MANDINKA would be okay.

One of my Russian friends suggested THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE by U-2. Which is not a bad choice.

Another suggested "virtually anything by My Bloody Valentine." Emotional noise well suited to your final moments on Earth.

Former Teacher Q suggested the theme from THE OMEN 2 by Jerry Goldsmith. Now that's what I call rock and roll. That'd really freak the cops out, anyway.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Two Funny Things In The Streets of Russia

A couple of funny things I saw today:

A gorgeous dark-haired girl walking down the street by the sports club with a t-shirt that read "Too Drunk to Fuck." Wonder if she knew what it meant.

Two shaved-head, track-suited thugs collapsed in the grass near the abandoned train depot up the street off the main intersection -- they were curled up together
like a couple of baby kittens. Still clutching beer bottles.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Silence Speaks Volumes

Got one of those individual students that make the job such a chore. 27 year old guy; got absolutely nothing to say about anything.

He has no opinons whatsoever about politics or life in general. He never reads.

He rarely sees current films, and if he does he can't remember much of anything about them.

On those rare occasions when he doesn't work, he mostly watches TV, but can't remember what he watched. His job is some kind of sales involving industrial equipment. He thinks it's an okay job because it pays well, but can offer no examples of anything that he does that's interesting.

He has visited a few other countries with his wife, but seems to have no real strong feelings about them one way or the other. He describes them all as "so-so" and when asked why he thinks so, sits in silence staring at his book.

When asked why he wants to learn English, he says, "For my future." When asked about what he wants to do in the future, he says he doesn't know.

This is obviously a person who doesn't even need to speak ONE language, much less two.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Have a Knife

I have this knife, which I bought for 50 rubles at a market one time when I was drunk, wandering around with my friends. It's a real juvenile delinquent weapon -- a butterfly knife with a blade which has many wicked serrations. It's not especially sharp, but if you stabbed somebody with it, there would be a nasty wound indeed.

I don't carry it around with me, because I'm more afraid of being stopped by the cops than I am of getting into a situation where I need to stab somebody.

I like to play with it while I'm watching movies on DVD.

And people wonder why I never married. . .


Monday, September 12, 2005

Bet Ya He Makes It To The Median Strip

We went to a market in the sort of baddish part of town to look for a second-hand mobile phone. (That is, stolen.) Later we were walking around looking for a cafe. We saw a drunk stagger past; his clothes looks reasonably new, so he probably wasn't a bum, but he was covered with dirt and completely blind drunk. He staggered out into the middle of the street and fell down.

There were some cops nearby; they began laughing hysterically, watching as the drunk struggled to get up. A couple of cars swerved past him, barely missing him.

Finally he staggered to his feet and made it to the median strip and collapsed.

The cops laughed and shook their heads and got in their car and drove away.

Looking for some crime to fight, undoubtedly.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Real American Soul

It often happens that you end up, in Russia, sitting in somebody's kitchen drinking vodka eating sausage and pickles and whatnot, and people start singing. They know a lot of songs, these Russkies, and it seems like every damn one of them plays the guitar.

Then of course somebody eventually asks you, "So, sing us an American song, a traditional one that really shows the American soul."

I always choose "Freebird."

I can't really do the guitar solo, but otherwise I think I really rock.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Heil Hitler!

So we were at the House of Pain, as we've begun to refer to the nightclub we frequent, and as university begins this week here, it was completely full of boneheads. While at the bar getting absinthe, a bunch of particularly idiotic young Russian boys -- 18, 19 -- heard our accents and started asking us where we were from and what we were doing in Vodkaberg, etc.

I never admit to being from America to such morons -- not out of any fear of being criticized, just in the hope that they'll lose interest sooner and fuck off -- and I usually say I'm from the Czech Republic or Poland. (Flatheads of this sort wouldn't know an American accent if it shot them in the forehead.) This particular evening, I said I was from Lichtenstein, however.

Bad choice as it turned out -- they thought Lichtenstein was in Germany, and despite my efforts to explain it was between France and Belgium, they insisted on sharing their Nazi sentiments with me.

"Heil Hitler!" they kept saying.

Now I've encountered a few other Nazi-types here -- some guys at a tattoo parlor, some guys at a rock concert -- and they always say, "Heil Hitler!" -- when they answer their telephones for example.

This particular evening I was drunk enough to point out something that had been bothering me.

In my bad Russian: "And how many Russians did Hitler's army kill?"

In their slurred bad Russian: "Nye znayu!"

"20 million! 20 million dead Russians! A good start, eh! Three times the number of dead Jews!"

"Cho?" (Uneducated Russian pronunciation of 'Shto?' meaning 'What'?)

"20 million Russian dead! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!" I raised my glass in toast. IN english: "That your grandfathers on both sides were not killed so that your intellect could live!"

At this point my colleagues led me away. One pointed out, "Well, yeah, but Stalin killled like 25 million Russians. Maybe by comparision Hitler seemed like a good leader."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


English Teacher C fell off the staircase at the nightclub the other night; he decided it might be fun to slide down the railing (after loads of beer and two absinthes) and decided it might be slide down the railing. He went over the edge, fell about twelve feet (about 3 1/2 meters to you European readers) and slammed onto the ground like a 747.

Amazingly he didn't break anything, just hurt his leg a bit.

I have a new private student who insists on feeding me several plates of pancakes at the beginning of the lesson. Yummy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Father Figure

Boy. . . we had a night on Friday that . . . I'm not sure whether this is funny or completely nauseating. Or both. Or neither. Or just pathetic. Or who the pathetic one is.

Basically the seeds were planted the last time we went to the gay bar, the Club Rossia -- I saw a guy I was acquainted with, who introduced me to a little red head chick who somewhat resembled a younger Jennifer Garner.

I spoke to her and danced with her once, she was a bit reserved and quiet, but friendly enough, so I didn't press it; then we got kicked out for trying to take pictures.

Then, last Wednesday, we went to The nightclub-- English Teacher P (50 year old Irishman) and English Teacher C (29 year old American.) We saw the same girl. She was extremely drunk.

She came over, reeling and rocking, and asked me if I remembered her, told me how glad she was to see me, etc, and insisted I dance with her for the remainder of the evening. I, having swilled an absinthe on top of 5 or 6 beers, was more than happy to oblige, and we were making out, groping, before the end of the evening.

She wanted to stay with her two metrosexual young friends when I decided to leave at 5:00am, though. She didn't respond to the two SMS messages I sent her the next day.

Then, on Friday, we were down at the embankment drinking beer, and my telephone rang from an unidentified number. It was this girl -- Gremlin O, 20 years old -- and she wanted to see me, at a small house party she was having in her apartment, which is just down the street from mine. She was obviously drunk, and I could hear guys talking in the distance. She asked me to bring a bottle of vodka.

I ran the idea past English Teacher P and English Teacher C -- it was starting to get cold that evening, and it was still too early to go to Polet. "Obviously they just want us to buy them some vodka. . . but we could take over the place and scare everybody, probably."

They said it didn't sound like a bad idea, sitting somewhere and draining a bottle of vodka, something we haven't done too much of lately.

Well, vodka they wanted, vodka they got.

We got to her flat and it was her and two other guys and another girl. English Teacher P and English Teacher C aren't quite as sick of all those typical questions Russians want to ask foreigners as I am, and English Teacher C wants the chance to practice his Russian, so they didn't mind the attention. In point of fact there weren't the most disagreeable Russian men I've ever met. Kind of clubkid types, not flatheads.

English Teacher C had the foresight to buy some bread, salami and cheese, without which I think several of us might have been hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.

We drained one liter of Vodka within 30 minutes, and sailed through another liter by midnight. One of the Russian guys was unconscious on the bed at this point, and Gremlin O was standing on a chair yelling about how she had a big ass but small breasts, and that's how a perfect woman should be built. (in point of fact her breasts are decent handfuls.)

Somebody went out to get another half-liter of vodka, and by this point English Teacher C had taken off his shirt -- he's extremely hairy as well as extremely large -- and was letting us all line up and hit him in the stomach as hard as we could. I smashed him in the stomach about six or eight times, getting a running start on the last one, and his only response was to perhaps grunt a bit and say, "The last one was pretty good."

By this time Gremlin O was dragging me into the toilet for some making out.

Then her mother arrived.

Her mother, about 42, arrived at about 1:00am, obviously drunk, slathered with makeup, wearing a low cut blouse and a skirt. Not bad for an older woman, she was with a young man who looked to be about 25 or 26. She sat down and drained the half-liter of vodka with us, and cooked us some macaroni with vegetables. English Teacher P was, of course, quite interested to meet mama.

Gremlin O dragged me into a back bedroom and started undressing.

Her mother came to the door, "Gremlin O, be careful!"

"I will, mom!"

Mom and English Teacher P were off to the supermarket to get more vodka, it seemed.

Now of course, as often seems to happen, there were no condoms around - she of course was ready to go anyway, but I'm not stupid enough to fall for that one. After a bit of fooling around, she suddenly announced she wanted a cigarette, pulled a t-shirt on and walked out to the kitchen still wearing nothing but that. The whole crowd was assembled in the kitchen now -- English Teacher P and Mom, who were hanging all over each other to the disappointment of the 26-year-old guy, the drunken, shirtless, hairy English Teacher C, who was discussing music with the other Russian guy who also had his shirt off. The other girl and the other guy had both passed out.

"Mom, I wanted to fuck English Teacher X but he wouldn't, because he didn't have a condom." said Gremlin O (in Russian) to her mother.

Mom smiled and nodded approvingly. "Good boy. Good boy." She poured me a vodka.

"You can count on me, mom" I slurred, sitting down and draining the vodka.

It grows hazy after that. Gremlin O dragged me back to the bedroom again, rather delirious with alcohol, and challenged me to a wrestling match, which got a bit too active, and we broke something off the headboard of the bed.

English Teacher C and Gremlin O got in a disagreement about something -- he was outside smoking and she took a screwdriver, put on her boots, and announced that she was going to stick him with it.

English Teacher P and Mom were making out in the bathroom. (He told me later she'd given him a blowjob behind the 24-hour shop.)

It was about 3:00am or so by this time, and a couple of rather frightened (understandably so) neighbours came over and asked us to be quiet because they had a baby that was sleeping.

I went outside and saw Gremlin O teaching English Teacher C obscene words in Russian -- she was not especially angry, but this is her sense of humor -- so I picked her up in a fireman's carry and told her she was going to my house. (Right up the street, as I said.)

As I was walking away, English Teacher C said, "Here, don't forget the screwdriver," and handed it to me.

At my place she started crying, from sheer drunken confusion about what was going on, and I got a little huffy and said, "All right, fuck it, let's go."

But she decided she didn't want to go either. After a cigarette she calmed down.

We got in bed, and went to work.

She kept saying something in Russian that I didn't understand. Again and again. I began to understand it was some instruction. I told her I didn't understand.

She took my hands and put them around her neck.

I laughed. "Okay." I squeezed a bit.

"Harder!" she said.

I tightened my grip a bit.

She put her hands on mine and closed them until she choked and rattled.

I figured she knew what she was doing -- obviously not the first time -- but I was a little worried about waking up next to a corpse with a crushed windpipe.

"Call me a little slut," she said, in Russian.

I did so. I happen to know this particular bad word in Russian.

"Papa," she said. "Papichka." (Dear Papa.)

My cock collapsed like a dead animal, and we drifted off to sleep.

The next day she realized she'd forgotten to take her keys with her, and that her mother would be gone at work all day, and that her grandmother would be there in the afternoon, so she couldn't go home. We went to a friend of hers' flat, one of the little metrosexuals, and drank beer all afternoon. In the evening we went over to English Teacher P's flat, where he was trying to have a civilized dinner party with a girl he knew and English Teacher C and his girlfriend, who had come in from Siberia that afternoon.

The drunken, bleary, rather stinky two of us showing up didn't do much to heighten the tone of the evening, but there have been worse parties. Although Gremlin O did insist on me hanging her out the window by her legs at one point.

Too her credit, she ate all the Indian food English Teacher P cooked. Russian girls often don't like spicy foods.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On Alien Invasion

I saw WAR OF THE WORLDS -- some pretty impressive and scary scenes of mass destruction rather scuttled by one of the stupidest premises I've ever heard -- the aliens (never identified as Martians, in the film) had buried their tripod war machines underneath major cities hundreds, thousands, or (as one man suggests) millions of years ago, then activated them by zapping inside of them in little capsules.

And these things were HUGE -- in all the years, no geological survey, no mine, no archaeological excavation, no oil drilling, no radar ultrasound, no earthquake EVER REVEALED EVEN ONE, when there seemed to be hundreds of them buried all around the world? Simply retarded. And why didn't the aliens just take the Earth all those years ago, if they wanted it? And why would they get out of their war machines and get out and run around without any protective clothing whatsoever? They have the technology to make death rays, but not antibiotics? They were almost dumber than those water-allergic aliens in SIGNS.

Now INDEPENDENCE DAY was not much of a movie, but those aliens had the right idea -- vaporize major cities until the enemy surrenders, then worry about the occupation. No need to get out and run around on rooftops and bullshit like that.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Prague Ague

Just got back from 4 days in Prague (for visa reasons) -- seems even nicer than I remember -- the shopkeepers are friendlier, anyway, although maybe that's just compared to Russia. And a lot more good restaurants than there used to be. Prices are still very low, too.

A hell of a lot of drunken idiotic British though -- apparently Prague is now the "stag party" capital of Europe.

Now of course it would be easy to launch into a tiradeabout how tourism is wearing the world flat, etc, butwhat people usually mean when they say that is,"Tourism should only be allowed for people assensitive and intelligent as myself!" And what's thealternative -- completely closing all cities totourism? Leaving the great sights of the worldvisible only to the elite? No one ever offers a sensible solution when they say tourism sucks. Andit's always people who travel a lot who complain themost about tourism -- so if you don't like it, startcleaning up your own back yard. So to speak. Stay home, that way the shortcomings of tourism won't bother you in the least.

Er, unless you happen to live in a heavily touristed city.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Sorry I haven't written anything, I've been busy.

If "busy" can be defined as "hanging endlessly around the beach or cafes on the embankment drinking beer and chatting up girls."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Russia: A Bad Place To Fall Down While Drunk

We went over to a colleague’s house for dinner the other night and she apologized that she had no rice, she hadn’t had time to go out shopping yet because when she came home from work one of her neighbors had been lying unconscious in a puddle of blood in the hallway.

He was very drunk, and had fallen and hit his head –she called the paramedics.

They came and kicked him and slapped him until he woke up, then bandaged the wound on his head, then dragged him into his apartment and tossed him on the bed and left.

She was a little horrified by such rough treatment but I said, “Well, at least they didn’t steal anything.”

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fame Finally Knocks

Here is an article that was in a local newspaper -- it concerned the attempts of a certain girl, one "Olga Dementova" to find a husband among the foreign English teachers of our city:

(Crudely translated by -- I have subsituted English Teacher X for my first name, which is used with no reference to my surname.)

Type the third - American In America English Teacher X it practiced by historian, but, after arriving here, it were trained for a new profession into the instructor of English. Merry and lighthearted, a question "How are you?" it always answered: "Fine" It respected American food, cafe on the embankment and night clubs.

Olga walked to be entertained with it. English Teacher X it shattered the myth about the fact that they love to drink and very often this only Russians make. To pass krujecku- other it was not away at any time. As soon as alcohol began to play in the veins, its generosity did not know boundaries. Champagne flowed by river... And it became the most igniting dancer of any party. Many joint marches concluded with the fact that for Olga it was necessary to pay taxi and to send English Teacher X in the unconscious state home to be measured off.

This sybarite of life occupied money to the wage, in addition in Olga, poor student.

- it was first gay, then not very... these binges each time they concluded with one and the same. Now we associate with it already more thinly, but our ways and to this day intersect at any local get-togethers. When there is no money, but soul requires holiday, I know, whom to ring and then to be cheered until the morning. But to have serious relations with this person is impossible.


That's far from being the worst thing anybody has ever said about me, but it's bullshit -- I never knew anybody by that name, and the things she says about other teachers leads me to believe it was a particularly nutty student of English Teacher A, who he boffed once but then wouldn't start dating. She tried to get after me a few times to make A jealous, but I never "cheered her until the morning" as she says.

The rest of it, well. . .

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sexual Stalemate

Went to the nightclub last night -- there's a sort of massive stalement of sex going on there now -- it's strange. Everybody who goes there knows everybody else, and since they're either having sex with them, having sex with somebody they know, or counting on them to buy drinks, everybody finds themselves in a touchy situation with just about everybody, not wanting to make anybody jealous and get their sex or alcohol cut off.

For example, there were no less than five girls I knew there last night, all of whom I've had some kind of sexual contact, if not sex, with, two of whom invited me specifically there, and all of whom had their FRIENDS there, which when emphasized means "The guy who pays for most of my clothes and drinks." Nonetheless, I had to tread rather lightly in talking to this five, as they all became indignant that I was talking with other girls.

One who invited me spent a half-hour or so making out with me in the corner and drinking my drinks, then after she was drunk she went off and made out with another guy, and then when he left started kissing another guy, who I think she had just met, and ended up going home with him. (She also offered to introduce me to 'the love of her life' on the weekend. This is one of the two cousins I took home a couple months ago, incidentally.)

I then ended up in the corner making out with another cute blonde I know, but she wouldn't go home with me because she was there with her female friend, who had hooked up with me one other time, and didn't want to make her jealous.

Sheesh. I knew whores in Bangkok who would be shocked and outraged by such whorish behaviour.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bad Absinthe After Good

Saturday I went to the nightclub to meet a very hot little slattern who I'd met a few weeks before -- she's so dim, however, that she at first refused to believe that I was actually American, and that I was just talking Russian with an accent to try to fool her. She decided she liked me, however, and was sending me text messages every day during the two weeks she was in St. Petersberg.

Than she arrived back in Vodkaberg on Saturday, and around twelve was calling me every five minutes to see when I'd get to the nightclub. She greeted me like I'd been away at war or something, smothering me with kisses, as the saying goes.

I offered to buy her a drink, and as I was having absinthe, she asked if she could have one too. I bought two, downed mine -- then she smelled hers, said that it smelled bad, turned around and gave it to some foppy orange-shirted metrosexual boy she knew, then spent the rest of the evening dancing with some gangster looking type.

I gets no respect, I tell you.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It Doesn't Suck To Be Rich

Three times in the last couple of weeks, my rich student has taken me out waterskiing in his speed boat. Great fun, though not easy. We boat out to an island in the river, than ski behind his jetski.

It was interesting to see him goofing around with his bodyguards -- who in this capacity, were mostly gofers to carry the beer, set up the table on the beach, and drive the jet ski so we could ski behind it.

I commented on it, and he said, "Well, your security guys get to be very close to you. They know everything about you -- who you're fucking, who you're meeting for business deals, when and how often you go to the toilet -- they know a lot more about me than my wife."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Another Ass Whupping

One of our other teaches got attacked on the street a few days ago -- three guys heard him speaking English on his mobile and decided to lay into him for no particular reason. He managed to escape with only a few scrapes and bruises, and knocked one of them on his ass, though.

This is the end of an era -- African Student S is leaving Vodkaberg tomorrow, and two of my other colleagues are leaving also.

Needless to say, we are drinking heavily all weekend to celebrate / mourn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rock on, Russia!

Saturday we went to a rock concert. An interesting marketing ploy by the Stary Melnik beer company – admission was 3 bottle caps from bottles of Stary Melnik beer. (Though when we got there they were being careless, to say the least, about whether people actually had the three bottle caps when they went in – they were more concerned with whether people were trying to sneak in any vodka or beer from other companies.)

English Teacher M and I went – and taking dates, of course, this meant we had to drink twelve beers before we could go in. This left us a bit bloated, but feeling pretty cheerful.

I went there ready to rock – I was wearing a black jacket, a black t-shirt, and black leather gloves with the fingers cut off, that African Student S uses for bike riding and which he left here one time. I was going to wear cargo pants until English Teacher M reminded me that jeans would be more suitable. I didn’t have any clean jeans, but of course, man, rock ain’t about clean jeans!

A bunch of local groups were playing, with the headline acts Korney, Zemfira, and Bi-2. Korney and Zemfira are a bit on the noodly dreamy alternativey side to be really rockin’, but Bi-2 are pretty rockin’, if a bit ponderous and Pearl Jam-like.

I’d been joking all day about flashing the symbol of the horned hand to show how much I was rocking – but damned if, when we got there, everybody wasn’t really flashing the symbol of the horned hand at the stage to show how much they were rocking.

I thought people stopped doing that back in 1986.

It was cool, though, man. We rocked.

Sunday a student of mine took a bunch of us out to her dacha in the country, where we barbecued chicken. A fabulous day – Russian girls running around in bikinis, swimming in a spring fed lake, playing volleyball, eating fresh berries and grilled chicken and vegetables from their garden. The girls were a rather tame crew, by our standards – noneof them drink – but they’re a reasonably fun bunch, they like to dance and such. They certainly didn’t mind that WE put away loads of beer.

One of those days that makes me glad I didn't become an anaesthesiologist.

After we left there at about ten pm, we went back to Vodkaberg and tried to get to a party they were having in one of the squares – supposedly the largest dance party in Russia. When we got there, however, we discovered that they were not allowing people to take alcohol of any sort into the square, not even in plastic bottles. What insane bullshit is this, cried I. Naturally this had not stopped people from getting drunk – the area on the perimeter of the square was completely COVERED with empty beer and vodka bottles, and most of the people in the square (mainly teenagers) were clearly shitfaced.

No alcohol? What the hell is happening to this city. The law about no beer drinking on the streets proves to be largely unenforced, but there’s plenty of creeping alcohol fascism – some of the cafes won’t serve people under 21 now, for example. What will this city be without drunk teenagers?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

English Groupies Vs. Gremlins

I'd been using the general term "English Groupies" to refer to girls who think are enamored of foreigners --- but then we'd been noticing a bit of a dichotomy -- a lot of these girls who are enamored of foreigners don't really speak English, would might make the expression "English Groupie" a bit misleading.

Therefore, we will now refer to the latter group -- the giggly drunk ones who love foreigners but don't speak any English -- as Gremlins. Thanks to English Teacher R for that terminology.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Drain Bamage

A teacher at another school here in Vodkaberg got his head knocked in recently. He was apparently returning from drinking down by the river, but he has no real memory of what happened. Another teacher found him the next morning wandering in a park covered with blood with little idea where he was or what had happened.

The guy is Austrailian, came here with a Russian girlfriend that he met studying down there; they just wanted to get her all the right visas to go back, but it was going to take several months so he got a job as an English teacher here.

The teacher who found him said the guy kept asking, as he escorted him to the hospital, "Why would you want to stay in Russia?"

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Magnificent Desolation

Came out of the nightclub full of 17-year-olds this morning at 5:30am, me, a 40 year old married American, and a 50 year old Irish guy. The Irish guy had to go buy a bus ticket, so we went to the bus station and got the ticket, and treated ourselves to breakfast beers at the bus station bar. We considered having some steamed hamburgers, but to just have more beer.

Then we decided to walk over to the Pirate Disc Market to see if it was open yet. It wasn't. Walking around it, I noticed an abandoned half-constructed apartment block over a hill nearby. We walked into what I can only describe as the most magnificent desolation I've ever seen -- something like a cross between a landfill and a swamp, with five stories of half-completed concrete apartment house towering over it, big strange chunks of metal and abandoned construction equipment here and there, crumbling sheets of concrete, and most interestingly a half-completed drainage system and little concrete shelters that I assume were probably going to be guard stations.

We wandered drunkenly about in the empty apartment for a while, the floors littered with crumbled concrete, hypodermic needles and the occasional condom, and the Irish guy said, "So, did you ever imagine when you were a child that your life would bring you to this place and this time?"

"Unfortunately. . . yes," I replied.

My digital camera got stolen by the cops last October, but I'll probably buy a new one soon and I've GOT to get some pictures of this.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Model Behavior

A few of the females guests at my birthday party -- namely a reserved older women that English Teacher P brought, and African Student S's female friend from Germany -- were apparently "surprised" by our drunken behaviour.
Well, okay, we got pretty drunk and acted up a bit, but think of all the things that DIDN'T happen:
no severed arteries

no fighting

no shouting (beyond the friendly boisterous kind)

no passing out

no vomitting

no police or angry neighbors

no severed arteries

no fucking in the toilet/kitchen/back room

We were on model behaviour, I think. For all that it was still a pretty good party.