Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Political Discussion, and Naked Woman

I was having a political discussion, again, with the English Groupie girl who is now a Putin Youth. This time the topic was the Ukrainian election of 2004. She feels that the election was unfairly influenced by America, and that Ukraine is historically and culturally a part of Russia, so should never be a part of NATO.

I pointed out that Stalin had killed around 20,000,000 Ukrainian peasants by engineering a famine there.

"Yeah," she admitted, "but how many people did he kill in Russia?"

"25,000,000 or so."

"See?" She said triumphantly. "There you go."

Here are a few camera-phone shots of a stripper at our favorite night club -- regrettably the battery died before I could get any shots of the girl with "fuck you" written on her t-shirt.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My Number One Fan

Something weird has happened.

We got a new teacher at the school a couple of weeks ago; a young American guy.

And it turns out he's been a big fan of the English Teacher X website for a couple of years. He said he had figured out the actual name of Vodkaberg just using the Internet, and within an hour of meeting me had determined I was English Teacher X.

He said the website had inspired him to get into teaching.

"Good lord," I said. "How could that be? All I write about are the shitty things. . ."

"But you made it sound kind of . . . interesting."


"Although," he added. "I kind of pictured you as a tattooed skinhead."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This Is What It's All Come To. . .

I was out with one of my female friends the other night, who we affectionately refer to as "Looney Tunes." She's been diagnosed as both schizophrenic and austistic, but I think that's just lazy diagnosing -- she's just wacky, that's all. She makes me laugh, which is all I really ask of anybody.

She's 22, but she, unlike most Russian girls, never wears high heels, too much makeup, short skirts, or leopard-skin tops with push-up bras, so she looks a lot younger.

We went to a bar near my house last Saturday to have a few drinks. I was rather hungover so I sat quietly and watched the scene while she flitted around like a hummingbird, talking to everybody she knew.

Later she came back: "If anybody asks you, tell them I'm 15 and you're my father. I've been telling everybody that."

I said, "Okay."

This is a picture of her imitating the little ghost girl from "The Ring."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nationalism: The New Black

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about -- one of our little English Groupie friends, who I've know for about four years, is now a snarling member of the Putin Youth, a political group called Nashe -- "Ours" -- don't know their website, but I can find it -- they have big patriotic rallies frequently, protest volubly against America, Israel, the Oligarchs and anyone who dares to criticize Putin. They wear red t-shirts when they march.

The other evening I was speaking with her and she shared her feeling that Anna Politkavskaya, the award-winning journalist critical of Putin's Kremlin who was shot to death by persons unknown a few months ago, was "a prostitute." To her credit, she doesn't believe the CIA killed her and that spy who was poisoned with Polonium; she thinks it's a plot by Boris Berzovsky

Here's a picture of this girl a few years ago at a party. Back then, she wanted little more than to marry a foreigner. Here she's trying on the gifts I bought her from America.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Prophet Has Spoken

Continuing our downward spiral: English Teacher P took home a girl from the House of Pain nightclub last night -- or rather this morning -- around 5:00am. He woke up around eleven, and she was gone, along with his notebook computer, his mobile phone, and 4000 rubles (about $150) from his wallet.

Yes, he did get laid, but as you could imagine he said it wasn't remotely worth it.

Cartoon on this very subject on the englishteacherx website, drawn three and a half years ago.
I'd heard this story quite a few times in Thailand, but this is the first time I've heard it in Russia.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blast From the Past: Jan 19, 2004

I always, or at least usually, keep copies of all my old emails I send, especially now with the huge 3 GB inboxes: here's a cute one from the beginning of 2004. Ah, a young man of 34 then, I was, so innocent.

Sent Date 01-19-2004 2:24:41 PM
From "English Teacher X"

I don't know if I mentioned this before, I ended up with a quarter of a gram of Vodkaberg crank last week after English Teacher M went back to St. Pete. His friend got it for him, but she got it here the day before he left and he didn't want to take it on the train. It cost 250 rubles; 8 bucks or whatever.

I was hesitant to get into it on Saturday, as I generally behave badly enough with just alcohol coursing through my veins at (the Degenerate Bar), and rarely have problems maintaining my energy level -- but of course I told English Teacher R about it and that was pretty much all she wrote, he being a pre-teen IV drug user. We were just going to do a little of it, on a cigarette, but of course we ended up snorting thoe whole batch and then licking the mirror and tinfoil package clean. It wasn't any real heart-thumping spasm of energy, but I was pleasantly high and far more more positive and talkative than usual at aurora. I had drunk so much however that I dropped a full beer right after buying it, and then immediately went and bought another and dropped that one also. I think I dropped three, all told, during the night.

One thing about doing speed though, the evening ends so quickly. I mean, you're just drinking, you're pretty much at the end of your rope by 4:30 or 5:00, but with some stimulants you feel like you were just getting started when the lights go on

I got home at about 5:00am, and collapsed unconscious until about 10:00am, when I woke up with my heart thumping and immediately called ETR, who was in much the same state. HE'd had to go home to the wife and after a lot of chattering, just played computer games all night. I had a couple of vodka and tomato juices and then staggered over to ETR's with a bag full of Zhigulovsky beer. He cooked us some chicken kievs out of a box and we sat dazedly and watched Rob Zombie's directoral debut, "House of 1000 Corpses." I can't really say whether I thought it was good or not, but in the state I was in, it left a big impression. Evil clowns and weird masks and hostage cheerleaders and burned insane people . . yeesh.

Then we went out and built a snowman and a snow woman in the little playground in front of the abandoned building. Named Jim and Sharon. Regrettably my camera batteries died so I have no pictures of them. It was a lot harder work than you'd imagine, making snowpeople, and it took until 5:00pm. Sharon had vacuum cleaner lint for hair and rocks for eyes, and Jim's face was made from pieces of broken beer bottles, all of which we got out of the abandoned building.

Somebody apparently trashed them during the night though.

It's been a pretty mild winter, temperatures hovering around 30F. A reasonable amount of snow, but not so cold as to make playing in it uncomfortable. Nice winter.

Here's a picture of the abandoned building where we built the snowpeople while wrecked on speed:

Work Hard, Drink Harder

The ticket takers are usually pretty dour on the trams of Vodkaberg -- grouchy old women, hopeless old men, young drug addicts or single teenage moms.

I don't blame them for being grouchy -- in addition to their own problems, for a salary of a couple hundred bucks a month they have to walk back and forth on the tram all day, in the cold or heat, taking tickets from unconscious drunks, angry skinheads, and grouchy old people like themselves.

But today on the tram there was a cheerful middle-aged blonde woman wearing camo pants and coat who kept up a cheerful running commentary as she sold tickets. "Welcome aboard, handsome," she said to me (in Russian.) "Welcome to the happiest tram in Vodkaberg, where happiness can be purchased for only 9 rubles." (That's the current fare, I should add.) She moved on, cheerfully taking tickets, complimenting various children, university students, grandfathers who she described as the pride of the republic, etc.

It brightened up my day, but I suppose she was probably just drunk.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Not to Pick Up Chicks

I've mentioned how cranky and impatient I've been with people lately.

Last Friday we were at the House of Pain and some girls took a liking to us, village girls from a cruddy middle-of-nowhere factory-town that I had the unhappiness to visit once, and they were remotely cute, so we were trying to be hospitable to them.

The cutest one, a little mousy-blonde thing with only one vaguely-noticable herpes blister, kept trying to talk to me, but she couldn't understand my Russian, or at least kept claiming she didn't.

"Where are you living in Samara," I asked, in Russian.

"I don't understand," she answered, in Russian.

"Where - are - you - living - in - Samara," I said again, in Russian.

"Sorry, I don't understand you," she said again.


That, she understood. And got up and walked off, in a huff.

"What did you do," asked my colleague, crossly.

"Well, if she wasn't a stupid bitch I wouldn't have to call her a stupid bitch!" I said.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Alarming Rise in Nationalism, and High Heels.

Gosh. Another outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin has died under mysterious and unpleasant circumstances.

The general feeling among the flathead contingent is not that Putin was somehow responsible, but that these deaths are actually orchestrated by the CIA in an effort to discredit the Kremlin. Yeah, well, I don't see any good guys to root for anywhere, anymore.

All the new guys who come here are still thinking they're in Slut and Alcohol Paradise, but I spoke with an African student I know who has been here a while last night, and he agreed: something strange is going on here. A frightening rise in Nationalism -- with of course a lot of good old fashioned greed and xenophobia. It's like Berlin in the 30's, or the Reagan 80's in America, I'm not sure which.

Of course, that African student was with one of the hottest chicks I've seen in my entire life. So you take the good, you take the bad, I suppose.

And here's one for the foot fetishists:

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Changing Inner World, And Tits

Several of my acquaintances have commented on how reserved and sedate I've been lately (if not exactly sober.)

One girl, a Russian girl who has been a pal and occasional sex partner for a couple of years, said the other day over dinner that my "inner world seemed to have changed."

Maybe so. I know it seems like more difficult work going out drinking and shit than it does going to actual work; teaching English seems like something I do to relax, and debauchery is my main occupation.

Could I -- gasp -- be growing up?

No, I don't think so either. Here are some more titties.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Now, telling people I got hit up by the cops for 300 rubles, the usual response of people I know around here (students and teachers both) is: "the next time it happens, call this number or show them this business card."

Now I've been here over six years, and heard this many time, and I'm not playing that shit for a number of reasons:

1) It's often bullshit -- people with no influence often try to portray themselves as people with influence to impress, in which case the cops won't give a damn, and may even get extra angry that you tried to pull rank on them.

2) Rich guys, politicians, mobsters and cops have a lot of downward mobility -- The is a very precarious balance in the relations of politicians, businessmen, gangsters, and the police, and this balance can change in a heartbeat. If you're trying to drop the name of a businessman or gangster or politician who has recently gone out of favour with the cops, for example, you're probably going to get doubly screwed.

Look at what happened to the richest guy in Russia, Mikhail Khodarkovsky; late 2004 would not have been the time to be flashing his business cards at the cops and expecting them to let you go. If that could happen to the richest guy in Russia, imagine how delicate the situation of some Armenian gangster owner of grilled chicken stands is going to be.

And lastly:

3) Getting favors means you have to give favors -- Obviously, these people have very little reason to offer you protection, and endanger their own relationship with the cops, and if you get in trouble, they'll be expecting favors in return -- most likely free English lessons, but who knows what else they might ask expect.

I think of the time I was going out with the teenage daughter of the local Captain of the Internal Affairs division -- he liked me and was always nice to me, but while I could have name dropped him to get out of trouble, you can imagine that he would have been expecting a ring on his little girls finger if I did it too often.

So me, I think that unless you want to make a lifestyle of it and get into all that Godfather bullshit, you're better off just paying the cops 300 rubles and shrugging it off.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Easy Go, Easy Come

Man, as if further proof was needed that life is no longer going my way here in Vodkaberg:

Last night I had a quick fast-food dinner with some of my friends and then walked out onto the street afterwards, taking my plastic cup of draft beer with me to finish on the bus. This is pretty much standard operational procedure in Vodkaberg; as I've mentioned numerous times, people constantly drink beer on the streets.

And damned if three cops didn't come up to me and tell me I had to pay a 590 ruble fine for drinking on the street.

They were reasonably pleasant about it, anyway; polite and non-threatening and all. That they didn't beat my up can only be considered a plus.

The cops love to stop people and extort money from them for real and imaginary violations in Moscow and St. Petersberg; here in Vodkaberg, however, they don't usually stop people on the streets unless they're obviously from the Caucuses. (The traffic police are the major extorters here; I think the cops figure that if you don't even have a car, you're probably not worth bothering with.)

The let me go for 300 after I explained I was an English teacher, and they saw that all my money was mostly in the form of crumpled ten-ruble notes in my front pocket.

Anyway, after that happened, another couple of guys I know called, and we set about getting drunk until three o' clock in the morning; in the toilet of the bar we were at, I found 500 rubles lying in one of the stalls.

So I guess I'm still ahead of the game. For now.

The actual fact of whether it actually IS illegal to drink on the street is kind of sketchy; a law was apparently passed two years ago, but I never saw any evidence it was actually being enforced.

BBC news article on the subject

Another article about the subject of Beer drinking and advertising

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Do the fuckin' math. . .

See, it used to be easy, when there were only a couple of foreigners in town that I knew. We'd have a party with two or three foreigners, and it wasn't hard to turn up four or five or six girls for the party.

Now I don't even know how many foreigners I know here -- in my immediate circle there are about eight.

So you see my point: to get the same surrounded-by-women feeling at a party these days, we'd have to dig up like 40 girls. Even in Russia that's unlikely.

Err, unless you're really rich, I guess.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Political Discussion, and Tits

The House of Pain nightclub, as I said, grows less and less hospitable to we foreigners -- the hostility is generally understated, however, and expressed in quiet scorn rather than open disapproval.

Last Friday, however, was the first time I was openly called out. We were sitting with some of the few girls we know who still actually seem to relish our company, and a guy I know from Czech Republic -- an engineering student -- came over to say hi. The young Russian guy he was with heard that I was American, and began violently gesticulating: "NO! NO! Americans no welcome in Russia!"

I said, "Look, moron, NOBODY likes George Bush, what the hell do you want me to do about it? I'm hear teaching English to people so they can have some global economic power, what the fuck do you want from me?"

I said this in English, and somebody translated it; I might have been able to say the same thing in my bad Russian, but it wouldn't have had such elan.

"America want control world! America protiv Russia, we need World War III!" And this from a guy who wasn't even drunk.

Now I was on my feet. "Are you serious??!! You want EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD ON THE EARTH TO DIE, BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIKE GEORGE BUSH??!!" I switched to bad Russian here -- "You're ready for your mother, father, grandmother, and all the people in the world to die, slowly and painfully??!"

"Is it better to be a slave?" he said in Russian.

"MY GOD! Have you never heard of Nuclear Winter, you dickwad? You would destroy the whole world, rather than just wait two years for him to fucking get voted out of office??!!"

"If you hit me, I call police and you go jail!" yelled the Russian guy. He wasn't especially big or anything, although neither am I. He held up his mobile phone.

"Easy Rambo," said one of my colleagues, putting his arm around my neck. "Come on now."

"What? I'm just making conversation, what?" I said, genuinely confused.

"Are you aware that you had both of your hands in fists and were leaning forward with a vein standing out in your neck?"

"Geez, was I? Really? I didn't. . ." I offered to buy the Russian guy a drink, and apologized; he wasn't really having it however, and at about that time a girl I know dragged me out to the dance floor.

I've almost gotten in several fights recently, and have generally been in the position of starting it. I've always said that when you start wanting to lay hands on the natives, it's time to leave; I guess my time is about up.

Now: here are some pictures of tits that I have taken at the House of Pain. As promised.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Masturbating to ROADHOUSE

Anybody who knows me knows that one of my great pleasures of life here in Vodkaberg is the pirate disc market, which I visit nearly every weekend. While "pirate disc market" brings up images of cutlasses and eyepatches and sodomizing the cabin boy, in reality it's just a big parkinglot behind the bus station, where illegally copied DVDs, CDs, software and console games are sold. The guys who sell them tend to be young men, film and computer geeks themselves, and you can buy beer and hot dogs and such out there, so it's generally a cool place to spend the afternoon, as far as I'm concerned.

You can find all kinds of cool stuff, if you look around long enough. There is always the chance that whatever you buy might be completely dubbed over in Russian, or have been recorded right off a cinema screen with a camera-phone, but after a few missteps one learns the vendors who have the decent quality goods.

Prices for quality DVDs are about $3 - $4; if you're willing to take a chance with the quality you can get DVDs for less than $1. CDs with MP-3 collections of nine or ten hours of music cost about $3.

I admit to loving the blatant illegality of the place.

Today I really had to wrestle with myself to avoid buying ROAD HOUSE 2. Get thee behind me, Satan.

I made a joke in a previous post about the bouncers at a certain club masturbating while watching ROADHOUSE. It later occurred to me that it sounded like a joke I'd head before -- the Wikipedia entry for Roadhouse reveals the following:

Ron White frequently references this movie when he talks about the story about being thrown out of a bar in New York City, saying, "They hang out with other bouncers talking about bouncing, then go home and watch Road House and fondle themselves."

However, I've never fucking heard of Ron White, or Blue Collar TV, which he is apparently a part of.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hard Times In The Land of Mullets

So as I mentioned, Vodkaberg has recently started to go yuppie-uppity on me. One side effect of this is that several of the cheapest old-school Russian nightclubs have closed down -- leaving only one cheap club in town, the one we like, which we generally refer to as the House of Pain, due to the horrendous hangovers caused by the cheap bootleg alcohol and the hypoxia resulting from hanging out in its badly-ventilated environs.

Since it's the only cheap place left, the place is now packed with flatheads. A complete penis-fest -- there's even started to be a line at the men's bathroom, which in a nightclub, is a sure sign of penis-ridden doom.

And as I mentioned, the motherfucking goofballs have started to wear MULLET haircuts. And not a reserved Mick Jagger "Shag" either -- they've got fucking Billy Ray Cyrus haircuts, these fuckers. I never thought anything would make me miss the Level One haircuts, but Jesus Christ, I think this is it.

Anyway, there were still a reasonable amount of girls in the place last night, check back in a few days and I'll post all the pictures of girls in low-cut shirts that I took with my camera-phone.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Boozers are Losers

Lest anybody think I'm bullshitting about most of the vodka being sold around here being completely bogus mixtures of rubbing alcohol and water (if you're lucky -- these poor bastards got industrial solvent of some kind, looks like.)

Recent stories on --

Siberia Ravaged By Bootleg Vodka

Fake Russian Alcohol 'Kills Many'

As I said, we switched from drinking the counterfeit vodka at our local nightclub to drinking absinthe, figuring it would be better for our health, but judging by our increasingly horrendous hangovers, they've just been dumping methylated spirit into the absinthe to make it stretch a little further.

My god, is nothing sacred in this fucking place?

Putin's response is to nationalize the Vodka industry to insure quality control. Judging by the quality of the railroads, public transport, and the roads, I'm thinking I'm going to invest in stock in Russian coffin makers and stomach pumps.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Fifteen Minutes

So as I said, the TV journalist wife of English Teacher R made a program about Halloween, and filmed me buying and carving a pumpkin, interviewed me, and filmed a bit of the party (before it was prematurely aborted). In addition there's an interview with a Catholic priest and the (extremely small) Goth community in Vodkaberg.

It wasn't as bad a smear-job as I was expecting on the foreigners, although I do look pretty hungover and middle-aged. That's hardly her fault, though.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How I Spent the Day of Peace and Unity

Today is the holiday in Russia on which the October Revolution used to be celebrated. Through some changes in the type of calendar used, the October Revolution ended up being celebrated on November 7 every year. Go figure.

Putin is big on public holidays, perhaps just as well since he doesn't seem to be too much on public elections, so the holiday has been retained in the post-Communist era -- there has been a lot of talk about what in fact should be celebrated on this day. The most recent decision has been to call it "The Day of Peace and Unity," which seems like a pretty good thing to celebrate, if you're celebrating something.

I was going to do something healthy and outdoorsy today, despite the shitty grey cold weather, but English Teacher P woke me up at noon and came over and cooked eggs and sausage and bacon, and then we had some vodka. He left about four and I decided that , for a man of my generation, I've spent relatively little time using the Internet and playing computer games, so I spent the rest of the evening doing that. (It's 3:00am now.)

I went to perverse-sex chatrooms trying to find some bored girl to have a cyber-wank with, but the only one I could find was a girl who wanted to role-play having sex with a Rottweiler.

Man, people are freaky.

Friday, November 03, 2006

You Wanna Fucking Know Why I'm Not Married??!!

I'm 37. When I reveal this fact to my students, or to new girls that I meet in bars, and then answer their second question, "Are you married?", their inevitable response is a horrified: "Why aren't you married?"

You see, a Russian girl has no problems with a middle-aged guy being drunk in a nightclub and trying to pick up girls 15 years younger than him. That's normal. But a 37 year old guy not being married? That's truly fucking strange.

One of my acquaintances, English Groupie J, has since she was 15 years old made most of her money by banging a married rich guy with three kids -- one in particular, but of course there are others when she needs extra money for a trip to Cuba or Dubai or whatever.

"If I met a guy your age," she said to me once, "who wasn't married, I'd think there must be something wrong with him."

"Amazing," I said. "And yet you think there's nothing wrong with a married guy banging a younger girl while his wife sits home with the kids. Astounding."

She looked at me -- as they all do -- like she had no fucking idea what I was talking about.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Great Halloween Swindle

About ten days ago, the wife of English Teacher R, who works as a television journalist, called me and asked if we (the foreign teachers) were having a Halloween party this year.

"I don't know," I admitted. "Maybe we will."

"I need you to," she said, "Please, please, please. I want to do a TV program about Halloween."

"Well," I said, "Are you sure you want to make a program about one of our parties? They're pretty, uh, well, not very photogenic. A bunch of drunken middle-aged men, and a bunch of goofy English groupies. . ."

"No, there can't be any girls. Only foreigners."

"Now, that would look even WORSE, wouldn't it, a bunch of middle-aged men sitting around celebrating Halloween alone! What the hell are you thinking?" I yelled.

"SHUT UP!" she screamed. (She and I tend to communicate quite naturally by shouting and insulting each other. She dislikes me since I was always English Teacher R's excuse for his heavy drinking and not going home.) "I know best. I work on TV. I just need some shots of you and your colleagues in costumes, and an interview with you about Halloween."

"No fucking way. Why would my colleagues put on costumes and come sit around somewhere there were no women? It's ridiculous!"

"The girls can come later!"

Anyway, we wangled and argued about this for quite a while. I offered her two options: either I would come over alone, or possibly with one confederate, and it could look like I was preparing for a party, or perhaps with careful editing, even having a party. Or, we could actually have a party, which would necessitate inviting about eight or nine of my unattractive, drunken, middle-aged colleagues and various of their girlfriends, as well as a few girls I know.

After some consultation with another girl we know -- a girl who happens to have inherited a three-room apartment from her grandmother -- she decided we could have a real party, at this girl's flat, as long as I allowed myself to be interviewed, filmed buying a pumpkin, decorated the apartment, and allowed portions of the party to be filmed -- specifically, some halloween games like bobbing for apples or Dead Man's Body Parts of the like.

I was actually excited -- we'd had a couple of really good Halloween parties in the past, but hadn't in a few years, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show the new guys that the increasingly hostile and yuppie-snotty environs of Vodkaberg could actually be fun and amicable to foreigners again.

I shoulda fucking known. . .

So I was filmed buying a pumpkin. I planned a whole list of Halloween games and activities, and even, to that extent, managed to get people who don't normally come to our drunken vomit-festivals to attend. I decorated the girl's apartment with paper spiders, bats, and skeletons, and made cobwebs out of strings and a "corpse" dummy out of old clothes, and ghosts out of plastic bags. All the guests -- 10 to 15 people, I can't remember how many, and they were coming and going in shifts -- arrived between 9 and 10 pm.

I was dressed as Wolverine from the X-Men, with claws made out of tinfoil and cardboard. Some of the other guests didn't wear costumes, but with paper, make-up, tinfoil, and plastic bags, I managed to get everybody into some kind of costume or another after they arrived.

The camera guy filmed a lot of this, and then after they finished filming all the interviews and games and stuff, at around 12:30 am, the girl who owned the apartment asked us all to leave.

Now, of course, our Socttish colleague was drunk and acting stupid, but I had WELL WARNED English Teacher R's wife, and she well knows anyway, that my colleagues are a bunch of drunken bums, and the agreed upon fee for doing all the stupid interviewing and allowing ourselves to be filmed looking like jackasses would be A REAL PARTY.

Of course people were drunk and acting stupid. A couple of drinks got spilled, but it's not like we smashed the place up or anything.

It's fucking typical. Foreigners have gone from objects of fascination to objects of ridicule. I think the party is over here in Russia. For example, the girl who owned the flat -- I had sex with her in a storage closet of a nightclub about two hours after I met her, back in 2003. Every party where there were foreigners, she was usually dancing on a table in her underwear.

No more, baby. The party is over, everyone please leave.

I don't write about politics on this blog, but check out this article on --

OIL PRICES WILL LEAP AGAIN -- BLAME RUSSIA. Just to show that the climate is getting "officially" unwelcoming for foreigners, too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Goodbye, English Teacher Q

I urge everyone to take a look at the FINAL MESSAGE OF ENGLISH TEACHER Q, (EDIT: THIS IS NOT the original message of English Teacher Q, which was a snide and unwarranted insistance that a group of his acquaintances, including me,leave him alone forever, that he had found eternal happiness in some city in former Yugoslavia, and that he was forever snapping all ties with the past, and that we were all dead to him. This is a response to our "wake") as a good example of the kind of lunacy that descends on a person when they arrive in a new country, fall in love with a foreign woman, etc. Type #3655. You don't run away from your past, baby, it runs away from you.

Since we seem to be robbed of the privacy of email, dear old amigo:

Goodbye and God's mercy on you, you poor bastard. I've seen you try to do this at least four times, once ending in attempted suicide, once ending in jail, so don't fuck it up this time, it's probably your last chance. . . treat her right and remember that other people besides yourself exist; it might work. And watch the cheap vodka, that shit'll kill you.

P.S. It was an accidental call, apparently, not a case of somebody trying to find you.




A Few For the Foot Fetishists

Here are a couple of pictures of the Vomit Girl and her footwear, in a shout-out to all my fans in the foot-fetish community.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Weekend Full of Vomit

This weekend has been drenched in vomit. On Friday night I took some skinny drunk little blonde Russky dyevooshka clubkid home, and she promptly vomitted all over the bed. Luckily I managed to go out and get a bowl before she puked up again. It was amazingly non-substantive vomit -- she probably hadn't eaten anything solid for days, and it was just a brown combination of bile and B-52s. (This girl, who weighed maybe 100 pounds, including her massive head of hair, consumed in my sight 3 cognacs, 2 whiskeys, a Miller, and 3 flaming B-52s. This in about an hour and a half.)

Then last night -- Sunday -- I got home at about nine pm, and immediately fell ill with food poisoning (or something) and spent most of the night shaking with fever between bouts of vomitting and dhiarrhea.

Sigh. . .

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Work Hard, Work Harder

The other day me and another teacher got a ride to a language school exhibition with one of the young women who works in the administration of the school. We were surprised when she picked us up in a new Toyota SUV.

"Damn, I wish I got your salary," joked the other teacher to the pretty administration girl, who is a former artistic gymnist.

"My boyfriend bought me this. He's very rich," she added, unnecessarily. We know there's virtually no way she'd go out with a guy who wasn't. Like many Russian girls of the Glasnost era -- she's about 26 -- she was taught by her parents to find a rich husband by any means necessary. Her salary at our Language school is probably no more than $300 a month or so. That might cover her make-up money every month, but not much else.

"Nice," we agreed.

"But you don't know how hard I worked for this," she said, without a trace of self-consciousness or humour.

The other teacher and I simultaneously crapped ourselves.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Fell In A Hole

Remember how, a couple of posts back, I mentioned the open manholes frequently found in the streets of Vodkaberg, and how dangerous they are?

Well, I fell in one the other night.

Not actually my whole body, just one leg and hip, actually, and somehow I managed not to hurt myself, other than a slight bruise on my knee.

If I fall in a hole, but don't hurt myself, does that make me lucky, or unlucky?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Almost Get My Ass Kicked Again

One again I almost got my ass kicked last night. We went to the nightclub on a rare mid-week absinthe binge, and this incredibly good-looking Kazakh girl with very large breasts started dancing with me.

After about ten pleasant minutes, along comes this shaved-head tracksuited Neandrethal and places himself between us.

Drunk, I shouted in Russian, "WHAT DO YOU WANT, HOOLIGAN??!!"

He started taking off his tracksuit top -- I guess he didn't want to get my blood on it -- and his posse of goons started flanking me. The girl pushed him away and started trying to talk to him.

Fortunately one of my colleagues was wise enough to go call the security guards.

"I don't understand this, he's not my boyfriend, he's not my husband," said the girl. She then went over and talked to him and he became all morose and they started hugging.

Then one of her female friends came over and grabbed me and started dancing with me.

Russian girls. Dare to dare.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Work Hard, Play Hard

My friend, one of my nutty Russian female acquaintances, has a job at a place that sells contracts for a home water delivery company -- the five liter bottle kind of thing. She works for one week, about 12 hours a day, and then has a week off. (She is paid the grand total of about $200 a month for this, like most unskilled laborers of this sort.)

This isn't an uncommon sort of work pattern for shop clerk type work -- I inquired to her as to why this strange schedule might be popular, and she said that it was because when Russians have days off, they like to get drunk for a few solid days.

Having a day off here and there wouldn't be enough. They need a week to get shitfaced.

Isn't that cool?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Stupid Engineers

So we've been meeting a lot of American and English engineers in town working on various projects, usually related to oil.

A lot of them are really stupid, I've found. Yet they make, what, 10 or 20 times more money than I do. And a lot of them are drunk all the time, too. . .

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

English Teacher X's Advice Column

I don't really get that many emails; the odd seasoned veteran offering his seal of approval for the site, occasionally, but more often a newbie asking for advice. I got the following email in August:

* * *

Hello X

long time reader first time caller...

Just wanted to say you insired me for a
mediocre life to wanna teach in Moscow!

My friend equally took inspiration, but his
spin on the colour wheel put both feet in Kiev.

if you wanna laugh at an amateur!

I arrive in 2 weeks... wish me luck!
I will email you if I need any age advice
and please comment on my site some time!

(signed, new fish)

* * *

I offered some vague congratulations, and I think maybe my usual warning that however bad he thought it was going to be, it would likely be worse, and then got the following in the middle of September

* * *

so here I am in Moscow....

it is different than I expect and also what I excpetd
- the russian paradox.

I am getting into teaching but I think now that I am here
I understand you that little bit better...

tell me your ideas and opinions of private students - what would you charge in dollars and roubles nadn in what situations.

Tell me a little about your experiences...

English Teacher Newbie

* * *

I wrote back and told him some reasonable prices to charge (and under what circumstances.)

I got this email yesterday:

* * *

Yo X

What is the go with the weirdass back to front
indirect way that things are done in achools??!
I swear that drunk off her head - my grandmother
could organise a better shopping list thatn these
twits can organise a business...

I used to read your blog and laugh and enjoy the ho\umour -
but it aint funny when it is in my face on a daily basis
and I can't do shit about it.

... and women - faark they are odd here. you speak very plainly
and directly and they still don't get it, half of em cant get
outta their own way and the other half dunno what the way is...

suffice it to say (I) put on some bold moves on the weekend and
was frustrated badly by the target.

Please send me some age wisdom, or an ak47 please....

I think you said it or i read it somewhere - the first stage is
wonderment of all that is going on in a new contry, the second is
acceoptance and anger - at the way things work, the third is acceptance....

I am hangin for the third man - geez I am farkin angry and frustrased!

Advice please!

* * *

Didn't have much advice to give him, except some sort of Zen claptrap about "rid yourself of all expectations and hope, and you will probably be pleasantly surprised." And failing that, I suggested he get a hooker.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Normal Night's Drinking (with Hospitalization)

A new teacher arrived last Friday. He joined us for a few beers after work. (I think we had about six.) Then we went to the cheap nightclub, and had an absinthe each and a couple of beers.

He was quiet during all this, but seemed perfectly copacetic as he downed the alchol. I think he did finally decline a final beer --

then he sat down and started vomitting.

The security guards escorted him out.

He puked some more, then collapsed onto the ground.

We got him upright and English Teacher A began to escort him home.

I went home and went to sleep.

When I woke up around noon the next day, there were about fifteen calls from English Teacher A on my call register, that I hadn't heard. Apparently the new teacher, collapsed in English Teacher A's hallway, had begun screaming and convulsing, so English Teacher A eventually called an ambulance.

So the guy was hospitalized.


I'm hoping this is a sign of a pre-existing medical condition, and not a sign that we are drinking amounts of alcohol that would be dangerous to a normal human.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dr. Pepper and Moonshine

They don't sell Dr. Pepper in Russia (anymore -- I'm told they did for a short time, but it was not well-received.) There is, however, a local version of it called "Baikal" -- at least it tastes fairly similiar.

I have long heard of something called "samogon" which is not a Japanese giant monster but is in fact home-made herb-infused vodka. I'd never tried it, but I asked a colleague who often travels to her girlfriends village to get some for me.

She presented me a few months ago with a plastic bottle filled with murky yellowish liquid and also one large red pepper and a whirling interior cloud of mint flakes.

I was afraid to try it until last Monday. I had one shot of it, and my head exploded, showering the walls with bloody chunks of brain. My corpse staggered about for a few moments, then burst into flames, incinerating everything in the room.

However, I didn't have anything to drink in the house tonight as I watch the bootleg DVD of CLERKS 2 that I bought last Sunday, so I've mixed a few fingers of samogon with some Baikal soda.

Each sip is like drinking a spicy glass of Drano. I don't think I'll have sinus problems for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Masturbating to ROADHOUSE

Looking at the last entry, I was afraid the the phrase "masturbate to ROADHOUSE" might have been one that I had read somewhere else, like on MADDOX or somehwere --

But a search on Google reveals no less than eleven hits for "masturbate to ROADHOUSE." Ewwwww! Gross. None on Maddox's site, though.

Apparently during the fight I didn't come away unscathed -- I found a lump on my head, near the temple -- man, I hope I don't have any drain bamage.

HAHAHAHAhahahahrmm hrmpf . . now that joke I derinitely stole from somebody -- a guy I went to college with.

Monday, September 25, 2006

TEFL Nightmares

I was just informed that I passed my DELTA Course. I am now a SuperTeacher. Please do not look at me directly when you address me.

Funny, because I had a dream last night that I completely fucked up the final teaching test -- over thirty students who I didn't know showed up for the final class, and we had to change classrooms, which was crammed full of desks in was necessary to arrange, which took forever. Then I couldn't find a marker that worked. Then the students in the back wouldn't stop talking together, and I didn't have enough photocopies. . . finally students were making rude comments and walking out the back.

(The reality of my final teaching test was quite different -- in fact, we almost didn't have the mandatory minimum of students. There were a few classes vaguely similiar to the nightmare back in New York, however.)

I woke up in a cold sweat.

And I'm really fucking ashamed of myself by being panicked by such a pointless dream. Of all the scary things in the world, from biological terrorism to cannibalistic hillbillies to castration to killer stingrays, I have a nightmare about failing the DELTA. Shit.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Bar Fight

So I went out with last night and got in a bar fight. Rather silly, actually. We
had smoked a lot of pot, as well as drinking a lot, and I was trying to
talk to some girl, and looked up and I saw my colleague English Teacher A being fronted by some guy -- a rather tall, biggish guy.

I still don't know what this was all about -- I guess it had something to do with one of the girls we had gone there with --or why I suddenly decided to jump on his back and try to choke him, but after a brief skirmish I found myself on the floor. He tried to come at me and his testicles ran directly into my foot, which rather cooled
him on the idea of fighting. Then the bouncers took him out.

Interesting that they should take his side, because as I recall it, I completely attacked the guy for very little reason.

I guess I got off easier than my first bar fight, in which I ended up with a foot the size of a pumpkin, or my second, which shook me up quite a bit psychologically. My shirt collar did get torn, but it's not a shirt I like all that much.

I should say that this at one of the sleazier clubs in town -- had this happened at one of the better clubs, we would have all been methodically pounded into paste by the extremely professional bouncer squads. (These are guys who masturbate to ROADHOUSE.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Pictures

I posted some new pictures on the website just now. Rock on.

Open Manholes

I have bitched at some length about all the shopping malls and office buildings springing up in my neighborhood here in Vodkaberg, but the streets and sidewalks are still a rubbish-strewn, crumpled, collapsing mess of potholes and uneven concrete. And there are open manholes everywhere, often difficult to see because they're in the middle of vacant lots and/or hidden by either the high snow in the winter or all the overgrown shrubbery everywhere in the summer.

(Pictures, including one of open manhole.)

There is a story, perhaps an urban myth, of an English teacher working in St. Petersberg who fell down an open manhole while drunk one evening and died (either from the fall, the cold, or drowning, depending who tells you the story.)

Anyway, just as well he fell down the hole. If he'd fallen asleep in the snow, the stray dogs or rats would have eaten him.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

All Cultured And Shit

Oh sure, you may say, Vodkaberg has plenty of shopping malls now, but what about true cultural opportunities?

Not just one, but TWO will be arriving this winter.

1) Electric Light Orchestra, live at the Philharmonic
2) A-Ha, live at the Sports Arena

Man, I wonder if ELO will play anything off the "Xanadu" soundtrack. I'm taking my roller-skates.

Also, I got on the tram today and sitting in one of the front seats was a young guy bleeding profusely from a scalp-wound. He was fucking gushing the stuff. Not sure if he was drunk or had been beaten up . . . but of course, people on the tram, including the ticket-taker, had no idea what to do about the situation, other than stay well enough away from him not to get bled on.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tanks For The Memories

Well, looks like there's been another military coup in Thailand. It's no big deal though because the King always tells them to back off after they gun down a few hundred innocent civilians.

Probably because of that goofball English teacher that confessed to the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Reprecussions which shook up the government.

Man, I wonder if you can still buy beer during a military coup. I remember when the King's mother died back in the 90's, you couldn't legally drink for three days. Which didn't mean you couldn't buy beer, you just had to put it in a glass and hide the bottle under the table.

Oh, I posted a new cartoon on the website, too. Hopefully start updating the sight more, since my dozens of fans are clamoring for it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Golden Age of Staying Home

I tell you -- I honestly can't understand why anyone would travel of their own free will in this day and age. Okay, well, business and whatnot, topping off the war chests, that I understand. But why would ANYONE willingly subject themselves to modern-day travel, which is something similiar to being trapped in a shopping mall for endless, indefinite amounts of time, except that you're subject to cavity searches and being ripped to pieces by bombs?

I mean, I did most of my travelling in the 90's -- it was still stupid then, granted, but at least then there were a few pluses --

1) People in other countries still liked Americans
2) There were still places in the third-world where accomodation and food was really cheap.
3) There were no internet booking agencies, and no Expedia and no Easyjet, so it took at least a slight modicum of gumption to go somewhere -- you needed to actually go around a city looking for a room and stuff, at least. Now any moron with a few hundred bucks can do it, no matter how basically unadventurous they are. . .
4) Tourist nightclubs, hotels, trains, buses and planes were not randomly and routinely blown up by Al-Queida
5) Going through an airport did not involve a background check and a CAT scan
6) There were no STARBUCKS coffee shops, anywhere in the world except America.


Friday, September 15, 2006

. . . and then he walked away, never to return

Well. . . hundreds of photocopies, dozens of pages of essays, hours and hours and hours spent hunched over the computer, a good ten or so coma-inducing books I had to read, and 10 hours of assessed classes later. . .

I'm finished.

I think I passed. If I didn't, I will only return to London to hunt down and kill painfully every person involved in this program.

Something of a sense of anti-climax, of course. One expects a moment of truth, but it turns out to be just another day.

I'm off to get drunk! Y'all take care.

Friday, September 08, 2006

If the stingrays got Steve Irwin, what chance do the rest of us have?

A very particular hell is reserved for all of us, of this I have no doubt, and the one waiting for English Teacher X would be very much like the one that I am now experiencing.

Forced to chop up endless pieces of paper, make detailed lesson plans, dig through tons of resource books and cut out picture after picture from magazines and such, tightly controlled drills and every class moment accounted for. . .


But I'll bullshit my way through it. I always do. Although if English Teacher X still had any balls, I'd go into my final class and talk about the phonemics of porno sounds, the various grammatical forms of FUCK and do a reading exercise based on Chuck Palahuniak's GUTS story. See if I could make somebody faint.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

London Calling

I was originally a bit hesitant when I saw the neighborhood I'll be staying in during my time here in London. It's one of the few un-re-gentrified areas of the East End, Hackney, in an area in which I hear very little English and see very few Anglo-Saxon faces. There are immigrants from China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Jamaica, Africa, and India, and a lot of barbershops that seem to cater solely to one nationalitiy, a lot of fast-food restaurants with names like 'Bess Bite Takeaway' and 'Perfect Fried Chicken'and a lot of signs warning about CCTV cameras watching you. There are also occasional signs asking for anyone with information about this-or-that stabbing to come forward, and something of a propoganda blitz of goodwill posters, which I'm noticing is typical of London. " I love Hackney! 800 new officers on foot patrol this year!"

Yes, I was initially hesitant, until I spent a few hours wandering around central London, in the swirling seething mass of touristy, globalvillage, hipsterdoofus, yuppie shoppingmalls.

Terrified, I retreated into a Borders bookshop and read graphic novels (comic books, to you uninititated) for an hour, then retreated back to the third world, where I'm more comfortable.

Actually it's not that bad. Compard to Vodkaberg, I'm sure it's safe as houses. The people in the shops have been very nice to me, anyway.

The place I'm staying is a tiny and not especially nice, but it's hardly the worst, or even the smallest, dump I've ever stayed in. It's a 'student residence' with a fabulous view of the Hackney housing estates across the street.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Unfortunate Position of Having to Give a Damn

I'm in the unfortunate position on having to give a damn about something, and have been for some time now -- I've been doing a DELTA course on a part-time basis for nearly three years now, staying home on weeknights (well, some of them, anyway) to write papers about Phonemics and Gerunds and Phrasal Verbs and such.

Tomorrow I'm going off to London to finish the fucker off once and for all.

It's high noon at the OK Corrall man. . .

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Just Another Tuesday

On the way home from work today -- a meandering route that saw me meeting with my latest main squeeze for a bit of fooling around -- I think virtually every person that I saw was drinking beer. It's a mild night and the number of people lounging around with beer on park benches and street corners was . . . inspiring. Really.

Encroaching shopping malls or no, this place still rocks out.

Course I saw a couple of big-ass rats, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Summer Clearance! Big Savings!

So you see these thugs in their Adidas tracksuits, but you never think about them going out to buy them. There was a 50% off sale at the Adidas sports shop, I went in there to check it out, and there were all these shaved-head, no-neck thugs in their picking out track suits.

It tickled me for some reason.

Back in 2000 when I first got here, Vodkaberg was seriously lacking in shopping options. There were basically only two shopping centers, which mostly just had piles of low-quality, overpriced clothes from Turkey and China. Most people that could afford it went to Moscow to shop.

Now, however, the place is crawling with new modern shopping malls -- at least seven or eight of them. Even have a food court at one of them. Progress, they call it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What More Evidence Do You Need?

Well, I see they've arrested the alledged murderer of JonBenet Ramsey in Thailand. He was apparently working there as a teacher. He's being sent back to the US for trial now, having confessed.

Suppose there are a lot of jokes to make about his profession of choice, but I can't decide on the best one. "Well, should have left him there to teach! It would have been a far worse punishment than prison!" or perhaps, "That's water finding its own level, eh?" or maybe, "Sure he's guilty! What more evidence do you need?!"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Meat Loaf, Waterslides, Boobies. . . THE GAME!

The problem with having women around all the time is that you don't have enough time to jack off.

I was just looking at some stuff on the Internet about Neil Strauss, author of THE GAME, which I haven't read but I guess is some sort of book about how to pick up chicks, and groups of people who spend all their time doing so, thinking about doing so, and then teaching others to do so, for a small fee.

Good lord, I thought. Have these people never heard of jacking off?

Let me tell you about THE GAME:

Tonight I got stood up by a big-breasted blonde trollop. Actually, she invited HERSELF out on a date with me, and then stood me up. Pretty brazen, hmm.

I had sex with her a couple of weeks ago; the story of how I ended up sleeping with her was thus:

English Teacher A cooked cannoloni for English Teacher P and I one Sunday a few weeks ago, and we of course had a bottle of vodka for desert, and watched MEAT LOAF: LIVE IN MELBOURNE on DVD, and then just sort of rocked out, we bunch of middle-aged men -- I'm 37, ETA is 40, ETP is 52 -- dancing around to Pink Floyd and the Stones.

Then I got a call from this bimbo, who I'd met at a nightclub a few weeks previously, inviting me to the beach. (She'd made a date with me "to study English" a few days previously, but cancelled at the last minute because she was having her monthlies. Subtle, eh?)

ETP said he was going to tag along, with the express intention of ruining my date. "Do your damndest," I said. "I don't have a good time -- I AM a good time!"

And, when we arrived at the beach, it was as I suspected -- she was surrounded by gorillas. Her friends were all security guards at the nightclub she worked at, and they were all even drunker than we were. She was jumping around on the beach in her bathing suit, and her breasts kept popping out of her top. She dragged me into the water for some making out and such, while ETP blathered away with all the gorillas, who were as usual impressed to meet a foreigner.

Feeling he needed more stimulation, I then forced ETP to go down the water slide on the beach a few times. This was great fun for both of us.

After the sun went down, we eneded up at a cafe -- me, ETP, the trollop and one gorilla -- smoking a Turkish water pipe. The trollop asked me to escort her to the toilet, and after she went, said, "Why don't we just go back to your place?" Which of course we did. We went inside and without even turning on the light, she immediately began removing her clothes and laid down on the bed. We had technically proficient but ultimately pretty boring sex -- porno movie sex -- everybody going through the motions but pretty much bored shitless.
I'll be happy to teach anyone how to pick up chick and have such a satisfying existence -- just send me like $50 or so.

I'm happy that she stood me up, actually, because I can now peacefully sit home and drink beer, and jack off, and not worry about being sleepless all night because her sweaty-ass naked body is laying next to mine all night. And I can fart whenever I feel like it.

Meat Loaf rocks!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Toxic Vodka Syndrome

So everybody says, "Oh, wow, you live in Russia, must be a lot of good vodka there."

No. There isn't.

Vitually every nightclub sells not vodka but an incredibly toxic mix of methlyated spirit plus water. (If you're lucky you get ethylated spirit plus water, which is a bit better for you.) I suppose for the price (less than 50 cents) you can't complain -- unless you consider the many side effects, ranging from blindness to instant death, impotence and brain damage. Most of the vodka you buy at kiosks and a lot of the vodka you buy in supermarkets is the same shit -- spirit plus water, with distillation being only a distant dream.

We went to one of the better nightclubs in town last week and drank 2 shots of vodka apiece, which rendered us all violently ill, with puking in one other teacher's case and fever and extreme nausea in my case.

That's why we consider absinthe a safer option.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Since the last entry brought about comments about (and perhaps allegations of) racial predjudice, let me mention a conversation I had with a student a few days ago at school.

This student had lived in St. Louis, in America, for about a year while her husband finished up a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.

She wanted to know what I thought about Mexican immigrants.

She considered it a big problem in America, that they were taking jobs away, that they worked illegally and didn’t pay taxes, that they were an un-necessary burden on the hospital system.

I pointed out that I knew of plenty of illegal Russian immigrants in New York.

“No,” she said. “It’s not possible. They have visas. Mexicans simply run across the border, how could a Russian do that?”

I replied that usually they came on a legal visa, to study or to work for a summer, but then simply stayed. (I know that most of my students in New York worked illegally, and I’ve heard that about 30 percent of Russians who visit the U.S. on a temporary visa don’t come back. Not sure if that statistic is true.) They too worked illegally, and didn’t pay taxes.

“Well, but they have educations. They have degrees and training. Like my husband, he has two higher educations and he is going to work for Google.”

“So I’m supposed to feel better that they take the good jobs away from Americans, rather than the bad jobs?”

The conversation ended inconclusively shortly thereafter. Anyway, somebody in New York told me that percentage-wise, the highest number of illegal immigrants to America are the Irish.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Far Too Long, Far Far Too Long

Among the many other signs that I've been in this place too long:

I saw a former student from a few years ago the other day; I asked her what she was doing now and she said, "I'm living in Paris now."

I thought, "Jesus Christ, who the fuck would want to live in Paris, would you could be living here?"

Here -- grimy provincial Russia. As opposed to a world capital of culture and history like Paris.

But I stand by the thought. Might be fun to sit on the roof and watch the African and Arab rioters burn stuff, but other than that, I'm sure it's boring as hell in Paris these days.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

White Tongue, Mullets, and The Smell of Ham

My tongue turns fuzzy white when I drink alcohol. I guess everyone's tongue gets a bit gooey when they drink, but mine looks like it's covered with paste.

I was worried about this for a while. Then a friend told me it's just a way the body rids itself of toxins, like ear wax and sweat, and nothing to particularly worry about.

I remain uncomforted. Meanwhile I kiss girls with a white tongue oozing toxins.

We went to the nightclub last night. Mullets have become extremely popular in Russia, probably due to mulleted popstar Dima Vilan taking third place in the Eurovision song contest. His rather conservative Mick Jagger-esqe mullet has only proved to be a starting point for some of the more ambitious men about town -- we have some real Billy Ray Cyrus/professional wrestler mullets around here now, man. Some mid-south circa 1983 mullets.

Really takes me back. It's a fucking nightmare.

I talked to a lot of different girls, but they all smelled like ham.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Morning Big Mac and Brewskis

So we came out of the nightclub at like 7:00am, like we often do on Saturday mornings, and there were some drunk bimbos outside. It ended up we invited them -- or they invited us -- to go down to the beach.

Already bright at sunny at that time, I was rather surprised how many people there were around at that time of the morning. And some of them had actually gotten up early, rather than staying up all night.

None of the cafes were open down there, but fortunately a security guard who had a trunk full of Baltika 7's sold us some. We sat on the beach with the girls until their Gremlinish chattering and giggling grew too much to bear, and we fled to McDonalds.

Anyway, my point: we went to McDonald's when it opened at 9:00am. But they didn't have any breakfast food. Just the usual menu. (I've run across this a time or two in other countries, too.)

Is there really such a market for Big Macs and fries at 9:00am? Suppose so. There were a few other people in there, anyway.

Certainly cut my hangover in half, I'll say that.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Uterus Colds

In Russia there are several weird health beliefs, the primary one being a terrible fear of drafts. I futilely try to explain that viruses and bacteria cause illness, but no, students even on warm days are rather frightened of open windows.

Another involves sitting on cold rocks. This is supposed to give women something they refer to as a "Uterus Cold." The similar condition in man affects the prostate.

When I doubt the veracity of this -- and I've had trained medical professionals assure me it happens -- and ask why this does not occur in other countries, they claim either that it does, but is not recognized as such, or that other countries simply aren't cold enough.

Russians also believe that spices of any sort (other than salt) are very bad for the health. (I suppose that's just Communist era propoganda, to explain why spices were unavailable.)

Then there's the belief that cold drinks are bad for the throat. Especially for children. Many is the time I have had to teach to students wishing to travel abroad the phrase "I would like the juice to be room temperature, please." (I suppose in areas where there are a lot of Russian tourists, the intelligent restauranteur would be wise to keep a few warm drinks lying around.)

More palatably, warm beer is considered to be good for sore throats, and vodka with salt and pepper in it is considered a sure-fire flu remedy. Maybe, maybe not, but it at least makes it more enjoyable to be ill.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I Survive Another Russian Wedding

Another one of my colleagues got hauled to the hitching post last weekend; again, he knew her a bit less than a year. (But at least this one isn't pregnant.)

Ah, the pure, energetic idiocy of a Russian wedding. The bride's mother was dressed in a dress that looked like some sort of weird disco ball and had her tits pushed up under her chin. There were middle-aged women diancing around to Russian disco music from the 70's, men doing traditional folk dances, a few young slatterns shaking their ta-tas, and of course me, English Teacher A and English Teacher P, drunk as motherfuckers.

ETP invited some band he knew to play at the wedding -- a group called Shannon, two Russian guys who dress like Scotsmen but play traditional Irish music. As it turned out, he didn't have money to pay them, having mistakenly assumed they'd do it as a favor. So the bride and groom had to break into their wedding cash to do so. (It was like $600 or something, but ETP claims he'll pay them back.) ETA, his face glowing like a beacon from all the vodka (and cognac and beer and champagne and absinthe) he'd drunk, responded by charging onto the stage and telling them their kilts were all wrong.

Afterwards we for some reason went to the nightclub until 6:30am -- I think we just wanted to show off our ties -- and then the next day, at 11:30 there was a day-long boat trip up the Volga with the bride and groom and thirty of their friends.

In the three hours I was asleep, I somehow managed to get up and pee on the rug in the living room, and destroy the remote control for my DVD player in the process.

The boat trip was nice though, sadly I have no pictures of this, I sometimes forget how scenic the region around here really is. I banged one of the bridesmaids in the ships storage area, after a day of idiocy on the beach including being Shanghaid into participating in a beachside drag show dressed in a Marilyn Monroe mask and plastic boobies. Scary.

I bought a T-Shirt today that says on the front "Better to have loved and lost. . ."
and on the back ". . . than to be stuck with a psycho for the rest of your life."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Weekend Decompression

I posted a new case study on the website. Go to the website -- and you can access it from the first page.

Fortunately it was grey and rainy today, giving me a perfect excuse to stay home and watch DVDs and drink beer. Decompressing from my weekends is a serious and tricky business -- one needs to gently taper off with the beer on Sunday to avoid too massive a hangover on Monday or nightsweats and sleeplessness.

Thanks, by the way, to the people who left the kind (or at least interested) comments in the previous post. Believe me, I'm starting to feel plenty embarrassed about keeping a website and blog, in this era in which everyone seems ecstatic to meander on about every tedious detail of their lives. . .

Fuel-Injected Suicide Machine

Our new Colombian buddy left yesterday. That's kind of the thing about English teaching -- you have more "Hello"s than most people, but you also have a lot more "Goodbye"s.

Saw a cop pepper-spray a drunk beligerent guy out near one of the markets this afternoon. They were remarkably calm about the whole business -- my comprehension of Russian is far from perfect but it seemed as if he said something very much like, "Ow, hey, shit, man, what did you do that for? That hurts!" and the cop said something like, "Hey, I told you to stop shouting."

Both realizing he might well have just shot him in the face or something.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Remember When All of This Used To Be Abandoned Buildings

Vodkaberg is rapidly changing from a sort of ghostly, decrepit city with an abundance of abandoned buildings, factories, and old wooden houses to a prosperous and cosmopolitan sort of place with all sorts of modern shoping centers and new apartment buildings.

It sucks.

My favorite abandoned buildings, over by the pirate DVD market, is now being demolished. (You can read about my discovery of it in the old Angelfire blog, about June 2005.) The pre-fab concrete is being dismantled in sections by Tajikistani workers, who are living on the premises. They've cleaned up the waste grounds and drained the swampy type thing.

Oh well. You can't stop progress, I suppose. Well, you can, but you need more resources than I have. Atomic bombs and such. Lab-bred viruses, electro-magnetic pulse weapons. And genetically modified wolverines. With acid for blood.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lots Of Sex, But Not Much For Me

Last weekend was pretty degenerate, even by degenerate standards. This new Colombian guy is a walking testosterone bomb.

And he's in the enviable position of being paid nearly $13,000 a month for doing not much of anything here in Vodkaberg -- although he pointed out that his ex-wife and kids get $4000 of that, and taxes are nearly $4000 as well, so technically speaking he's only making about 5 times what I do, not 13. ( I suppose he did probably go to school longer and get more training and all that, of course. But he's only 31. Criminey.)

I don't know all the technical details of what he does, of course, but he apparently designed something for oil drilling equipment and came here from Siberia to present the plans to a company here to see if they wanted to try it; the company is trying to decide if they want to sign the contracts and when they want to start the project. So for several weeks he's just been rockin' out with half the chicks in town, at full salary, in a four room $900 a month flat provided to him by the company.

As an example, on Sunday he had sex with no less than three women during the course of the day -- it's said that one enters the Hound Dog Hall of Fame for banging three different girls on three different days; but 3 in 24 hours really puts you in the Master Class.

Curious as to the details of this I'm sure you are, so let me explain. He on Saturday night went out with some blonde chick he met in a nightclub -- had sex with her twice that night and then again once in the morning. In the afternoon, after that one left, another girl that he's been having sex with came over with one of her friends and got drunk with him and pretty obviously intended to have a three-way with him -- they were lezzing out and kissing and all that.

However, I guess the friend got shy about the serious girl-girl stuff and went in to take a shower while he was having sex with the other one.

At that point he called me and invited me over. I was a little puzzled as to why he wouldn't want them both to himself, until I saw his plan; stick me running interference with the one while he banged the new friend. (Apparently the one he's been banging has quite a crush on me, as bizarre as this sounds.)

So that's pretty much what transpired. He managed to get them seperated and did the friend. I made a very half-hearted effort to have sex with mine -- this before I knew the Colombian had had sex with her once already that day, by the way -- but she wanted to talk about philosophy and life and stuff. (I reckon now she had a post-coital depression sort of thing -- something the Colombian does not seem to suffer from.)

All my sexual experiences these weekend were profoundly unsuccessful -- I met a really good-looking blonde with big breasts and was having sex with her at about six in the morning at a friend's house (difficult enough!) and she suddenly realized she was late for work and lept up and raced away, leaving me with nothing but rosy palm.

Then the next day I was having sex with another girl that I've gone out with a few times (not pictured) after a full night of cheap beer and absinthe, and had to get up and vomit during the act -- motion sickness I suppose. Not exactly the most romantic of gestures. Could have been worse I guess, I could have puked on her face.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blood and Sluts

I forgot to mention that on Sunday, during the slutty teenage chick dancing contest, in which you had various slanky young babes dancing around in their bras, sliding around the brass pole, making out with each other and such, two guys -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- got into a fight. One guy slugged another one in the face with a beer glass.

Blood was everywhere. Mostly from the guys nose, I don't think he was hurt all that badly, because he was still ready to go when the bouncers came up and dragged them away , but man, there was a huge amount of blood on the dancefloor.

They have a pretty good cleaning staff there and them came up with mops and spread the blood around in big colorful swoops until it finally went away.

Just another holiday Sunday in Vodkaberg.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Universal Solvent vs. Absinthe and Lewd Dancing

I think I might have to break down and get a phone with a camera in it; it really would have come in handy this weekend. At The House of Pain, the nightclub we favor, they have a sort of amateur strip-show/ lude dancing/ teenage-girls-looking-for- attention contest and I was standing there thinking, man, wish I had a camera while everybody else was making videos with their telephones.

We met a guy from Colombia the other night too, in town for a couple weeks doing something related to engineering for an oil company. He wasn't exactly the epitome of what you think of as Colombian -- his hair was lighter than mine is now and he had a goatee and a little ponytail, was a bit chubby and was wearing a Simpsons t-shirt. Nonetheless, he had at least the soul of a Latin smoothie so he was fun to hang out with.

I ended up going out of the club with one of the little hotties from the lude dancing show, but nothing happened, we just went to a cafe and drank like three liters of water -- she was dehydrated from all the dancing and I was dehydrated from all the absinthe I'd been drinking.

Went to bed at 8:00am and woke up around 1:00pm feeling surprisingly fresh -- that universal solvent really does the trick.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Build Up

So when I worked in New York in 1997 the big deal was all the Russians who were over there working as construction workers. They worked for a lot less than their American counterparts and so had broken the back of the construction unions and pretty much taken over.

Here in Russia, most builders come from Tajikstan. (The architects and managers are Turkish, for some reason, I suppose their language is more similiar to Tajik.)

This makes me wonder who's building the houses in Tajikstan. U.N. aid missions and the Peace Corps, probably.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Traffic Jam

So, just in case you're wondering, my site still continues to languish in obscurity; no more than an average of about 30 hits a day. I think some sites get more hits than that just by accident.

However, doing a google search for englishteacherx reveals that I'm now linked on a message board related to foot fetishism; apparently they're interested in my pictures of Russian girls footware (which can be found in the photos section on

I'm anxiously awaiting the influx of foot fetishists. I think they'll get a lot out of this site.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Shit!

I posted a new story and a teacher tip on the website today. ( I also started a MySpace account a few months ago, mainly just so I could look at all the pictures of teenage girls in their underwear. ( I think myspace is pretty stupid, but it's definitely the most efficient way of looking at teenage girls in their underwear, except perhaps for the Sears Christmas catalogue.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Please Breath Into The Straw, Teacher

Just imagine this bullshit -- at work, they gave us a list of things we weren't supposed to do a few weeks ago, (as I wrote about on my website), including "Don't come to class drunk" and "Don't leave the room during class" etc. Stupid, but I signed it.

THEN yesterday, they gave us ANOTHER list of things to sign. This was in the form of a three page contract regarding things we were forbidden to do and were responsible for, describing them in great detail. There was a lot of overlap, and a lot of basic stuff like "Teachers are forbidden to use the photocopier during class hours," and be on time to class, etc.

But among the others was the following: "Teachers are forbidden to come to work under the influence of alcohol. If teachers arrive with vapors on their breath, they will be taken to the appropriate authorities and given a breath test. IF TEACHERS FAIL THE BREATH TEST, THEIR CONTRACT AND VISA SUPPORT WILL BE TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY AND THEY WILL BE GIVEN 48 HOURS TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY."

This was so histrionic, I went to the management and ridiculed the whole document, scribbling approximately fifteen or so reasons why the whole document and the school in general were completely ridiculous.

They just sort of said, "Oh, it's just something for head office; don't worry about those points too much. You're right."

Anyway, by way of civil disobedience today we drank beer in the parking lot. (It was a student's birthday, and as they often do, the student brought cake and alcoholic drinks for everyone.)

There was also something about clothes that were unacceptable -- sheer tops and spaghetti-strap tops were both mentioned. Oh, damn it. And sandals.

So we're all wearing sandals tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Times They Are A Changin'

There was a quote in the 1996 edition LONELY PLANET of Russia that I had along the lines of "Socailly, in Russia, it's like the sixties -- a time of tremendous change, loosening of mores, and rebellion. The Summer of Love has just begun."

You'd see that sort of phrase pop up occasionally in articles about Russia -- "The Sexual Revolution" was frequently mentioned, and in fact there was a popular song of that name back in 2001 or 2002, the video of which featured lots of bondage and transvestism -- in fact a dominatrix riding on the back of a guy in a Lenin mask.

Cetainly I saw signs of this -- loads of lesbian chic, a distinct casualness regarding marital fidelity, gays acting more openly, etc.

(Peripherally, of course, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases skyrocketed, but I was fortunate not enough to experience that.)

A friend had come across that expression in a news article on Russia and asked if it was true that it was like the 60's there.

"Well," I considered. "More like 1978 - 1982. People still do it, and get a sleazy kick out of it, but nobody thinks there's anything particularly great about it anymore. It's Ron Jeremy and Traci Lords time."

Anyway, so we all fucked like bunnies for a while there.

Things seem to vaguely different now however -- with all the new shopping centers and health clubs, the high oil prices and all the new gloss and modernity, money seems to be the only aphrodesiac.

And it's now a well-known fact that English teachers have little money -- even less so now than a few years ago, thanks to inflation and the low dollar -- so no longer are we considered to be particuarly valuable partners -- only perhaps to the women most unlikely to find rich husbands here. (This is true here even in Vodkaberg, a city of 1.8 million, and has been true in Moscow and Petersberg for at least 10 years now.)

I get the impression that now it's considered to be a little embasrassing for women to have a foreign boyfriend -- like, "You desperate slut."

So let's say, spirutally and socially, it's now more like 1987 or 1988. American Psycho time. A kind of blase conservatism and shallowness. No longer are people excited about the great social changes -- they just want to spend the money.

Still and all, I suppose it's easier to get laid here than back in Bugtussle. And the girls are nicer looking by a long shot.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Good Day To Get Your Ass Kicked

Last weekend was a general citywide holiday to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the city.

It was also Paratrooper / Border Partrol day. So there were all these green-beret guys running drunk around the embankment. I saw one guy throw another guy into the glass at a bus stop; glass broke but somehow he didn't get cut, or at least not that I saw, but just got up and ran after the other guy.

All in all it's a bad day to get snippy with anybody. Fortunately, they mostly only fight each other.

They tell me it's not as bad as Special Forces day in August. Then you can really get your ass kicked.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fuck Me

There was an Armenian girl at the nightclub the other night wearing a shirt that had "fuck me" written in white letters on the back.

I went up to her and asked her if she knew what it meant.

She replied (in Russian) "Yes, I want to give the impression of a girl without prinicpals."

Well, mission accomplished, dear. She wasn't that attractive, really, so I didn't asked her if she really wanted me to fuck her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cracked Skulls

Another horrible accident last Sunday -- at the tail end of a lengthy drinking session at the embankment, one of the teachers managed to fall down the steps, go backwards over a concrete trashcan and smack his head on the pavement and knock himself unconscious.

This of course meant we had to go to the hospital, which always depresses me. The hospital in SILENT HILL has nothing on Russian hospitals. There was a guy laying on a stretcher in the hallway who looked like he'd been beaten to within an inch of his life, just covered with blood -- maybe a car accident, but i doubt it, because his right hand was heavily bandaged. And it was mostly the center of his face that was fucked up.

The doctor occasionally came out and tried to speak with him but he was too drunk to respond, if in fact his brains hadn't been beaten to jelly anyway. So they just let him lie there.

Our colleage is in for two days of observation but x-rays reveals nothing serious. Add this to the list of smashed appendages, bitten hands, severed arteries and general ass-whuppings. . . wonder nobody's been killed. Yet.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Titty Issue

This has happened to me a couple times before; I start talking to some trollop with a low-cut top on and her giant breasts pushed in my face by her Wonderbra, and she ends up saying something like, "You're looking at my breasts."

Now I usually say something like, "Now, when you put on that top, did you really think that you don't want anybody to look at your tits today?"

I've used that several times though. So this time I took off my outer shirt -- I was wearing a dress shirt over a t-shirt -- and put it over her breasts.

"Now we can have a normal conversation."

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Different Kind of Monster

People occasionally email asking, "Geez, is it really so easy to find women in Russia?"

No, it isn't.

It's easy for women to find YOU in Russia, if you don't keep your wits about you. Let's see, of approximately 15 foreigners that I know here, approximately seven of them have been chained into a realtionship with a domineering woman within a year or so, and most have been or soon will be dragged to the altar (often with a baby on the way, but not always.)

And then it's all: "Well, uh, yeah, I'd like to meet you guys, but uh. . .well, you know. . uh, well, no, next time, I promise. . . okay, gotta go. . . see you soon. . ."

And you ask most guys why they like Russian women (or Thai or Brazilian women, or whatever) and they'll say: "Because they're so much more feminine than American (or English or Canadian) women."

Ya damn right. And remember that.

As John D. MacDonald said (author of the Travis McGee detective novels) said: a woman that's 100 feminine is like a guy that's 100 percent masculine: a different kind of monster.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just Trying To Be Helpful

Everyone always accused me of often being a deliberate jerk; but it's not really true, it's just that my social skills are so inept that I often come across that way.

For example.

A friend of mine introduced me to a girl he had met a few weeks before -- "This is Irina, she's been really helpful to me," -- this guy doesn't speak much Russian, and she'd helped him do a few things he needed to do, etc, etc.

She was wearing a shirt with some Turkish writing on it.

"What does that say," I asked.

"I don't know," she replied.

"Well, you should find out. How do you know it doesn't say "I'm a big whore" or something like that?"

Well, just trying to be helpful, but she replied, "If I was a man, I'd punch you in the mouth."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam

These weird spams full of random words really freak my ass out. . . I assume that's some kind of crap to elude spam-detectors, but any William Burroughs fan can tell you that random arrangements of words are a subliminal porthole to greater knowledge. . .

Here's one I got the other day:

revolver floppy at resilient... vibration, pullover on obtain, boo? Spanish braise verify moo deformed diabolical in
mystique abridge... who sorbet semifinal, in generalization in twelve undertone in naivete of skeptically of picker whatchamacallit it loudness the and
netting beggar with skeleton a on roadkill possibility in maliciously agenda as
countenance slyly syllabi embezzlement. or
nervousness in thoughtlessness, intruder actual of
portable defer the but?! insanity condiment in?! usual a
publisher of drug an hackneyed.

Indeed! I think my revolver is floppy at resilient, and netting beggar with skeleton a on roadkill is a definite goal for the next few months.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Former Girlfriend Predicts My Future

Last May I started going out with this girl from Kazakhstan. She was with a guy when I met her, but she broke up with him on the spot. We came to my house briefly with a couple of other people to change and have a few drinks before going to a nightclub and she gave me a blowjob in the kitchen while the other people sat, rather uncomfortably, in the living room.

We went out for a few weeks, but we really didn't get along well at all -- or, I should say, we got along in bed fairly well but not really anyplace else.

We broke up several times, but then always would get horny and end up in bed again, until finally I bit the bullet and insisted that the arguing had to end once and for all, and we shouldn't see each other.

Within about three months, she was married to another guy she knew. Then she was pregnant about two months later.

She continues to send me SMS messages occasionally, berating me for not being married.

"You're going to be an old stinker!" she warned me today.

On the other hand, another acquaintance -- one of the girls from the NAKED NAUGHTY NEW YEAR story on the website -- is getting divorced, at age 22, after a year and a half of marriage. She says she'll never ask me again why I'm not married.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Punching Bag

They got a punching bag at my sports club last January, so I've been hitting it regularly for a few months now -- started out with just straight rights and left, but have gotten considerable better and am now throwing good combos, hooks, and even some pretty decents knees, elbows and kicks. (One of the teachers here used to kickbox and gave me some pointers.)

It's now become nearly an hour of my routine.

I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that because of this, every joint and knuckle I have hurt, and I am one tough, punch-throwing arthritis-ridden

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Yours Truly

God Punishes Me

Last week I went out to a club I don't usually go to, a kind of old-school Russian place where older people hang out, with zebra-skin sofas and low-level gangsters (ban-deets, as they're known here) and a lot of women in their twenties, many divorced and looking for a second husband.

I met a girl and spent the evening making out with her; turns out she was married and has a child.

Nonetheless she called me repeatedly during the week and urged meeting again.

So finally I did, on Friday. We danced a few times, she bought me some vodka, then she saw one of her husband's friends and had to run off and pretend like we weren't together.

I left the club and almost immediately stepped in a pothole while crossing the street and twisted my ankle, which is now the size of a grapefruit.

I was laid up all day and night Saturday playing old Playstation games on the Playstation 1 I bought in Thailand in 1999. Lara Croft rules.

Although a lot of those adventure games suck in retrospect. They always break down to running around looking for keys. I spend enough time looking for keys in real life.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Split Shifts Suck

For five years I worked in this fucking place and I never had to do split shifts. Classes were, almost without exception, scheduled between 4:30 and 9:30pm.

Now, suddenly, since we have like 8 or 9 teachers compared to the 2 or 3 we used to have, they begin claiming that everyone has to have split shifts, that it's no longer possible to find enough students to fill the 4:30 - 9:30 hours.


This argument would be a lot more convincing if I hadn't worked here for FIVE YEARS only in the evening.

It's the typical bullshit -- when there were only three of us, and it was hard to get new teachers in Russia, they treated us well. Now that there are lots, and plenty of fresh new applicants ready to go to Russia, and even Vodkaberg here, which is shaping up to be THE NEXT FUCKING PRAGUE, they begin treating us like the scum that we are.

That's it, I'm becoming a bank robber.

Repeat after me, class: "Don't move or I'll fucking blow your brains out!"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Risks of the Business

So this girl I know comes over last night. This morning we had sex when we woke up around eleven.

Then I go into the bathroom, fragrant with the usual musk and pheremones and sweat, and there's no fucking water at all.

None. No hot, no cold.

A class was scheduled for one-thirty today -- by that time it was almost tweleve. I take the girl to the bus stop and then run down to my sports club -- a twenty-minute walk or so -- and have a shower and get in the sauna a few times. Annoyingly I forgot my towel, and had to use my t-shirt for one.

Then I go grab a couple of sushi rolls and some trail-mix at the supermarket by way of lunch, and get back here at 1:20, ten minutes before the driver is supposed to arrive to take me to the class.

I sit down to check my email, and the school calls me and tells me that the class is cancelled for the day.

Another day in the life of a professional English teacher abroad.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cultural Shit

I always manage to rub the culture of whatever country i'm in the wrong way -- in Thailand it was because i didn't smile like a moron all the time, in Korea it was vaugely related to the fact that i didn't like Korean pop music, nor karaoke.

So I thought Russia should be easy beans, because it's a country where everyone is pretty much constantly surly, drunk, selfish and rude. I should fit right in.

But there's one thing I can't get used to, and it causes problems.

See, in Russia, everytime you see a guy that you know, you're supposed to shake hands. (To a limit of twice a day, I suppose -- the first time you see a guy and the last time.) This is a gesture of respect among equals.

Now I always forget about that. It seems stupid to me, and I never think about it.

So all the drivers and workmen at our school don't like me because I never shake hands with them.