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.