Sunday, July 13, 2008


Was another crazy day, in which our feet hurt.

Actually, it started out quite well. Except for the liver thing. Alexandra and I went downstairs to get some food while the boys were still waking up. I saw the beef stroganoff, and thought "Yes! That is exactly what I need!" and I got it on some potatoes. But it was liver. The one substantial thing I list as food I can't eat (mayonnaise is on that list, too). So I ate the gravy and potatoes. And I tried to eat the liver, but I got to that bite that I just couldn't swallow and I had to call it quits.

So we went off, on our adventure! And for all that we'd heard about this crazy outdoor faire on the internet (it's not mentioned in a single guidebook), and from a site that's lied to us before, it was so easy! Took the metro, transferred metros, got on a bus that took us directly there where there was a huge sign (there's a picture of it, in my pictures). The sign will look sort of like
"weird O - hoha" Which is actually Yunona.

And the faire was magnificent. Half of it was the biggest freaking yard sale I've ever seen in my life (where I got an ibrik! Oh, Turkish Coffee, you're gonna happen). And the price made steam come out of my ears...until I remembered it was only about $12 when I converted it. Haha. Charlie got a flag with Lenin on it and some flames that says "Always Prepared" in Russian - we didn't flaunt that one, nor will we let him put it on their door.

The other half of the market is more official looking (not used shoes, and possible stolen car parts) stalls and little stores. We can't for the life of us find any t-shirts with Russian on them. They've got some Engrishy ones, lots of french stuff, and no Russian. It's dumb.
We found the DVD store, and it was heaven. For about $25, I got Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, and Mulan. We watched Alexandra's new The Lion King last night, and it was totally awesome. Except I still cried, because it's awful. Jerks.

And then after the outdoor market, we went to Gostinny Dvor mall to find some food and wait for our teacher's brother (our teacher from home), so we could give him some stuff from her and say hi. But we were wicked early. So we wandered around the mall for a hundred years looking at crazily overpriced stuff and getting loster and loster. It's a huge and terrifying maze, and we'll need to eat a big lunch before we go back there.
And then we found pizza, and continued our wander.

And I was right about the Sephora kind of store here - not only are there no Russian brands, but they carry relatively low-end American stuff like Rimmel and Maybelline as if it's really nice. And they didn't have some of the stuff I would have bought if they had it (MAC, Stila, etc.)
Something about having to wear my not-enough-for-one-week clothes over and over again for more than two weeks, and having to shower from a pot of hot water heated on a plug-in stove is causing me to have a relapse into makeup lala land. I've been sneaking looks at makeup online and closing it quickly when people come in, as if it's something illicit. Naughty me. Just so you know, mumma, you'll be getting two packages for me (so far). They're just samples, but protect them from dog terrorism please?

The best two finds, by far, were the honey store, and the fabric store that has strings of tassels for about $8 a meter. Bellydancing costumes, yesss. I need to go back there sometime. But the HONEY STORE. DID I MENTION THERE'S A HONEY STORE? And it's incredible. I got a little pot of Acacia honey, but I am so going back for more before I come home. They had chestnut, and lime, and raspberry, and buckwheat. I'm getting the buckwheat, cross your fingers, if they have it next time I go. It was all out this time.

So we finally get a call from Yulia's brother (not his fault we were a hundred years early and can't stand malls), and then it's impossible to find each other. There are no street signs, there is no map. So what we did was John told him "One of the girls has a pink mushroom toy" and I put the mushroom on my head. And the boys told me to take it off my head. Apparently I was getting disdainful looks from Russian girls - Hey ladies? At least I wear panties when I flash unsuspecting strangers on the street. If you were a guy? You'd be arrested. Don't sass me about my mushroom.
Anyway, the mushroom rescued us, because it's how he found us. And then we went with him and his extraordinarily pretty girlfriend to the car, and they drove us back to the dorm. And I'm glad I had Alexandra on my lap to hold onto for comfort, because driving here is terrifying, and I had to drink three cups of water and lie down when we got back because I hadn't taken any dramamine and I should have taken six for the action-movie drive we went on.
But anyway, they were very nice, and it's not their fault my stomach is a wuss, and they told us to call if we have any problems. Actually, Mark told us to call, and his girlfriend was shy and just looked lovely.

So while I was lying down and recovering my wits and my inner ear, the boys went out hunting and gathering (to the market) and came back for the fixings of chicken club sandwiches. And we made them, and they were amazing, and we watched the Lion King. And I actually slept in a little this morning because it was massively foggy outside so I wasn't tanning.

And there's still no hot water, but we have a system now. Alexandra runs the stairs before taking a shower (so the ice water is refreshing!) And I take a stove-warmed warm sponge-bath in the evening and wash my hair in cold water in the morning which is a 100% guaranteed way to wake up and get rid of the morning fuzzy-headedness.

Depending on the injuries sustained by our feet yesterday, maybe the Hermitage today. Wish us luck!

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