Saturday, October 25, 2008

(----) In Russia Vol.6

I stumbled upon this corporate party on the basement floor of the Renaissance Moscow Hotel, an appropriately swanky joint full of expensive-looking people and expensive-looking bathrooms. The group hired to perform seems to have some issues with their identity; we're talking Dirty South aesthetics combined with Kylie Minogue. The chorus is in English ("What a beautiful life!"), and the ladies only seem to serve the purpose of having an alto or soprano to offset the grunting of the very, very white dudes, who are unknowingly doing their best to replicate the Cosby dance. My favorite part is when the dinner napkin gets thrown onstage in tribute, prompting one of the dudes to sniff it.

Scenes from a metro:

Lenin, currently immobile in statue form, continues to be forced to look at images of capitalism.

What does a $15 cheeseburger look like?

Menu from the "Amerikanskii Bar and Grill", which features extremely puzzling interior design (half ski lodge, half Outback Steakhouse) and equally puzzling service (a beer somehow takes 15 minutes to procure, after being ordered twice).

Really stuck my neck out there for you people with this one; could've gotten spotted objectifying this tiny dog in a tracksuit (not pictured is the man accompanying this woman holding the leash, who has no problem dressing a dog in a tracksuit and probably would have been equally comfortable breaking my thumbs, thus preventing me from ever putting a picture of a dog in a tracksuit online), but I thought it was worth it.

Detail of dog.

Fashion-conscious devushka, flanked by the always-willing-to-punch-a-foreigner babushka she will one day become.

Scenes from my current hood (moving tomorrow, where hopefully life can actually begin, as opposed to waiting for life to begin on a couch with a stuffed pig for a pillow):

Nakhimovskii Prospekt, 9:30am Sunday morning.

NovocheriYOmushkinskaya Ulitsa, where my hosts live, 11:40pm Tuesday evening. It took me about 2 weeks to be able to pronounce the street name. Emphasis is on the "YO" part of the word. For realz.

Yet more graffiti from my hosts' building. If you can't read it, it says, "Da, bro." Some things are universal.

Graffiti on Nakhimovskii. This is the Russian word for "cheese"; this tag is actually all over this street. It would be awesome if there was a street gang on NovocheriYOmushkinskaya called "Cheese."

"Adios, dad."

This is the "police station" on Nakhimovskii. 1. There are never any police in it. 2. There are always rats swarming out of it. 3. This car is blocking the entrance, so if there were any police in it, they'd be in there until the owner returned.

This is one of the biggest streets in Moscow, Tverskaya. At midnight on Thursday evening, this hose was running out of of a bank on Tverskaya, spraying water into the street. You can't really tell from the photo, but the force of the water pressure is lifting the hose into the air; it's not on the ground. No one appeared to be responsible for the hose; it was completely unattended and the bank was closed. And everyone driving down Tverskaya seemed to have no clue how to deal with water coming from a hose. It's one thing to have water fall out of the sky, but from the side? The traffic panic was incredible -- people were braking, then trying to comprehend how to avoid getting their cars wet, then swerving into the other lanes with the usual disregard for other vehicles. It was glorious.

Truck on Tverskaya.

Bro on Tverskaya.

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