We have found the people of Moscow to be very passionate and quite loving people. Couples always walk hand in hand, older couples walk arm and arm. There’s lots of kanoodling in restaurants and in parks as it is often the only time younger couples can spend time alone - many share a crowded home with several generations of family. They like to stand closely together....some of that must be to stay warm? A Russian friend described it as “we’re always holding each other up”....perhaps so they don’t “banana peel” on the snow and ice...but they truly are affectionate people.
They also have an extreme affection for...wait for it....ice cream!! Ok, it’s cold in Moscow....really, really cold. I was walking home from the gym the other night and there was a line outside the ice cream kiosk 5 deep. It was 9 degrees outside. These kiosks are all over town and they are very reminiscent of our old fashioned ice cream trucks. They have the orange push-up bar, the red white and blue rocket bar, on and on....and of course the internationally popular Eskimo Pie! This is our ice cream kiosk outside our building:
If you look closely at the 2nd photo above, you can see the owner sitting inside....she was yelling at me the whole time I was snapping the photos. Russians don't particularly like to have their photo taken - I've read part of it goes back to their Communist roots - having a level of suspicion about those around you (i.e. why are you taking my photo?). In other cases, they are happy to have their photo taken...but only after you've bought something from them. The old give and take rule.
Steve is in London for business this week and I have the great fortune of joining him today (we're going to try and leverage as many business trips as possible). My brother, John, and has family currently live in London and we will be playing with them all weekend. Can't wait! Since I was solo last night, I joined a few friends at an art gallery opening at an upscale event - wine, champagne, the artist community. I was getting my culture on! From there we went to a great Mexican place just outside the Kremlin. For those who know me well....I was in complete heaven!! You might think Mexican food in Moscow is somewhat of an oxymoron - it was fantastic.
As you walk into the restaurant, you take 4 steps down to the vast seating area - it was packed - probably 75 people in the place. There was also a band playing loud music in English (David Bowie, Duran Duran, etc.) and everyone was intently watching them. The band was set up on the crowded steps as you walk in. So....as you enter the restaurant...you are immediately part of the band. This set up isn't meant to be funny...it just was. I walk into the restaurant and there I stand, with 75 people watching the band, and I'm now part of the band. I almost grabbed a mike to provide back up vocals. I bit bizarre - but hey - if you're going to make an entrance - make an entrance! And who doesn't want to be in the band??