Sunday, July 30, 2006

Everything I know about Russia, I learned from Steven Segal movies

A man walks down the street. It's a street in a strange world. Maybe it's the Third World. Maybe it's just his first time around. Doesn't speak the language, holds no currency. He is surrounded by the sounds, the sounds of cattle in the marketplace (OK, not really, but so far it applies), scatterlings and orphanages. He looks around (around), he sees angels in the architecture spinning in infinity. He says Amen, Allelujah.

Well Betty, things are going well here in the Evil Empire. Today, we went to the cemetary to visit the graves of my wife's grandparents. It was one part honoring the dead and one part gardening excursion. Russian cemetaries are not kept up, and weeds and tall grass abound everywhere. (The neatly manicured space where your great uncle rests for eternity... no.) Graves generally have a small fence built around them and people plant flowers over the site. Of course, when we went there this morning, it meant that like any garden, we had to pull out the weeds.

Last night, my wife took me to see her friend from her schoolyard days. She's got a 7 month old who absolutely loved me. Good thing, because neither the friend nor her husband spoke English. Tonight, a woman Tanya refers to as a "surrogate grandmother" is coming over. I'm betting on much of the same. We had to take a couple of route taxis plus two subway lines to get there. The last route taxi we caught around midnight in an eeriely dark alley with a lot of very visibly drunk people around. Not the best situation to be in even when you can do things like read the signs, communicate with the natives, and understand what's going on.

The day before that, we went to the Tretiakov Gallery of Russian art. It's worth the plane ticket to see that all by itself.

I'm realizing that most of what I know about Russia I learned from Steven Segal movies. However, I lack a pony-tail and a general ability to take on five Russian guys in hand-to-hand combat. However, I can act.

Niece is starting to walk unassisted. We've been giving her plenty of lessons.

No comments: