Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Sochi, with Christmas

In a surprising twist which can only be explained by Christmas Eve holiday luck, Polly and I arrived in our holiday destination of Sochi yesterday with effectively zero travel problems. Taxi? On time. Traffic to airport? non-existent. Airplane? On time. Man offering to switch seats so we could be together? Done (although he did steal Polly's pre-ordered vegetarian meal). Bus passing right by our hotel, which happened to be totally visible from the route? Check.

My first impression of Sochi (other than the gorgeous mountain range and coastal views as we came in for the landing) was that it reminds me a lot of San Diego. In fact, the temperature was the same in both places yesterday, about 11C.

After a lazy afternoon in the hotel (comprised of watching hip hop music videos and napping) and early bedtime, we awoke early and exchanged Christmas gifts, then went down for a leisurely breakfast. Now we're off to find the sauna/pool/etc and then walk around Sochi, looking for Christmasy photo ops.

Merry Christmas, internet :)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's mid-late December, and it appears snow has finally decided to fall and stay on the ground here. Although I shouldn't be so presumptuous, since it's snowed several times up until now, but ultimately melted into puddles and slush. The average temperature of the Moscow region for the first 15 days of December seemed to be around +3 which, in my book, definitely qualifies as a heat wave.

The difference is that now it's been in the negatives a couple of days in a row, and the forecast says more of the same is ahead. Thank god. I'm tired of the rivers and lakes of mud slush covering the streets I walk to work on.

The downside of snow is that it's kind of a gamble. Sometimes snow can be so peaceful and beautiful to walk in, other times it can feel a lot like tiny pieces of ice pelting your face (depending on temperature and wind). So we'll see how it goes today.

In other news, I usually dislike Christmas music, but I have listened to this song every day since I found it:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

IFOR, part I

In addition to GOBOLE, I would like to present Irreverent Facts of Russia, or IFOR. My acronyms are the greatest, I know.

  1. Sound only travels in a downward direction.
  2. Things (all things) become more vulnerable to destruction upon crossing Russian borders. If they are made in Russia, they are inherently less durable than their foreign (yes, even Chinese) counterparts. Especially products containing glass.
  3. Washing machines in Russia (not necessarily Russian washing machines) have a strange habit of discoloring all clothes. Even when they are all the same color.
  4. Those same washing machines also have a penchant for deconstructing clothes.
  5. Russian books age faster than their Western counterparts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

GOBOLE, part II

Here I will continue my Gross Over-generalization Based On Limited Experience. Today I present you with: Russians and technology:

  1. All Russians own an electric drill, and use it frequently.
  2. All Russian teenagers own a Tamagotchi
  3. Russians, like Americans, love Apple products. The difference is that they are apparently willing to pay (even more) outrageous prices than we do in the states.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I am alive.

Not much else is new.

In culture news: Tomorrow night I will escort Polly to the ballet, a production of La Sylphide at the Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow.

In political news: Russian legislative elections will be held on Sunday, December 4th, which seems like a strange day for an election.

In culinary news: Using bones and remaining scraps from the Thanksgiving turkey (legs), I made a delicious soup.

In teaching news: Approximately 10 days ago, an 8 year old girl wrapped her little arms around me and proclaimed me her "true mother."

In sports news: last Sunday afternoon, Polly and I stopped during a walk through the park to watch a group of middle-aged, slightly overweight men play soccer. The full report can be found here.