Pod Moscovnia Vechera

We were watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations this evening, and the episode was set in Russia. Specifically Moscow. I really miss Moscow. I’m sure that’s hard for a lot of non-traveling folks to understand, but I explained it to Yulia this way. I feel about Moscow the same way that I feel about Seattle. I was born in Seattle. and I have a connection because of that. similarly, The Old Russia fell when I was there (1993) so in a sense Russia was born in me. and that same connection exists. both cities are my home town, but for different reasons. When I dated Yulia, she commented that she loved me because I love Russia, and showed her around Moscow in a way that no Russian ever did. That was not because I wanted to impress some hot chick. that’s really how I felt, and still feel today.

We were in Russia two years ago, and seeing it again brings back the same feelings. It is a very different place from the U.S., very different from Europe as well, but not in either a good or bad way, just different. When I first moved there, one of my coworkers commented that he loved to see new people move to Moscow because they weren’t tainted yet. He said, " It will take you 30 days to learn to hate Moscow, and another 30 to learn to love it again." Of course, I assumed that this was another line of Vodka-induced bullshit, but he was right.

When you travel anywhere, you love it just because it is new and different. (Alternately, you are one of those ugly American fucks who hates any location on the planet that doesn’t contain three McDonald’s and two Starbucks, and Fuck You.) But especially for Moscow, within 30 days, you will learn all the little fucking things that totally kill your ability to function as a human being, and you will hate your existence there. 30 days later you will have learned to deal with that crap, and you will be a Muscovite. Fuck the world, you can actually deal with this shit. And love it. Pity on those in the world who cannot deal with slogging to work in sub – 25C weather, and find a place to get chocolate chips to make cookies in a only recently post Soviet economy. They are weak and not to be dealt with.

Watching how Moscow is today was interesting to say the least, the prevalence of boob jobs, overpriced luxury goods, and general crap was disheartening, yet expected. but what I liked to see was the mushrooms. Those who are not Russians, or Russian by proxy may not understand, but mushrooms and mushroom hunting define a great deal of the Russian character. and watching this group of TV folk follow some ex-KGB guy around, picking mushrooms really had the smell of Russia to it. no matter who you are, if you didn’t know where to get and how to cook your favorite fungus, you were Left Behind. It was really the great equalizer. We still do it here, and it is one of those things that I love and look forward to every year. My grandparents did this al the time in their house in Hoodsport, and I never got it. but now I do. It’s sad the they are either

1. dead, or

2. not lucid. so they don’t get to see me appreciate this in person.

Such is life.

I really miss Moscow. It is a truly different place to be, and a good place. I am glad to say that I lived there and made it my home.