Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Pushkin Hangover

Saturday was guzzled down with Vodka Shots and Cheap Champagniski. Now that I have infiltrated a regular social group in Moscow, this is now how most weekends are widdled away. Gladly I add.

I've broken plans two times now with a friend to go see the Dior Exhibit at the Pushkin Museum, and was determined not to cancel on her again this weekend.

This dress is hand embroidered with over 1,000 flowers! Eeep!

Before imbibing on Saturday night, I committed to her once again for Sunday morning, and asked that we not trek out too early on the chance I was hungover. You know you are getting too old for this shit/drink too much too often/live in Russia plan for a hangover. She tells me, "maybe, don't drink tonight so it isn't a risk?" Fool, don't be so bossy, either way we are going to Pushkin Museum tomorrow and we are seeing some mother fracking dresses, so calm down with your nonsense talk.

Saturday evening blearily passed, and Sunday morning arrived unreasonably early. I pushed back my brunch and museum date by a half hour, typical, and awoke feeling sleepy but overall ok. Sort of a B+ for effort kind of a morning.

This is the point we drop off the good news, because it isn't going the same direction I am.

We spend an hour and two metro transfers looking for a brunch place described in a travel book, which no longer exists. We settled on a chain french breakfast place where I ordered soft boiled eggs and was served two raw eggs that gave me the dry heaves and the first indication that a hangover was looming.

At Russian museums there seems to be a price for residents and a price for tourists. I presented my Russian ID and asked for the resident price, where I was told no because I am not Russian I just work and live in their country I shouldn't expect the same rights as a Russian. Fair enough.

We are yelled at by the ticket ladies that we need to leave our jackets in the coat room, despite the fact we are cold. Do you think I am planning to smuggle a dress out in my coat? Ok I see your point here.

I am light headed when I enter the main show room of dresses, and am glad when my friend drops a contact and needs to go to the bathroom. As soon as we entered the bathroom I barely made it to a stall to throw up. If I wasn't going to anyway, the smell in any ladies' room in Moscow will send you in that direction. I swear Moscow women swing their used bathroom products around their head like a helicopter and then to any available corner. Revolting.

Feeling shaky, but much better, we went to the on premise cafe so I could get some water and mentos. My friend left me at a table to watch her purse while she went to the counter. I was feeling awful and almost wished I had listened to her no drinking mandate. A babushka (older lady) who worked in the coat room approached my table and lost her damn mind. She yelled, she screamed, she ranted. Coat-room Babushka was irate. Apparently, she did not like my friend's purse being on the table, illustrating that the table was for food not for purses. This is not something to be irate about. Wow I love a  good confrontation RIGHT AFTER I PUKE. You're kidding me right? Who gets so upset by something that is not in any way affecting them? The table looks dirty to begin with, I think the purse on the table is an improvement in cleanliness. Babushka throws the purse on the floor in a huff and storms off, seeing she is getting no reaction from my half-open, puffy, bloodshot eyes.

My friend returns with water, mentos, and a diet coke. With my hands propping my head up, I tell her about the going ons while she was in line. At this time I'd like to mention that this is a very new friend, of which I have only hung out with on several occasions, usually in a group setting. I had no idea of her level of comfort with confrontation. She stares down Coat-Room Babushka, who is enjoying a fragrant mayonnaise and fish sandwich at a nearby table, and plops her purse back on the table, never breaking eye contact. Babushka will have none of this, storms back, and goes through her rant once more, directing it all towards me, as I am obviously the weak link in this scenario of unfortunate events. I give no reaction until she begins poking me. I do not like being touched by strangers, and I like being poked by no one, unless of course you mean...ok ok, anyway...I swat her imposing finger away from my chest. Irate-ness (most likely not a real word) escalates, and my friend is now red and yelling about calling security. Yes, because security is obviously going to believe 2 American yahoos who speak 30 words of Russian between the two of them over this Motherland Grandma. Eye roll. Please, let's just get out of here and look at those damn dresses.

We finished the exhibit (most amazing museum exhibit I have ever seen, (despite my poor pounding head) and I would highly suggest if the exhibit comes to your town you go see it. Of course it would take clothes in a museum for me to understand the awe people are refering to with art at museums. This is not terribly surprising. I managed to wrap the even up only getting yelled at once more, for trying to read a text from my phone. No phones or photos allowed. Sigh-iski.

I really need to learn a Russian phrase to shut these crazies up, and prevent myself from being poked in the future.


  1. Oh my god, I love that she actually started poking you. Boundaries are clearly not a big thing in Russia.

    The exhibit sounds awesome though!

  2. I think the 10.30 PM sunsets are driving everyone loopy.

  3. "Champagniski"

    If only that were really how you said champagne in Russia-land. I think I would move there.

    Also, have you read Tina Fey's book Bossypants? You write in a similar style to her. I mean that as a compliment.

  4. шампанское translated in real letters is "shampanskoe" which is champagne in Russian-- so close enough to constitute a move. It is the reason I moved here afterall. Shrug.

    I have NOT read Tina Fey's book-- but a girlfriend of mine just told me last week that I absolutely have to read it. I ordered it, so as long as no Russian customs agents are interested in reading it, I should have it shortly. I love Tina Fey, so I DO consider that a compliment!! Thank you!