Thursday, 21 May 2009

A trip to the park

Saturday was exciting for me for three main reasons 1. Simon and I finally managed to buy our tickets to Petersburg (separate post to follow) 2. The final of the Eurovision Song contest (likewise to follow) and 3. We decided to brave the infamous tourist market – Izmailovsky Park. Now I am sure that I have blogged about this park before, however as I do not have internet access at home I can not check back on what I have previously so apologises if I am repeating myself. So for those who don’t know Izmailovsky park is an open air market in East Moscow where one can literally buy anything. Now there is an in joke that every time I decide to visit the park the weather turns and the temperature drops, Saturday was no different all week it had been warmish with a bit of rain but on Saturday it dropped to about 5 C and I ended up back in my winter jacket.

I had a mini list of things to buy as presents for friends and family, now I shall not go into too much detail as people who these gifts are for may be reading, however I shall go into two of the funniest events that happened while there.

While walking around the park you see a wide range of typically Russian things that you can buy from Matryoshkas to stuffed dead animals to icons, which look like they have been stolen from churches, both Simon and I swore that we saw the crowbar marks on one of them.

Anyway one of the things I wanted to buy was some woolly Russian socks, I saw a seemingly empty stall with a huge number of socks hung up in neat rows and a sign saying 160 roubles ‘bargain!’ I thought so I slowly walked over. Usually as you walk towards the stall a mad old Bab or a scary looking Ded will appear and start shouting things like ‘Devushka! Devushka! You are so pretty, You buy! You buy!’ or ‘I make you good deal yes? You buy Devushka!’ and this time was no different. At once a tiny rotund little bab seemed to spring up from the ground and started to talk to me in English and in Russian. I said that I wanted to buy a pair of her socks but I wanted to know what size they were. ‘Big size big size 44!’ I pretended to have a knowledge of Russian sizes and simply made some exclamation at my good fortune. She then seemed to take this as me not liking the colour or something and then proceeded to pull of the socks off the rails showing me each of them then throw them on the floor in a pile to my horror and surprise.

After selected a pair that I liked we then moved on to the buying part, now this is always full of amusement as sometime you can haggle for a better price. I was too cold and tired to be bothered with this and simply agreed to the price and produced a 500 r note. The bab then smiled and started to count out my change ‘100….200….300….utoh oi! You have 10 r?’ I then gave her 10 r, she then looked a little lost and then went ‘erm I come back’ she then went to every stand in the area to try and get my 50r changes. After a few minutes she then returned and continued ‘…and 50…. Good socks, good socks….bye bye!’

The amusing incident was while we were looking at old military badges and medals. As usually a little Ded popped up and started to talk to us the conversation pretty much went as follows:

Ded – davai davai! (Come one come on! Have a look!)

Simon and I- yes, we are, thank you

(while we looking at the badges and hoping the Ded would go back to his seat)

Ded- where are you from? London?

Me- Yes I am from London

Ded- London eh? Soho? I speak English I know your ‘Soho girls’ *nudging Simon* Eh? You like your Soho girlfriend? Eh?’

Me- I am NOT from Soho!

Ded- oh, your girlfriend is from Soho *still nudging Simon*, where are you from Soho too?

Simon then explains that he is not from Soho, while I start replying to a text about the Eurovision party that night

Ded- Don’t use that! Bad!

Me *seemingly slightly confused but also awaiting some mad answer*

Ded- What are you doing?

Me- texting

Ded- why?

Me- tonight is Eurovision and we are organising a party

Ded- Will your Soho friends be there? I like Girls, I dance *begins to dance*

Simon and I then sort of look at each and both half nod and decide it’s best to just agree

Ded- Where will you and your Soho friends be?

Me- (slightly despairingly) Krushka

Ded- ah

Seeing the chance to escape Simon and I try politely run off

Both together- You’re badges are lovely, but we will think about it and come back later

Ded- you are going? I wait you, I wait you! 1 hour….2 hour….5 hour I wait you! I be with neighbour we play chess I wait you.

Both of us smile and nod and promise to come back but really run off making a note of how to avoid that area in the future.

We managed to avoid that Ded for a while but by accident strayed to close and heard him yell ‘You back! I wait you!’

The rest of the trip was luckily not so eventful, Izmailovsky always amuses and bemuses me and is definitely not the place to go alone especially if you are hat shopping.

The rest of the day was then spent in the pub drinking cheap beer and watching Eurovision. I decided to return home to watch the voting and managed to return halfway through to hear two very sarcastic Russian commentators exclaiming their complete lack of surprise that Sweden had just given Norway 12 points, and they say it is only the English who know it’s all political. The best moment came when Norway in fact did win but the commentators deemed it a Russian win; ‘And Russia win again! He was born in Belarus, he is a real Russian! It only doesn’t count as he has a Norwegian passport, but Russia can count it as a victory Hurrah!’ I decided after hearing this that enough was enough and simply went to bed.

No comments: