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So, via Site Meter I can see what people have Googled to reach this blog. On average, once a week someone finds my blog by Googling “boys wearing tights” or “can boys wear tights?” or “can I wear tights?” all because of this stupid post. To all those of you out there with some weird tights fetish, get over yourselves. Yes, boys and men can wear tights. You don’t need to check on the internet to see if it’s OK. And if it’s some kind of pedophilia thing, get yourself some help.

Edit: Make that 3 or 4 hits a day, you sad, pathetic perverts.

I don’t suppose you can tell from this photo, but…

IT’S RAINING AND NOT SNOWING! Recently I was wishing for rain. A funny thing to wish for when there isn’t a drought, but I’m so tired of winter that rain is a welcome change. Ura!

Today I saw something I’ve never seen before: zakalavanie. Russians believe that there is some health benefit to spraying yourself with cold water on a regular basis, something about strengthening your immune system by adapting your body to temperature shocks. Why they think this is good, but that a child will die if it gets wet in the rain, I don’t know.

I see the zakalavanie fountain at our kindergarten every time I take the class to physical education class, and several of our kids undergo zakalavanie several times a week, but I had never seen the thing in action until today.

The fountain is a hollow rectangle with smooth stones at the bottom, and they turn on these squirters and the kids walk around on the stones and get cold water sprayed on their ankles. Walking on the stones is supposed to be good for the arches as well. If it sounds all nice and Japanese and Zen with the fountain and the smooth stones and all, it’s not really. The fountain is old and very Soviet-looking with its chipped tiles. But it was interesting anyway.

Here’s some chocolate cheese for you. It’s like “American” cheese with cocoa powder in. Mmmm.

Well, it’s still below freezing and it has snowed nearly every day this week, but the most important thing is that the light has returned. With the shift to daylight savings time this weekend, the long romantic twilights have begun, already lasting until 8:30 or 9 p.m. And that, in my opinion, is one of the top five best things about St. Petersburg.

Awhile ago there was an article in the free newspaper, Metro, about hummus. It announced that a company was planning to introduce it to the St. Petersburg market. I love Middle Eastern food, so I was pretty excited about this.

I haven’t seen any anywhere though, not even in the upscale supermarkets. Perhaps they’re still trying to build up interest in the product. Today on the metro I saw a small advertisment, white lettering on a red field, no picture, and no information but the words “Ты ещё не знаешь что такое хумус?” (You still don’t know what hummus is?)

I don’t think shaming people for their ignorance is the best way to sell a product, but the sign gave me hope that I’ll be able to find hummus here soon.

I was in the checkout line at the supermarket this morning, and watched the middle-aged guy in front of me picking out some gum. I assumed he was Russian, but there was something about his manner that made it hard to place him on my mental map of the St. Petersburg social structure. I decided he was a professor and inched my cart forward.

As he was checking out, one of his Ritter Sport bars didn’t scan, and the cashier put it aside and told him to get another one. “I don’t understand…” he said in British English. I explained to him what she had said. “So she won’t sell it to me?” “She said you could pick out another one,” I said. “Do you want me to grab one for you?” “No, I think it was the only one of that kind,” he said. “They’re not very good with that customer service bit, are they.” “No,” I said, “no they aren’t.”

There was a pause while both of us, I think, considered continuing the conversation with “So what are you doing here, anyway?” But in the end he just said, “Thanks,” and went on his way.

Not much interesting to say as I’ve barely left the house all week. I had a really, really bad cold, and I went to the doctor, and he gave me an official note to stay out of work for the whole week. I probably could have managed to go yesterday and today, but I was still really fatigued and had a cough and wasn’t eager to face the snot-nosed brats anyway.

Awhile ago Aunt Kelly bought the fourth season of “Six Feet Under” on DVD, and sitting at home without much to do I managed to watch the entire season in a couple of days. Now I just need to see the first three seasons. Plus I saw “Syriana” (erm, I’m not usually the sort that can’t follow a plot, but this one was a struggle) and “Пыль” (Dust), which was filmed last year on three thousand dollars and is really just brilliant. Kostia called it “an encyclopedia of modern Russian life” and I pretty much agree.

I managed to do a lot of reading, too, so it wasn’t a total waste of a week. I do feel a little guilty, though.

I keep trying to upload photos from our last full day in Egypt, but keep getting stupid error messages from Blogger. So I give up. I’ll write the conclusion without photos.

We went on a boat trip, and I went snorkeling. First we went to an island to practice, and then we went to a coral reef and just jumped off the boat. I didn’t expect looking at fish to be so interesting, but it really was. They were all multicolored and cool. The water was clear and light blue. It was paradise in the cheesiest sense.

Oh, and it was really windy that day and the boat was really rocky and people were getting seasick, most notably this French mother and daughter who were hurling everywhere. That was something.

Damn, I didn’t even manage to write anything about International Women’s Day on Wednesday. It’s a big deal here. I wanted to write up this treatise on gender relations in Russia that’s been brewing in my head for like, ever, but I didn’t feel up to it. I’ll write it sometime, I promise.

I celebrated Women’s Day by attending an overdue Maslenitsa party. Ate way too many bliny, as a result of which I decided to give up something for lent — not that I care about lent for any religious reasons, but I like to give something up every now and then, to build character, or maybe just maybe to fit into my smaller jeans. So, we’ll see if I can avoid chocolate until Orthodox Easter. I don’t even know when the Easters are this year.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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March 2006