Old people who work for the city covering up the hedge fences, benches and sidewalk borders with seriously stinky paint yesterday.
This is perhaps one of the busiest weeks of the year in Moscow. The city takes VERY seriously being all spruced-up in time for the major May 1st and May 9th holidays.
While it may have still been snowing two days ago, and there is still mud and thawed dog poo on pretty much every non-paved area, by May 1st somehow everything will be green, in bloom, clean, swept... AND FRESHLY PAINTED.
Russians paint everything, and in rather odd combinations. Sometimes you wonder if there was a clearance sale on unusual colors when you see the palette chosen for particular places... Or if some city planner was in a drug-induced state when he charted out what colors would go where, mixing up bizarre combinations and patterns...
Metal playground equipment... Hedge dividers... Doors... Park benches... Trash cans... Concrete planters... Everything gets painted before May 1st.
They mix the paint in empty 5 liter water containers; you can see them in the background.
You don't have to worry about accidentally brushing up against wet paint, however, because you can smell the paint a mile away... And THIS I don't understand. Russian paint smells TOXIC. You just know that if you were shut in a room with walls just covered in this paint, you would get sick. It coats your lungs and nasal passages. It tastes bad as you breath it in. It's awful when they paint the entryway and stairwell of our building!
Seriously... THIS is what they use to paint PLAYGROUND equipment? You really wonder what is in the paint to make it smell so bad—and how such paint is so much cheaper than more ecologically-friendly versions. It must be a question of price...
This stench, however, means that spring is truly just around the corner, so I'll gladly plug my nose and step carefully!