Saturday, May 26, 2012

Random Time at the Park...

So... The babushki (grandmothers) put away their crocheting, only to whip out super-sized bottles of cheap beer... And then, of course, they smoked afterwards. Babushki, beer, butts... Don't think I'd really see that at a kids' park in the US or UK!

On the other side of the park were quite another group of babushki. If this were a US high school, the two above would be the quiet rebels... And this other clique? The "populars." They glided by us in a posse of five, stopping to sneer, "You're EATING without having washed your hands???!!!" in a VERY accusatory way to the girls—but truly to me.

We were eating our lunch in the park. Oh, horrors.

I should have been more polite, but I instantly replied, "Excuse me, but how do you know when our hands were last washed?"

She glared at me mockingly, and I bit, stating we'd washed right before getting in the car (uh, did we?) and then had used hand gel before eating (which we had).

She put us down again, and actually lifted her chin up with a little derision before muttering "Innostrantsi!" Foreigners. She then stalked away to another bench and plunked herself down with her minions. They kept giving us "looks" across the square... But, well, the girls didn't exactly conceal their own annoyance...

What's so frustrating about moments like this is that they are SO DARN RARE. Most people are incredibly kind, and I'm continuously surprised by how eager folks are to talk with a foreigner. They actually ask insightful questions and it's usually quite enjoyable! They're also usually so surprised and appreciate that we speak Russian—and even more blown away if they learn the girls are in a Russian school. Ignoramuses such as Babushka Bumkin above can just really catch you at the wrong time on the wrong day and really rain on your parade...

Last neat unexpected graffiti on the sidewalk? Evidently we have some vegan vandals. Wow, that even sounds impressive... "Beware of the..... Dah-dah-dah-dummm.....VEEEEGAN VAAAANDAL!"

In a mash-up of English and Russian, this soul professed his, or her, undying love for beans. Go figure!