What The Hell is Wrong With You People?

First, we must acknowledge they can’t help it, being cut from inferior cloth and all. However, once we show them the error of their ways, the continued failure to fall at our feet and worship our superior status is … puzzling.

While this could go on for pages; I will attempt to limit myself. 

Roger: can you ask Queen Mum to explain why you think it proper to keep the laundry machine in the Kitchen? When we speak of washing our veggies before cutting, we don’t mean literally. I would think Buckingham big enough for a proper Utility Room. 

Sergey: if God had meant for the Toilet and Bathroom to be separate rooms, he would not have created matching porcelain. This just aint’ natural, man. 

ToiletI’m reminded of a story from a Russian acquaintance of an American who came to visit Ufa. In the apartment of friends, he asked to use the Bathroom and his host pointed him the way. Upon entering, he was surprised to see no throne and wondered how Russians do it. But he really, really had to go, so he went — in the bathtub. 

Shortly, his curious Russian host out in the mis-named Salon wondered what the crazy Yankee could possibly want in the bathroom, so one of their company went to check it out, only to discover the man has gone number two in the bath tub.

Oh, and while we are on the whole crazy Russians thing, you people seriously need driving lessons. I will never, ever attempt to drive in Moscow. I remember coming off a clover-leaf ramp on Ring Road and looked to my right, only to see a car passing on the ramp!

No parking? No problem. Just put it up on the sidewalk in the front door of the building. And the long stripie things running down that long, flat gray thing… hey don’t sweat it!

However, Mother Russia can hold her head high, as she is vastly superior to the UK. It is at this point that I must admit I don’t know what a stiff upper lip is. You people must be terrible kissers. Photograph of Dean Lewis

I will close with an admission: you in the UK have a much kinder, gentle sense of humor. I do like that. On Russian television, nobody gets voted off islands or thrown out of houses. Americans think getting hurt is funny and being expelled, entertaining.



Odd things the other two do

I can’t think of what Roger and Dean do that I would find really odd in Russia so my blog will be rather short. 

Inside ShoesYes, Americans, just like Dean, don’t usually change outdoor shoes for some indoor slippers when they come home. Well, that could be odd because you might bring the dirt from outside and it doesn’t seem to be very practical but I’m sure there must be a good reason behind it. Maybe cowboys didn’t have enough time to take off the shoes at home before going out again to ride their horses? On the other hand, in Japan they’re obsessed with an opposite thing – taking off shoes at any earliest convenience, when, for example, you come into a traditional restaurant or step into a traditional hotel, ryokan. This looks even stranger to me so it’s all up to cultural differences. Probably at some weird places like Amazonian rain forests people don’t use shoes at all…

When I think of Roger doing something odd for a Russian I’m having a problem as I can’t figure out anything. I mean we’ve done a number of runs in the hills and he was running just like any other Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergeyrunner. We had a few drinks at the Caesar beach bar… Stop! Dean and I had beer and Roger had white wine. Yes, that’s the odd thing to me. I don’t get it. I would choose beer on a hot day by the sea! I think it is very British and, yes, pretty odd, too.



A nice fellow, or just loud and brash?

This is a toughie. 

Sergey, my Russian pal, is far removed from most Russians I have met. I live quite close to a sizeable Russian community. For the most part, they are, how can I put this, by my own standards, pretty rude. “Give me coffee” they will say in a restaurant, as if there is no word for “please” in their language. Maybe there isn’t.

Drive Lada/Smile MemeThey are mostly not sociable at all, sticking only to their own community. Any effort to engage in conversation gets you a look akin to that on a commuter train in London – a look of disbelief as if to say “what kind of weirdo are you in trying to engage with me –how very dare you?”

Sergey is simply not like that at all. Maybe it’s because he is well-travelled, or that he’s simply a very nice bloke indeed!

However, one thing stands out to me that is very odd. His English, both written and spoken, is near perfect. As a typically lazy Britain who can barely manage his own language, let alone attempt to speak another, I find that really odd, though totally admirable. My version of making myself understood in foreign countries is to shout a bit louder in my own language and hope for the best. 

Dean, my American friend is so much easier to find odd by British standards. Loud and brash, (and very, very knowledgeable) – unlike us reserved British with our stiff upper lips. 

But his total oddness is when it comes to alcohol, especially wine. He simply doesn’t have a favourite tipple. He will go with the flow, whether it be a can of Efes (Turkish beer), a can of cider, or a glass of wine. And I mean any wine, however dubious its origin or taste.

A while ago, I bought, purely out of interest, a couple of bottles of Moldovian Sauvignon Blanc. I didn’t know they made wine in Moldovia. Now, I don’t want to upset any Moldovians, but this wine was – “cough” – not very nice. I wanted it to be, but it simply wasn’t. Reflected, perhaps, in the price – just under £2.00 a bottle.

So I just knew what to do with the second bottle. I gave it, very generously, to Dean for his birthday.  Now a decent present would have been a £30.00 bottle of Cloudy Bay, from the Marlborough vineyard in New Zealand, a very highly-rated Sauvignon Blanc. But I knew that, had both bottles been poured out individually in front of Dean for him to taste, he would not have been able to tell the Roger Baradifference.

So I ended up  saving £28.00, and still managed to keep my pal happy.

And that’s so very very odd.