Vietnamese Market Hunt
It took some work, but I’ve found a Vietnamese grocery in Moscow. It meant walking past dozens of sleeping feral dogs, through two abandoned factory yards and getting stopped by security who had no idea what I would be doing going to the Vietnamese grocery. But I walked into the place and slowly explained what I wanted as best I could. Here’s a selection of my bounty.
Looks pretty commonplace to you readers in America, or many other places, no doubt. But believe me, tracking these things down in Moscow isn’t so easy. It’s hard to explain how happy I was to taste ginger, green chilies and fish sauce in tonight's dinner. And yes, that is half a kilogram of red chili powder.
So other than the four hours of class time per day and a few hours of translation/exercises, I've been doing some reading, mainly non-academic in the past week. To get some colloquial Russian, Vladimir Kolychev’s Я - не бандит is my current nightly reading. For those familiar with Russian TV and film, think of the Brother movies and the series Brigada.
When I wake up, I try to spend about 30-45 minutes catching up on the news in the world before my cold shower (no hot water in my neighborhood for another two weeks, says the landlord).
News of the horrifying seems to prevail. Tom Engelhardt gives some particularly depressing numbers on Iraq. But I won’t bother posting every heart-sinking piece I come across. Let's move on to the more interesting and random morsels.
For instance. I remember seeing The Revolution Will Not be Funded on the shelf at Bluestockings when I went to go see Monisha Das Gupta talk about her new book—Unruly Immigrants. I’ve been meaning to read it someday, but I still haven’t gotten to it. Christy Thornton of NACLA provides a nice overview of the book and the problems the NPIC. Maybe one of those kind souls who comes to visit me will put it in their luggage along with some other treats for me?
And in news of the obvious, Padma and Salman are officially finished, in case you hadn’t heard yet. (By the way, you can find almost the complete works of Rushdie in Russian at Shakespeare and Company on Novokuznetsky Pereulok Pervyi; I don’t know if that’s useful information for anyone, but just in case there’s some Muscovite with a Satanic itch.) The divorce comes as no surprise to Top Chef viewers who have been guessing that Padma’s stoned fixation on Tom Colicchio was more than just a culinary longing. (Was Tom the chef seen with Padma? Or Mr. Bourdain?)
This “beauty and beast” split certainly won’t be a surprise for Katha Pollitt, who seems to think that pretty people should only get with pretty people, based on her review of Knocked Up, which gets the movie right, but with some wrong reason(ing)s, I think.
In news of the bizarre, yet still depressing, pravda.ru reports that the outmoded, racist theory of телегония has been reintroduced by Russian Orthodox Church as a way to convince women abstain until marriage. Russian-readers, look and see for yourself.
But that’s just the margins. More to the center, other less bizarre, yet perhaps scarier developments continue amidst Moscow’s youth. (I'll elaborate with graffiti from my university next time, I promise. And some insider knowledge on why it's hard to organize against the DPNI fascists.)
In the meantime, the police are blatantly harassing youth in New York, and Bob Herbert, in that naïve, almost Jesse B. Semple way of his, is creeping up on the story.
That's it for now. I have to get some sleep and get ready for my first attempt at bliny tomorrow. If all else fails, I can at least look forward to the sovetskoe shampanskoe mimosa.
07 July 2007
Vietnamese Market Hunt