October 19, 2012 by farbolino
Day 3 started with plans to meet some female CSer and her sister later that night, and for me to meet another CS girl who saw that I was in Moscow and wanted to meet me because of my interest in photography. That left Victor free to tattoo Sasha while I met up with Anna.
Anna met up with me in the center of the city and took me to a photo exhibition of a USSR photo journalist’s work ranging from the 40’s Stalinist era until the 90’s when he died. I can’t say he was my favorite, but Anna was excited to show me his work. He did have one particular photograph that caught my eye. It was taken in Red Square where there was a line almost 500 people long and it was snowing outside. I didn’t understand what they were lining up for at first, but then it dawned on me. They were visiting Lenin’s embalmed body. The most amazing thing of all though was that the photo was taken some 20 years after his death. It truly put Lenin’s popularity into perspective for me during that time. No wonder there are statues of the man in every city big and small across the country and most of the former Soviet Republics.
Afterwards we went to a bar Anna really wanted to show me, called Gipsy. The decor was super kitsch which I guess made it ultra cool. We sat and talked some before a waitress came over to give us menus. One look and I went pale. The cheapest beer was 300 rubles ($10), and I’ve been budgeting around $10 a day for food and other expenses. I told Anna I would sit with her while she had a drink and explained that I’m a piss poor American. She insisted to pay for me, but I declined. Then she said that she would pay, and then when she comes to NY I can buy her a drink there. Since this was clearly what she wanted, I agreed.
Next thing I know, she ordered me a 550 ruble whiskey (she knew I liked whiskey) without even asking me. Yeah, 550 rubles is almost $20. In the mean times I showed her some photos and we talked about art history. We finish our drinks and Anna orders another round of whiskey without asking again. Did I mention this girl was 19? Where did she get this money from?
I was already going to be late to meet Victor and these two other girls at 8pm since I wasn’t anywhere close to our meeting point, so Anna called and Victor said that he wasn’t going to come anymore because Sasha and him drank an entire liter of Jack Daniels already. Victor wouldn’t even speak to me, he would only speak Russian with Anna and said that he was going to go straight to a bar with Sasha.
So this left me to meet up with two girls on my own until Anna offered to come with me. So we both went to old arbat street and met at a sushi place. I had already eaten some street food, but the girls ordered sushi and drinks. Anna ordered a whiskey, sushi and ice cream. When the food came, we realized it was two for one! So guess who got the extra whiskey, sushi and ice cream 🙂
When we were finished, Anna and I said goodbye and went to meet up with Victor and Sasha at a bar called Bourbon Street. I was AMAZED at how drunk these two were. They could barely stand and were saying every Russian swear word in the book. Anna hung in there long enough, but eventually went home. I walked her outside and put her in a taxi before returning to the drunkards. Once back inside, Sasha was buying drinks and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Next thing I know I’m on my 7th whiskey overall (which I payed for none) and Sasha is standing on a barstool lifting up his shirt to show off his tattoo. If I’m being honest I’d say it looked like Victor starting drinking the Jack Daniel’s WHILE he was tattooing Sasha. It looked more like Bruce Lee’s retarded cousin then it did the man himself.
Around 3am we were all looking to go home; except Victor of course. He said he would meet me at 7 am to catch our ride back to Minsk. I doubted that he would show up the next day considering how drunk he was. I took the taxi back home with Sasha and his girlfriend to their place. Sasha passed out immediately and started to snore while Julia and I talked for a little bit. A little past 4 am and I went to sleep for a few hours. I set my alarm for 7 am so that we could catch our ride back at 8am, and I just hoped that Victor would show up…