Anyway, today was a great day!! I actually slept in until about 11. I called Semyon @ 9am and told him that there was no way I was going to make it to breakfast this morning. I just went to sleep really. I was up all night dorking on some pc work that was long overdue and then posted my entry for yesterday sometime around sunrise. By the time I went to bed it was creeping up on 7am. Jennifer sent me a few IM's here and there encouraging me to sleep, but I just wrote back with "what? :|".
When I woke @ 11, I immediately got in the shower and headed out the door for work. I had a 1 hour walk ahead of me and I was really hoping it would wake me up by the the time I got to the office. Sure enough, it did. Nothing too exciting happened between the time I got to work and lunch time. However, at lunch time I was met with a new "difference" in Russian culture...
Today, I wanted to (finally) send the 24 post cards that I had finish filling out over the weekend to all of my family and friends back in the states. Oddly enough, nobody knew what the hell these things were. I showed them to Konstantin, Semyon, and Maxim and they had never seen pictures with writing on the back. Even when we went to the post office, Maxim had to explain to the lady what I was doing, and I saw some confused faces and giggling. So I knew this was not "the norm". Come to find out it was going to cost me ~90 rubles (or +$3) each to send these to my family and friends in the states. I could not believe this. They suggested that I put them each in an envelope or package them up as a single package and send them this way to the states. I was in total disbeleif!! I'm hoping that I'll be able to figure something out tomorrow. If all else fails I may just wait til I get back to the states and then send them from Columbus. It will just be my little joke to everybody; I flew all the way over to Siberia, only to send a post card from Columbus. :)
So after the post office incident Semyon, Maxim and I all ate at the "East and West" restaurant for lunch then headed back to the office. Nothing too cool happened at work really except for the fact that I kicked Scott's butt in Wii tennis, but that's neither here nor there. :)
After work, Segery A. organized an outing with the support crew. This is where my Russian culture lesson of the day really began. :) We came back to my flat and we dropped off my book bag and a bottle of vodka that he got me (thanks Sergey). From there we went to a place called "Prime Time" which was a Novosibirsk sports bar. We sat at a large table and watched Soccer on a HUGE tv for much of the night. I was finally able to put a face with all of the names I've been seeing in my inbox. I got to meet Sergey R., Andrey T., Igori (aka: Bala-bul), and Eugene, who also brought his wife Sophia (aka: Sonya). We had a GREAT time!
We played "American pool" and drank lots of beer. These guys know how to drink. :) Then around 10pm we headed off to a pool hall over by where Scott and Oksana live for the remainder of the night. The best part about the transition from one location to the other is that I was able to take my beer with me!!?? I was drinking in the taxi and it was not a problem. No way is this allowed in the states. It felt strange to say the least, but I got some good pictures out of it. :) My Russian vocabulary began to get larger and larger on this ride as everybody was teaching me new words. I just repeated them one after another and then forgot them. If I remembered every word that I've been taught, I'd be jamming. However they go in one ear, get recited through my mouth, generate some laughs, then I let them go out the other ear most times. :( I do remember "balabul" though and it was the word of the night. :)
At this pool hall, I was able to show everybody my stellar "Russian Billiards" skills. I think it was a case of beginners luck to be honest. I won both games. :) Basically you have 15 white balls and 1 red ball. The red ball acts as the "bat" and it's only purpose is to break the balls apart. Once the rack has been broken, this ball acts as any other ball. The purpose of the game is to knock in 8 balls. The first person to knock in 8 balls wins. There are no rules as to which ball you can hit and which ball goes in "next". The three biggest differences in this game are as follows:
- The pool table is maybe 33% larger than the standard (American) pool table
- The balls are maybe 25% larger than the standard (American) balls
- The pockets are sized exactly large enough to fit the ball into the pocket
After I put the smack down on the Russians @ their own game of pool, we went to the bar area and drank more!? I was keeping up pretty well, for being a light-weight with alcohol. Sergey introduced me to a B52 drink which contained vodka, Baileys, something else, and then it was set on fire. The trick was to drink it with a straw before it melted the straw... which I did. Hiccup! I think I ended the night with a Captain Morgans and practice my Russian. I recall saying "Andddrey... Tsotsoho..." many times and getting yelled at for not pronouncing it correctly (though I'm convinced that they were just messing with me now).
I got home at 1:30 and spoke with my girls for a few minutes, then went to sleep. By the end of the night, it was clear that we have a great... hiccup... shupport team. Th'are very shmart... and fun!! :)