I woke up at 7:30 and got ready to head out the door for the Chocolat. This place is gonna miss me! All of the waitresses know me by my face now and actually bring me a "menu engleski" as soon as I walk in the door. Honestly I don't know why really, because I pretty much order the same thing every time. I either order the ham & cheese omelet or the fried eggs. Of course, I always get the "fruncheski press", which is basically a small pitcher of water with coffee beans in it. The top has a stem on it that you "press" down on after so long... Ok, this isn't making any sense, I'm sure... Basically, they grind up coffee beans and put it in this small pitcher of water and the beans float on top of the water making it browner and browner by the minute (aka: making the coffee). The stem on the top actually has a filter on the bottom of it, and after 4 minutes, you slowly push down on this stem which (of course) pushes the ground up coffee beans to the bottom. At this point, you have a small pitcher of coffee sitting above the filter. I'll try to take a picture of it on Monday before I leave and post it to my blog. It's only fair since it's really all I've been drinking over here (along with water, beer, and chai (aka: tea)).
Scott and I decided to call Semyon to join us and he said to go ahead and order him the usual (fried eggs and a latte). I actually struggled with this order because it's not actually on the menu, but I order it all the time. Typically the waitresses know enough English to understand "fried eggs", but this waitress didn't speak any English, and I had to bust out the handy-dandy dictionary to assist us all through this process. We nailed it after looking up 3 words (ham, eggs, beans). :) When Semyon got there, we had a blast. We taught him a few English phrases that he had never heard before. We made sure to tell him that when he uses this phrase, he can NOT forget the word "with". :)
While we were sitting in the cafe finishing our coffee, Ivan showed up with his son and I was able to snap a photo of them together. It's unfortunate that I don't have a picture of him with his wife, but I'm very happy that I was able to get a picture of him with his son. Sorry Ivan, I forgot his name already! :( Please comment below if you read this. :)
So, after breakfast Scott and I took the mashrutka (a minivan with seats) to work and I stayed busy pretty much all day. Rather than giving Scott his daily "tennis lesson" on the Nintendo Wii, I was given a "table tennis lesson" by Sergey P... Man, this guy is good! It started out as a friendly game of table tennis (aka: ping pong) between Alex M. and I. It got serious when Sergey P. showed up with his ping pong paddle. I was able to play a few games with Lena, Semyon, and Alex M., before getting schooled by Sergey P. He litterally put the smack down on me. I wish I had video of this guys ping pong skills. He's damn good! I was able to steal a few points here and there, but it was mostly luck. :)
Oh, don't let me forget to wish Alex S. a happy birthday. He turned 24 today! We had a party for him in the break room with cake. I was very surprised to learn that nobody sang for him!? I actually sang the song by myself in front of everybody as I was teaching it to Oleg and I'm sure they got a kick out of it. "They" being most of the DataWorks crew. :) The best part about the party is that we all at cake on "mexican paper plates", which was literally plates made of paper. In other words, they were pieces of paper folded in half with a piece of cake laid on them. :) Alex, I bet you didn't think I was going to use this picture, did you!? Happy Birthday man! :)
So the rest of the day @ work was busy / productive / fun, then I got a ride home from Konstantin. This is where I pause and explain how good of a friend Konstantin has become. Before I came over here, I explained to him over Skype that I wanted to run in a race so that I could get a "Russian bib number". A bib number (for those that don't know) is basically just a flemzy piece of paper that runners get when they run a race. Over the last year, I've been collecting them from the various races I've ran and I have a small bundle of them in my basement that really serve no purpose. Anyway, when I told this to Konstantin over Skype many weeks ago, he contacted his mom, and asked her to make me one. Well, today he gave it to me and I am so impressed by it. It is very... what's the word... PERFECT! I could not have asked for a better bib number, or a better (new) friend. Thanks again Konstantin!! You are what us Americans call "Good People!" Please don't forget to send me your mothers address in an email, so that I can send her a postcard... yes, that's right, I said a "POSTCARD!" :)
After Konstantin dropped me off, it was time for me to turn right back around and leave again. A few days ago I had asked the guys at work where I could find some live music before I left Akademgorodok in a few days. I was looking to see any live music really. Being a musician it's just fun to go see other musicians entertaining, and I wanted to see the live Russian music scene. As soon as I asked them, they immediately pointed me to Julia. I guess she's well trained in all the details of such places. Julia got on the case immediately and booked a table at a the Нии Куда (pronounced "nee kooda" which means nowhere). This place is actuall one floor below the "Prime Time" sports bar that the support crew took me to on Day 14. It ended up being Julia , "The Anna's" (Anna A. (aka: Ushanka Anna) and Anna M.), mysef, and Anna A.'s husband, Sasha. I was very happy that Sasha came along for the ride too. Not only is he fun to hang out with, but he helped me not be the only guy! :)
Tonight was "Irish Band Night"! I was elated!! I love Irish music. My sister turned me on to a few Irish bands over the years; namely Gaelic Storm and The Elders. Every year, the whole family goes to Dayton for their annual Celtic Fest. If you've never been to this, you really should go! We take the girls every year and will be taking them again this year... Check out one of the movies that I uploaded to YouTube from last years event: Dayton Celtic Festival 2007
Trust me, Irish music, Irish beer, and an Irish atmosphere make for a good time! Needless-to-say, I was excited for this night to get started. :)
When we got there, I ordered my "farst pint ah Guinness" as we got settled in right beside the band. Our table was in the back right corner of the club, which was literally... "right beside the band". The name of the band tonight was Fire Water Folks and when they came out, they immediately began with their Celtic music and I formed "perma-grin" (no, it wasn't the Guinness at this point). This band was awesome! They were a bunch of Russians, singing Irish songs, in English. I didn't care how weird the whole scenario was, I loved it! They are made up of an accordion player, a bass guitarist, a singer / guitarist, and the drummer. Of course, the drummer was awesome (you had to expect such a statement from another drummer). He had total control of his kit and really drove the band the entire time. The crowd was totally into it and I (personally) was having a great time!! There were even some Celtic dancers that got up and danced the famous "I have no arms, just crazy legs" Irish dance moves.
Half way through the show, some of Julia's friends joined us (another Julia and Nina); they were very nice. I learned lots of Russian tonight and shared lots of English in return. After tonight, Sasha is officially my new "ruskie bradt" (aka: Russian brother). I told him that when he and Anna come to the states, they have to come visit me on my farm and meet my family. He has cousins that live in Pennsylvania, so this is very possible, I hope. We all took turns yelling back and forth at each other over the music and had a great time.
One of the highlights of the night (then I'll wrap up my post, I promise :)) was getting to actually meet the band. Anybody that knows me, knows that I just don't care... Anna wanted to get a picture of the band behind the stage (aka: behind us), so I went with her and we got to meet them. They all spoke pretty good English and really appreciated our enthusiasm (aka: drunkenness). I commended the drummer on his skills and told them all that I really enjoyed their music. I was also happy to know that they had heard of Gaelic Storm. They asked me how their English accent because they really wanted to make it sound "authentic", to which I (of course) said it was awesome... even though... whatever. Anna's husband took some pictures for us with the entire band (including the sound guy) and I walked away with a night too remember.
Well, sorry for the short post!! What else is there to say? Thanks Julia, Anna A., Anna M., Sasha, other Julia, and Nina!! I had a great night!! :)
- Egg = яйцо (pronounced "ij-tso")
- Ham - Окорок (pronounced "o-korok")
- Beans -бобы (pronounced "bop")
- Drum - барабан (pronounced "ba-ra-bahn")
- Shooah - Sure (It's actually English, but all Russians say it with the elongated "oo", including Julia) :)
And... lastly, here's my icestache (it looks like snot, but it'sss not):