the dogtrot
Label-Fuckers

The Bolsheviki Bourgeoisie.

So much goddamn style, ain’t no room left for substance. All they care about is how much money they can show they’re wearing, driving, or pissing away on shitty food. J. read an article that said the Germans call Russians ‘label-fuckers’. I say that twenty-times a day now. Drives J. nuts, wishes she’d never told me. - Same article said not a single dive bar exists in all of Moscow. Can’t claim to have combed the entire city, but I’ve walked around for hours every day, and I believe it.

At the Tolstoy museum, a gaggle of high school kids stormed the old house. All of them, all in totally unique ways, were dressed to the proper nines. High schoolers, dressed like what I can only describe as 27-year-old White House interns!

The streets are littered with style, even the rebels are Hot Topic Couture in Kiss boots. Even the thugs sport faggy shoes. Women with hair so immaculate I wanna puke in it. Bleach, tinted shades, mockturtlenecks, euro-mullets, miles and miles of spandex and needless zippers, and cornrows fer chrissake! Cornrows in Russia! - Yeah, I thought China-girls left nothing to the imagination with their bandage-skirts, but no, Bolshoi-chicks vacuum their entire lower body in a single layer of spandex. Tacky as all-get-out, but I’m not gunna complain about that one. Lots of way-hot Russian chicks. And they keep a tight ship, put themselves together with staggering effort. Sometimes it makes me stagger.

*

I’ve started quietly quoting a Food For Animals song as we walk around:

Lookin’ at your hundred-dollar clothes

Where you get those?

Is that the total for your shit, or your zip code?

I’m sorry, but the feeling won’t last

And I rock that shit for free when I’m diggin’ through your trash

*

We asked the host of our homestay, how can anyone afford to eat here? Is rent really cheap? “No, rent very high here.”

We asked how every person on the street could be dressed in all these expensive clothes. She just shook her head and cryptically answered: “Moscow is not the face of Russia.” Whatever that means. We were asking about Moscow.

Our host is a strange old bird. A fat, chain-smoking crazy cat lady. She’s trying to run a tiny hostel here in her cramped apartment, but wasn’t listed in the last Lonely Planet and business is down by half this year. [course, it’s prolly also cos of the drought and the forest fire smoke blotting out the city] I found her on the internet googling, “cheapest place to stay in moscow.” An Italian girl and a Russian guy live in the dorm beds on an extended basis. He’s lived here ten months. Dunno about the Italian, but she’s been here a while and speaks Russian.

It’s good find, this flat. It’s about half the price of the other hostels in Moscow. Except for our room, the apartment is extremely small and packed with junk and there are numerous improvised ashtrays about. Floorspace in the kitchen is 2 feet by 2 feet. Totally reminds me of the movie Night Watch. No roaches, though. And me and J. got a room all to ourselves. - Every night our host dices up a half-kilo of raw beef and hand feeds it to her cats. She’s a bit odd towards us, and we’re not sure she likes us, but there’s also a slight language barrier, so it could be that. She could also just be Russian/unhappy. Definitely not a bubbly personality. Definitely still a bargain room. And I’ve made a couple meals in that itty-bitty kitchen. Those were the best meals we’ve had in Moscow, actually.

Tonight we take an overnight train for St. Petersburg.

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