Bunny bunny foot foot, as Mr. Lombardi would probably want me to say. That was random, but that’s ok. So today was fun. School, lunch and then a few of us went looking for a soccer game. Because of clothing reasons, only two of us (coincidentally the two best soccer players in our group…) actually got to play in a legit Russian pickup game of good, old-fashioned football. I was not one of the us. I happily watched from the sideline as my friends showed some Russians that there are good soccer players in America – from my count, our boys scored 5 goals, including a few impressive shots. The final score was Americans + Kazan State University folks (including one really good player who plays Varsity Soccer at KSU) a lot, local gangsters/hooligans/kids, 0. This, of course, prompted the other team to whine and complain, and also give us quite the vocabulary lesson. It was really fun to watch and make a little small talk with some Russians at the same time.
After soccer we met up with a few Americans to chill out, and then I came home on the bus alone for the first time! I didn’t miss my stop, although I admit that it was close. The buses here are so crazy, as I’ve pointed out. Reasons:
1) Personal space? What personal space? Today I had the pleasure of having a fat old woman’s butt bump into mine for 30 minutes. It was gross. This morning this sorta weird looking guy – huge ears, really short, football shaped head, Hawaiian shirt tucked into his capris (explanation to come) – was basically pressed up against me and proceeded to burp into my chin/neck area like five times. Yesterday, my face was pressed up against the window with another fat old woman behind me (she was literally leaning back so that my face was forcibly pressed into the window), a young couple making out literally touching me on my right side, and my host brother laughing at me (in a nice way) on my left.
2) Insane driving. Literally just insane. Today one of my friends actually experienced a bus crash, in which the entire front glass of one bus fell off. This, apparently, is not that rare, judging by the amount of cracks, etc. in bus windows. The buses jockey for lead position in traffic and routinely turn left from the rightmost lane and right from the leftmost lane. When they careen around turns I’m pretty sure we’re going on two wheels. It’s terrifying.
3) A number of other reasons, including, but not limited to: smell, weird music, grumpy fare collectors, rolling stops, brevity of stops, lack of stops, tiny chairs.
The bus is really just an adventure every time.
I’d like to talk now a little bit about men’s fashion here in Russia. While I (as my mother will most definitely agree) am in no position to judge…I will judge. They make some interesting choices:
1) The Mullet. Why. Why. Why. Why. Please, just tell me why. It’s the grossest hairstyle on the planet, but Russian men LOVE the mullet. The first day here I literally laughed every time I saw a mullet (often). Now, I’m so used to seeing them that I barely notice it. This is not a good thing. I asked some girl friends of my host brother why Russian men like the mullet, and they basically said they don’t know, but is it fashionable in America? I told them that it hasn’t been for a while and that in America its considered not very attractive. They didn’t really seem to understand. Very bizarre.
2) The Man-‘Pris. Also known as capris. They’re really popular here. I’m not gonna make fun of these too much because they actually seem really practical – but I’m still not running to the stores to get me a pair…yet.
3) The Shirt Problem. There are actually a few shirt problems. The main one is the Lack of Shirt Problem. There is, I think, a generally agreed upon build that is appropriate for going naked on top (or having your shirt unbuttoned all the way) in public places, notably public transportation. This build, I’m sorry to say (sorry for the Russians who believe otherwise), does not include, among other things, the pot belly, the beer (vodka?) belly, the rail thin/ribs showing look (that knocks me out), the super hairy chest, and oldness. This unspoken law is regularly broken here in Kazan. As in…every day, all the time. It’s sorta hilarious. Another problem is the see-through or fishnet shirt problem. As with the mullet – why? Just…why?
4) Short-Shorts. They’re everywhere. Old men. Young men. Little boys. Teenagers. And when I say short, I mean SHORT. The hairy inner thigh is not on my list of things to see here in Kazan, yet I see it way too often.
5) Overalls With Nothing Underneath. Really? Really?
6) The Man-Satchel. Aka the Matchel or the Man-Satch. Ok, so I’m not gonna lie, I’m probably gonna buy me one of those tomorrow at the bazaar. Their convenience, in a country where its necessary to carry not only your phone and your wallet but also your documentation (passport, city registration, visa, etc.) and where backpacks are eyed suspiciously by policeman and people alike, easily outweighs their look. They’re also really popular here, so I won’t even look like a foreigner while wearing one! Woohoo!
So I hope this has been a somewhat entertaining post – I definitely owe y’all one after my last few, which have been sorta dry and explanatory.
The wild dogs (Hans, Balto, Blimey, Dingo, and Juneau) say hello.