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The Semi-Regular Newsletter

Travels in Russia

KLM Rocks Across Europe!
Santa Claus in Moscow
Television Is a Time Suck
The Reality of Irrelevance
Salute Mayor Luzhkov
Impeachment Happens
I Am Not The Only One...
I'm Back! Did Ya Miss Me?
Chechnya Burning
Weddings in Winter
The Jews Are Here!
Gailyn Goes to Town
Is There a Central Bank?
Santa Barbara is Real
Nick's Thanksgiving in Russia
Den' Rozhdeniya = Birthdays
Those Crazy Expats
It's Just a Few Drops of Vodka...
Elections Are Always Rigged
The Blind Leading the Blind
Good Russian Grooms
You Say 'Boris Berezovskiy' Fast
Too Cold to Care!
Russian Oil Towns
Sneaky Siberian Tigers
Which Way is St Peterburg?
Where am I again? Oh, yeah...
I Love Me Some Vodka
It's a Gosorg Halloween
Hunger Comes to Us All
Why Don't They Just Learn English?!
Post-Crisis, Life Goes On
Is Yeltsin 'The Man'?
Murmansk - Brrrr!
Taganka Hides Her Secrects
These are Communists
It's a Power Vaccum
The Commies are Back
Propaganda is Good for You
You Better Buy Russian!
Sex Ed Soviet Style
Party over, oops outta time!
Russian Healthcare in Moscow
What Russian Financial Crisis?
YE Prices in Russia
The Hungry Duck
Russian Caviar Mafia
Magical Mushrooms
Shhhh! We're Bear Hunting
Soviet Street Scams
Bez Dollarov
A Koshka Konspiracy
On The Dacha
The Banking Implosion
Surviving Army Life
Shashleek is Steak on Steroids
Dacha Thinking
Dos Vedanya
Hello from Vladivostok
Equality Means Only She Works
Jogging is an Extreme Sport
Russians Have Reunions Too
My Folks in Massive Moscow
Better than Fireworks
Miners Are Real Men
The Russian Mafia is the Roof
No One Smiles in the CIS
One Year Anniversary
Russian Brides Rock
Laura is My St Pete Connection
Change is in the Wind
Chuck Norris' Beverly Hills Casino
The Expat Woman's Predicament
Street Food is Yummy!
Spring Flowers Make June Leavers
The Provinces Are Provincial
Ever Take an Elektrichka?
The English Invasion
Nuttin Like New Money
Rules Are Made to Break
All Black is Russian Fashion
Easter Memories = Easter Dinner
Politics, Russian Style
Theresa Tries to Russify
I Go to Gay Clubs Worldwide
I Hide on Women's Day
New & Shiny: Nizhny Novgorod
Psst! Wanna job in Moscow?
Fili Park Has All the Bootlegs
Web Page Reactions
Take a Break at Dom Odaha
Expat Living in Moscow is Swank
Why Are You Remonting?
They Look Like Telephones...
In Need of a Decent Hairstylist
Smashing Bottles in Red Square


Russia, August 3, 1998

Beach Weekend

It is a good day to go to the beach!

How can you get a good tan standing up?
Love the thong!
Ok, who lost the beach ball??
It gets crowed on good dayz
The best that samara has to offer!
Wonder who paid for that?
Yesterday, I went to the beach, Russian style. I took the metro, then a trolleybus to an island in the middle of the Moscow River. The island is an odd place, devoid of apartment houses and the urban feel of Moscow. Only trolleybuses and resident's cars are allowed, so there are few Mercedes-driving non-trolleybus riding New Russians to spoil the calm of the beach I finally laid out at.

The beach is really a grass strip next to the river's edge, with a sandy patch before the trees start. The grassy section is covered by blankets and people trying to soak up as much of the short summer sun as possible. The sandy patch is for the sportsmen, with the volleyballers in full effect.

As I watched the volleyballers, I wondered if Russia ever had volleyball nets. The people, guys and gals, playing would make a circle and hit the ball around, never dividing into teams, as Americans would. There are poles, and a square patch of sand, but the area is never used like it is in the West. Other beach sports like badminton, soccer, and the occasional Frisbee are represented, but not to the effect of the omnipresent vollyballers.

Usually, I swim, read, and sleep my way through a relaxing afternoon in the sun, but when I come to beaches like this, I spend the entire time people-watching. The majority of the beachgoers are elderly couples or groups, all bronze and relaxed.

Unlike me, they usually stand to tan (yes, stand!), rather than lay or sit. I still haven't figured out why, maybe for a crease-free tan that is impossible with such girth when sitting/laying. When the babushkas get together, it is an amazing sight. Talking, laughing, and living life, they don't let time, money or a bit of extra girth get in the way of a good time. A group of six had my attention when they decided to get watermelon, laughing at their husbands' feeble attempts to stop, or help the melon-getting crew.

The dev's (young Russian women) are there too, but strangely reserved. While they will wear not much more than a tight tank top and belt-width skirt on the streets, they are in conservative bikinis and one-piece suits at the beach. I have only seen a handful of thongs (how many thongs fit in a handful?), and the rare bare breast, a bit different than their European-looking men. The men are usually dressed in those spandex bikini bottoms, unlike my surf-trunks wearing self (call me modest). Zipping through everyone, are the countless kids. Usually in underpants or less, they run, scream, and splash through the beach, giving it much needed life.

Since there are many river/lake beaches and few ocean beaches, swimming is quite popular. The older participants will spend an hour or so, slowly paddling around, while my out-of-shape self usually lasts about 1/2 hour these days. I amazed my host brother when I could swim that long, but in a country covered by ice for nine months of the year; swimmers are more the exception than the rule. Actually, the amount of swimmers and beach-people is something I wonder about. Because winter is so long, you would think everyone would be a sun worshiper here. I guess the winter is long enough, and the summer short enough, that most forget the joys of a good tan via a day at the beach.

Though I may be considered a freak (or a Chechen), I shall join my bronze brothers in saluting the golden orb that visits us for such a short time. Hail to the sun and its warm, summertime rays! May they shine for many tomorrows!

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