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Author Topic: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don  (Read 1658 times)

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Offline Orchid

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2016, 01:13:02 PM »

Offline mhr7

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2016, 02:03:35 PM »
Quote
Katya makes a point of assuring me that I am not to leave a tip for the waitress. "It is not necessary, we do not do this."

It's actually not uncommon to leave a tip, no more than 10%. Women rarely tip, however. If I drank as much beer in front of my RW as you do, I wouldn't see her smile all night.  Sounds like you had a good time :thumbsup:
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." -- Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Offline Dr_Doom

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2016, 02:42:20 PM »
Saturday February 6

The curtains of the 3 dormer windows are still drawn, but there is a soft glow trickling down from the skylight to let me know morning has arrived. It is perhaps just after 0700, and with a bleary squint, I confirm this with the clock at the other end of the room. I am in no hurry whatsoever to leave this bed, warm naked woman next to me. I latch on and drift away.

After repeating this process of waking, re-connecting, returning to sleep for a couple hours, we decide we should get motivated before such time as restaurants stop serving breakfast. She is completely at ease with her nudity, and rises from the bed, strides slowly to the washroom, giving me the coquette's smile over her shoulder. It is the long side of 1000 by the time we rejoin southern Russian society on the streets of Rostov-on-Don.

There is a light fall of damp, fat snowflakes today, and many people are using umbrellas. Every single umbrella is black. Most of the clothing people are wearing is black, or brown, dark blue or grey. I feel like I'm making a cameo in a 1930s black-and-white film. While not a crush of folk, this old section of the city is decidedly alive this Saturday morning. City workers busy removing the white skiff from the sidewalks, a pair of policemen here, another there, chatting. We amble hand-in-hand west on Bolshaya Sadovaya, parallel to the Don, stopping for photos a couple of times at this south end of Gorky Park. Vladimir Lenin, Maxim Gorky, some anonymous statues all stare with unflinching gravity, never smiling for the camera. This is Russia.

Coming to the major intersection with Budennovskiy, I experience for the first time an underground cross-walk, made necessary by the omnipresent low iron fencing separating pedestrian from motorist. The concrete stairwell leading us below the street reminds me of entering a subway station, except much wider, perhaps 12 feet, and there are a pair of shallow steel ramps for wheeled carts. Underground, it is like a miniature, cold shopping mall. Tiny glass-enclosed shops, barely large enough for the hawker and their wares, line either side of the subterranean halls, selling flea-market type items. Old ladies bundled for a nuclear winter huddled in their bunkers.   

Katya had asked what I want to eat for breakfast. "Something Russian!" We eat whatever we want, there isn't a specific breakfast food, she tells me. Whatever. Then I want eggs and some kind of fried meat, coffee. She leads us to what she describes as a cafeteria, it's not very busy at all. Large glass display cases exhibit the plethora of prepared items available: various sandwiches, salads, single portions of hot meals I don't recognize, desserts, sliced fruits. Nothing remotely resembling a fried egg to be found, she has what seems to me to be a conversation much longer than needed to discover from one of the staff behind the display case counters that we are out of luck. So we leave.

We find a nice pizza place open for business, specifically breakfast, as mentioned on the chalkboard sign on the street. It's a very nice restaurant, all rich dark wood, deep comfortable seating. The place is empty. This is a definite cultural difference, to me. Saturday- or Sunday mornings are big business for breakfast-serving restaurants in Canada. I'm glad I'm wearing only a t-shirt; another Rostov building with the heat cranked. It takes Katya what seems an eternity to order our two meals, a tea for her, a coffee for me. In the end I get my eggs and sausage, but cash is the preferred method of payment here. I leave an extra 100 rubles tip, ignoring Katya's gentle objection.

A 10-minute walk further away from the river, passing at least three sushi restaurants, we come to the permanent indoor circus of Rostov-on-Don. The box office is open, selling tickets for this afternoon's performance, and again, I am transported to the 1930s by this gaping, unlit lobby, the woman behind a tiny, iron-barred window accepting the two thousand rubles I hand to Katya.

We take our time returning to Park City Rose, walking through Gorky Park. It is a very nice park, with the expected statues, modest children's playground, a couple of closed-for-the-season cafe buildings, a small bandshell. There is a small bridge overlooking a lower level of the park, and I imagine it will be vibrant with colour in a few months. It is not a huge space, but it is perhaps 15 minutes to stroll through, discounting our little snowball fight, and the tiny snegovik we built. Neither of us is keeping track of the time.

We stop by our variety store, to refresh the room's inventory of beer, water, and wine. Katya decides on a different brand of vino today, citing the taste of last night's bottle as "compote". She also prefers her water with gas.

Returning to the hotel, I crack an MGD, Katya has a glass of red, and informs me she is going to run home for a change of clothes. I am staying in the room to relax, maybe have a quick nap. I offer her cab fare, and again she refuses my money. We chat, listening to music while waiting for the taxi, and I present her with a few more gifts: a nice wood-wick scented candle; small box of Red Rose tea ("Only in Canada, you say...? Pity!"); a collection of hair ties in a makeup pouch and a white "Canada" toque, sent by a female friend; a compact reuseable shoulder shopping bag sent by my mom; a bottle of maple syrup for Katya's mother, who, unlike Katya, enjoys sweets. Katya is taken aback at these gifts; it seems this was completely unexpected. 

When she returns a couple hours later, Katya has brought a few gifts for me. I receive from her a gift-wrapped book about this southern Don River area, a plastic collector's plate with a bikini-clad picture of her on it, a large jar of honey for my mother, a headscarf for my daughter, a headscarf and some makeup items for my female friend. She also presents me with three plastic-sealed collector coins, and a 100 ruble note commemorating Sochi 2014; she works in a bank. Included with the book is a small hand-written note, which I tell her I will attempt to translate when I get home and have access to my study materials. I have only just begun to learn cursive Cyrillic. We enjoy music, beverages, conversation, and gestures of affection for an hour or so, then head off to the circus.

The interior of the circus is much larger than the outside of the building suggests, constructed similar to a hockey rink with the stadium floor well below street level. It is a completely circular space with a very high cathedral-domed ceiling, and temporary water tank in the center. The show features various synchronized swimmers at different times, high-flying wire theatrics, circue du soleil-style ribbon acrobatics, even a lengthy segment with a pair of live seals. Standard circus themes with clowns, sword swallower, fire eater, tight-rope walker and audience participation were all executed well. The show lasted, with 15 minute intermission, 2.5 hours, and although I enjoyed the spectacle, I was glad to escape the roughly 2000 people and all the extra heat we were generating.

It's getting close to 20:00, So Katya and I are equally hungry for dinner. She gets her franchise meal wish as it is difficult to walk 10 minutes in this city without passing a Ris sushi restaurant. I comment on a big bong in a store window while we walk, Hey check out the huge hookah! Hookah, what is this? That thing, the big water-pipe. Ah yes, she says, I know these.

Ris is actually a very nice restaurant, quite tasteful decor. The price is somewhat less than Shu-Shu, but the experience as a whole is pretty much the same, except that Ris is a bit busier. Katya again requires an in-depth conversation with our waiter. The same disappointing wasabi, fleshy mound of ginger, but the rolls are good, and the small entrees, "vok" -- basically an asian pasta bowl with choice of meat and flavour -- are delicious. Katya is pleased. We savour our meals, sitting beside each other on the comfy plush bench seat, in no rush at all. Another check comes, then another credit card machine, another admonishment to not tip.

Stepping back out onto the night street, I ask Katya what she wants to do, now. We could just go back to the room for a couple drinks, walk around some more, whatever you like. I have mentioned to her a couple times I don't care if we do sightseeing or not, I came here to see her, she is the only sight I am concerned with. She points across the street to a small neon sign, "Bagdad", let's go there. What is Bagdad, I ask. Hookah bar!

The stairwell leading down from the street-level single-person glass door would be suitable for a laundromat, but the landing below opens into a wide hallway, dimly lit aquamarine. There are small, private rooms along this hallway and that, some kind of dreamy techno music, not overloud, and muted conversations in a language I don't understand. Without a reservation, we are taken to a larger, open-ended room in plain view of one of the hallways. One continuous comfortable sofa horseshoes the room, a table for 4 in each corner. There is a haze to the air, atmospheric and relaxing shisha mist puffing and diffusing into the blue light.

We order a hookah with milk as coolant (the other choices were water- and alcohol based), and some kind of fruit tea, a cloudy orange concoction with floating red seeds and citrus slices. Our vapour has a pleasing, subtle mintiness to it. We talk softly, huffing and exhaling, taking pictures of each other. One of the Bagdad staff appears from time to time to either flip the coals in the tops of the hookahs, or replace them with fresh red-hot ones from the saucepan he carries. After lounging here for 45 minutes, the tea has gone tepid, and we retire to our private comfort in Park City Rose. 

Clothes are promptly replaced by bathrobes and slippers, dreamy techno by modern classical, orange tea by red wine and amber beer. We chat for a time, feeling cozy as long-time lovers. The destruction of the bed which was to come is a troubling reminder to me that long-time lovers we definitely are not.

Sleep comes for me in fits, as I wake more than once during the night, the modern classical on a loop of recognizable motion picture soundtracks.


Offline Orchid

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2016, 01:17:31 AM »
A Moveable Feast...
Праздник который всегда с тобой...
I have a feeling that Rostov-on-Don is going to be as famous as Paris.

Online Omega1982

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2016, 02:05:57 AM »
Very well written and nice Tr.  Looking for forward to the next chapter. 

Also curious what is your next step.  Another trip?  A meeting in a third country?  Fiance visa paperwork? 

Offline Dogsoldier

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2016, 04:31:14 AM »
Haven't enjoyed such a well written TR for quite a while. Do you write for a living?
All I know is that Moby knows nothing - Plato

Online Omega1982

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2016, 12:56:17 AM »
Waiting for the next episode...   :popcorn:

Offline tonton

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2016, 03:29:33 AM »
Don't know if it is still open, Sparky can confirm-----a decent Japanese restaurnt down Lenin St opposite a big park. Memory is sketchy, been 10 years since in Rostov.

Online sparky114

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2016, 10:08:42 AM »
Don't know if it is still open, Sparky can confirm-----a decent Japanese restaurnt down Lenin St opposite a big park. Memory is sketchy, been 10 years since in Rostov.

Have not been into the centre for ages, try to avoid it, mainly end up at Mega these days then avoid the whole city  :biggrin:
Today is only one day in a life of happiness

Mark

Offline Dr_Doom

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2016, 12:30:16 PM »
I am sorry for the delay in finishing this report.

Not only have I been otherwise occupied, I have been partially blocked.

I hope to deal with this soon.

Thanks to everyone for your interest.

Online Omega1982

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2016, 12:27:06 AM »
Looking forward to the next installment. 

Online Jerash

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Re: WOVO - Rostov-on-Don
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2016, 06:16:18 PM »
As am I.  But why are you blocked?  We are all waiting  :nod: