As I near retirement I've had the opportunity to reflect on my last 23 years of "all things Russian" and the things that I saw and did during that time. Married two Russian women and got to see a once in a lifetime transformation of Russia from a communist state to the beginnings of a free market economy. It was a fantastic time to be a western man with a US passport and a little extra coin in his pocket. Mark Ames, the editor of "The eXile" and an occasional Boar House drinking companion of mine called it "The White God Syndrome". When Cortez and his conquistadores invaded Mexico in 1519-1521 the local populations considered them white gods and treated them as such - all the while the Spaniards pillaged, raped and plundered their way through the "riches" of the country. Yep, that was us. Those were the days . . . . . . . . .
I got to "live" Moscow in its heyday. Iconic clubs like Krisha Mira (the annual white party was unbelievable) Propaganda, The Real McCoy, Voodoo Lounge and Imeria Lounge are all gone now. Both Moscow and myself have lost their "edge" - a natural occurrence with advancing age I suppose. Gone are the days when I could do 5 days straight of Moscow clubbing until dawn and they've been replaced with 11:30 bedtimes after a health conscious glass of red wine.
Long gone is The Hungry Duck. Don't even get me started there. Places that still exist are a mere shadow of their former stature. Night Flight, once the recognized home of the best looking prostitutes in all of Europe is now a small bistro, less than 25% of its original size and now home of the best looking grandmothers in Moscow. Availability of internet sex was responsible for that. I just got the word that for the second year in a row Night Flight would not be sponsoring their fabled golf tournament. 22 years of tradition down the drain. Too many expats have left the city to make it profitable.
Most of my local buddies have headed to greener pastures. Steele, Croco, Marty, RTJ; all gone. Sanctions did that. No real reason to make the long flight anymore.
I have it in my mind to possibly make one trip to Ukraine. Never been there. Maybe I can talk B.B into allowing me to ride shotgun on one of his epic journeys. Toby Keith said it best - "Not as good as I once was, but as good once as I ever was".