Saturday, March 14, 2009
Kurds and Hey
I went to a bar the other night. It’s called Fidel and of course there is a mural of Castro on the main wall behind the DJ. Interesting little joint. Popular with locals and tourists, well backpackers, alike. I will say though, sometimes the breed of locals aren’t the classiest individuals. I think the knowledge that many patrons are from parts afar, gives the locals a courage they may not otherwise have. I.e., getting your ass grabbed and other forms of general harassment are fairly common. Well, anyway, this night I met men from parts afar. Kurdistan to be exact. I was initially confused how people from Kurdistan could be in St. Pete living it up at a club. I’ve been recently informed, by an all too knowledgeable Finn, that the Kurd part of Northern Iraq is quite rich right now, as apparently it is the nicest part of Iraq and many soldiers go there on their leave. Well, irrelevant to my experience. I drank quite a bit. To the point that I was dancing everywhere. The kind of behavior you regret the next morning, because you can’t remember if you were Jennifer Lopez or Bill Cosby. I walked up to this talk dark haired gentlemen and motioned for him to come dance with me. This guy was very attractive, great smile, tall, wild hair. His friend? He looked as though he was thinking about the shipment of arms he just received. This guy had short hair, a scruffy beard, and a very ethnic scarf he never took off. He sat with this menacing look on his face, twirling his prayer beads. Strange couple. My guess would be brothers. Anyway, I take to dancing with the tall one, I think his name was Ibrahim. As I remember, he wasn’t a bad dancer. However, he really enjoyed making that noise that Arabs and Indians make sometimes. You know that noise? Like a turkey after a castration? He was making this noise every 30 seconds. This made him quite an impressive figure. 6’6” at least, dark skin, unruly hair, and a trill every half minute. Eventually I had to walk away. But let me tell you, this did not stop him. I wish I had video. He continued to dance, sometimes obviously dances native to his culture, and trilling. What a night.
In an ethnic turn of events, last night I went to a club with 3 Chinese guys. It's apparently not terribly safe for them here, so they rarely go out alone. We went to this club that charged an entrance fee. I do not pay to go to clubs. I pay to see music. I do not pay to hear someone to play shitty music at ridiculous volumes with monotonous beats. Maybe if I start doing drugs I'll change my mind. Well, last night, I had to break this, as two of the boys were already in the door. 15 bucks. Really? I've not gone to concerts because I didn't want to pay 15 bucks. But I paid it. All part of the experience right? Jesus. The music was so bad. The people were worse. Thankfully, I had good company, and the boys kept me laughing all night. But the people dancing? I wish I could get some pictures. I have to find a way to develop a super discreet flash. Or maybe I'll just start carrying around my big camera and say I'm with an American newspaper. That would work, except a terrible idea in a bar. That camera will be gone or ruined in a matter of days. But maybe one night. Sometimes I think I live in city that idolizes Cat Woman. At any given time, anywhere, at least 50 percent of the women I see look like Cat Woman. I mean, it's attractive on one level I suppose, but the whole thing is laughable. I hate that this place has more women than men, but I don't envy the men. They have way too many women to look at. The streets, and certainly the clubs are filled with women that seem to only wear shirts and boots. Um, hello? It's cold outside? Maybe you want to put some pants on? Or maybe a skirt that goes below your ass? But the thing is, while they look easy, I'm sure they aren't. You have to have cash to ride this ride. Then there's the issue that even if you have the cash to pursue such a roller-coaster, you will most likely walk away with some parting gifts. Perhaps a case of the clap and a free trip to the abortion doctor. I read somewhere yesterday that women say its safer to have multiple abortions than to have a baby in a Russian hospital. And to my knowledge this is the leading form of birth control still. Whatever your opinion of abortion, you have to believe that it isn't a great idea to have 8 of them before you're 30.
Continuing on my ethnic tour last night, I was saved from a passing car of assholes, by a Turkmenistani guy at the convenience store next to my house. A BMW blaring Ludicrous, pulled up next to me as I crossed the street to my house, yelling god only knows what out the window at me. I didn't even look at them long enough to try to determine their motivation. If they spoke English, I would have had a few words for them. I tried to hide behind a van, but when they didn't leave, the guy at the store called me over there. Then they left. I mean, I know I was feeling a little down about my daily appearance in a city full of plastic barbie dolls, but this wasn't the kind of attention I was looking for!
Do you know how cheap cigarettes are here? It’s ridiculous. Parliaments cost maybe $1.75. There are plenty of cigarettes that cost about $0.50. You have to smoke in Russia. You’re wasting money if you don’t smoke here. We’re in an economic crisis, for christ’s sake.
Yesterday I saw a lobster man. He was standing at a lamppost, waving his hands at people and saying things with a terrible look on his face. I had my headphones on, so I wasn’t able to even try to understand what he was saying. I just walked quickly the other direction to avoid having his lobster hands in my face. Maybe that was wrong, but I don’t think I can change the human instinct to run from what is obviously a mistake in nature. Had he been less aggressive, perhaps my reaction would have been different. It’s kind of surreal. It happened so fast, I’m not sure it really happened. Like the dead guy at the bus stop. “So how was Russia? Did you see some cool stuff?” “Oh yes! Some amazing museums, and the architecture, fantastic! The dead guy at the bus stop was a highlight, and the Lobster boy! What a city!”