Another culture shock

I took the photo of Yelena Mizulina to illustrate that type of stern Russian woman.

While having a snack in one of Kandalaksha’s numerous good and inexpensive cafes I was approached by a stern elegantly dressed semi-older woman, a Yelena Misulina* slightly older look alike, who asked me, with politeness of the sort that makes anything but obenience unthinkable, to free the table “because I always sit there”. Being a timid soul and a wimp on top of it I complied, and proceeded to entertain myself by observing the intruder. The latter got to the task of intense spacial expantion, and it was kind of sad fun to watch.First, this semi-babushka positioned her watch and a bottle of pills on an unfoledd mapkin in the middle of the table. Then she got a plate and placed it at the corner, and a drink that she at the other corner, and then carefully arranged the many items of her elaborate outfit in a way to occupy the entire coatrack and three chairs, then she got himself a huge stack of paper napkins, then did some manipulations with trays to mark the borders of her empire. In two minutes all the available space was hers, with her towering over it with the most victorous of looks. That was a perfect model of how emires are build. The silly me left the camera at home again so I can only tell, not show. Why do I encounter things of ontological significance when I don’t have a camera! I want a mobile phone with a camera, if anybody wants to make me a Xmas present (December 25 on the Julian calandar corresponds to January 7 on the modern one). Words can’t quite convey the scene but that’s all I got at my disposal. This whole entertainmnet cost me an equivalent of $5, and that included a shot of vodka and a small glass of beer.


*Yelena Mizulina is an MP, the head of some sort of Family Protection Committee, who regularly comes up with initiatives like banning non-procreational forms of intercourse (eg. her recent bill to ban oral sex). Actually no, their latest idea, also widely supported, is to amend the Constitution to make Russian Orthodoxy the official state ideology. Even the church appears to be less than thrilled by the prospect of being integrated into the political system. As of recent I’ve been regularly observing situations when this evil medieval institution displays way more intelligence and tact than people firmly immersed into the modern world. But that’s anther story that has little to do with my continued attempt to entice travellers to this cold and humid corner of an already not too hospitable land.

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