So I decided to co-host a Thanksgiving spectacular in
and was put in charge of procuring the turkey, not an entirely easy feat in our fair city. I figured since I have been worthless in updating my blog lately while attempting to finish a Qualifying Paper on an experiment that I performed on myself, which will hopefully get me one step closer to the elusive goal of full-fledged PhD candidacy, I would take my camera along and document the trip to the market. It’s a bit rushed as I have to run off to cook said turkey but here you go and Happy Thanksgiving! Kazan
We start out in my lobby with a new pair of boots purchased on a recent trip to
, (though not with fellowship funding of course, ahem) Moscow
Everything, even my apartment block, becomes charming in the snow
There’s our good friend the Old Windmill where I go when the internet breaks down at my “office” in the Boogie Woogie Pizza
New boots in the snow
Street dog in the snow
Oh and I realized when a friend was in town and looking around for the "wooden houses of old Kazan" which are apparently important and historic, that there are quite a number of them in my neighborhood
If not a bit ramshackle...
Snow dog who leapt after me and grabbed my mitten in his mouth and refused to let go, which his owner found charming, and I found less charming as it caused me to miss the tram that was just pulling out from the stop
This left me with a 35 minute, yes 35 minute, wait at the tram stop from which I bring you the following pictures, as well as a hole in my mitten courtesy of the charming snow dog...
What's on in Kazan...
Have I mentioned that it’s a gay mecca, unofficially speaking. Except no one actually realizes how gay something like this upcoming performance by “the blue berets” is and all of the gay men are closeted, which makes being in a gay mecca slightly less fun...
Old ladies at the bus stop
The tram arrives! But in the wrong direction—we need to wait for it to loop around and get back to us—yes there is only
And so we wait...
But we’re finally on!
And here is the ticket, the quality of which you might not be able to tell from this photo, it’s thinner than toilet tissue and dissolves upon contact with skin
The conductor’s space
Two gold coats in a row!
And 30 minutes later we’ve finally made it to the kolkhozniy market! You’d think they’d have changed the name by now since kolkhozes, that is collective farms, went a bit out of fashion in the 90s, but traditions are traditions I suppose and I don’t think all that much has changed at the market since the fall of communism
Snack shop in the snow....
Homemade mittens and socks (yes, I just spoiled the surprise—you’re all getting them as gifts when I’m back as there’s nothing else to buy here)
I got yelled at while taking this picture by a guy in a neighboring stall who said “Girl, you have to pay me 5 rubles to take a photograph.” I said “That’s a crock of shit” in English because I still haven’t mastered cursing in Russian, something about reaction times and neural plasticity, the English just comes out before I even begin to think through the appropriate Russian response, have to work on that...
Trying to capture the fetid color of the trampled snow—a diarrheal brown that doesn’t quite translate on film
We've arrived at the indoor portion of the kolkhonniy rinok!
The Hall of Grains...
The Hall of Pickled Items....
And my favorite, the Meat Hall!
This woman was not thrilled that I took her picture but then warmed up to me after I explained that I was a foreigner and looking for a turkey for a very important American holiday
Mmmmm, organ meats....
So when I left the Meat Hall in search of the Poultry Hall I had to pass through the Dried Fruit Alleyway where all the Central Asian and Caucasian men linger.
This guy started talking to me about my camera and I was getting angry thinking that he was about to tell me I had to pay him for the photographs until I realized that he was just asking me to take a photo of him!
Then this guy seeing me take a photo of the guy across the way said “Hey, I’m a person too, take a picture of me!” and I complied.
This went on ad nauseum until I explained to them that I had to make my way to the Poultry Hall to find a turkey for a very important American holiday
And then, ding ding ding!
This woman was very happy to sell me a “very young” turkey which I suppose is a good thing (?)
She then insisted that I take her number in case I need anything else, the anything else was left ambiguous, a turkey, some conversation, a trip to her Tatar village, whatever I like!
Everyone was incredibly open and friendly at the market which was nice reprieve from the general rudeness that abounds on the streets and I made my way out the back entrance looking for a cab. As I sat the heavy turkey down in the snow a little man in a Tatar/Muslim skull cap walked by and said “I have a car.” As is natural to me in former
Soviet spaces this sounded auspicious rather than sketchy and I went with him to his car. Stuck in traffic for over half an hour he taught me Tatar words, told me all about his family, invited me to join them for banya day in their village this Sunday and refused payment at the end of the trip because he believed he had been fated by God to run into me outside of the market and drive me home, "It was written in the book," he said.
With that I bid you all a Happy Thanksgiving!