Sunday, June 21, 2009
There is a lot of affluence, and a lot of poverty around here. It seems that Russians want to get the best of the western world yet it doesn’t exactly work. Today we drove a BMW X5 to see a working dog show by the local police department. Fake polar bear skin seat covers spoiled the interior of the SUV. Roads without pot holes are unseen, so the drive was more like a jeep tour in Moab than a Sunday morning ride in a luxury car. The show itself was a little sad too. First of all, it was clear that most of the dogs – German Shepherds, Labradors, Caucasian Shepherds, with an exception of a Spaniel - suffered from hip displasia. Watching them run and jump was quite unlike watching our happy pack on a hike. Even the handlers looked like they were in pain as they were running along with their animals. True, the dogs were able to do many interesting tricks, but overall it seemed like a very unsuccessful attempt at a Schutzhund trial (if you have not seen one of those, imagine watching a K9 performance on Cops, except that the K9 and the cop are both handicapped). Then we went for an early afternoon cup of tea (заехли на чай – people drop by for tea all the time) to one of my host’s friend’s brand new mansion in the suburbs. It was evident that the owners have a lot of money, but everything looked like work in progress even though the house was “finished” four years ago. I have to wonder if it’s the mentality or the lack of skill. It’s like they never get anything done right, and stop half way in the middle – kinda the way I would go about installing an air conditioner without properly pre-drilling holes for screws and patching any openings with duck tape (that really is the way I would do it, which means I would most likely ask Alex to install it for me). The tea party actually started with quite a few shots of brandy and what I assume to be typical Russian snacks – slices of cheese, sausage, and other meats, caviar, bread, and cookies – and by the time it came to tea my host and her two female friends were beginning to sing. Thankfully our driver didn’t drink.