Where is the store? "Gdye magazin?"
I walk to the town tonite. The weather is absolutely beautiful. Couldn't be better. On the way I notice some rain clouds coming in waves though. It is so flat I see them from eons away. Some of them coming look quite black and widespread, so I'm thinking I have made a mistake in not bringing my umbrella. It is still beautiful. The walk seems longer than 2 kilometres to town. It's quite probably not. It takes me about a half hour to walk in to town. At 4 mph, that would be about 1.75 kilometres. It is much more comfortable than walking on the city pavement - as I spend most of my walking time on the roadside. It is hard gravel, but this is softer than pavement.
It is a village - about 1k population they say, but the actual village center would surprise me if it held 500. Close up it does not look quite so "shacktown" as it does driving through fast. Walking you can see the lumber and work involved. There is still plenty of patchwork using, ahem, cough, "available materials". I walk in to town, and say hello to a babushka walking towards the street. I ask her where the market is. She understands my pronunciation of market, so she points. It could have been less obvious I suppose, but I don't know how. It was a half block up and on the main street, with a half dozen or so people out front.
Four of those people out front are babushkas selling a little produce - almost certainly that they have grown. No fruit, just veggies, and I am more than a little shy, so I head inside to the store. Once inside, I enter a decent sized room with shelves of products behind a counter that forms a u shape for 3 of the room's walls. The fourth wall is the front of the store - windows. I look at their products, and start to puzzle through some things and check out what they have. Pretty basic stuff. There are two counter ladies. The blond one addresses me in Russian asking "what" something. I say "one minute" in Russian, and she is cool with that. I browse a bit more, find what I think is bleach, smoked turkey legs, cheese, yogurt, beer, wine and bread. I point to some things, and use the PDA to translate for me on bleach. She points to the bottle I had thot it would be. She motions something that looks like scrubbing clothes while talking, and one of the words sounds something like "disinfect" so I go with it and say "Da, da". The turkey and cheese I just point too. We have a foreigner's crippled conversation over the beer. I find the word for dark, she lights up 'o yeah', but looks and says, of all things "nada". Now what the heck is "nada" doing in Russian? Don't ask me, and I can't find anything like it in the ru-en dictionary.
So I buy some stuff that she says is not beer, but something else, but looks like beer, and everybody is buying quarts like it was beer, and it is what they've got, so I buy a quart. And I buy a bottle of Moldovan Merlot for a 100 rubles (sto rublay). Cheap cheap! I will see who has gotten the best of this bargain soon enuff. I don't do to badly, spending only about 500 rubles, about 17 $$.
On the way back I realize that I am once again lucky, and have missed the rain almost completely. I haven't seen a single stick to pick up and play sticks with, but about halfway I do find a metal bar that probably belonged to one of the trucks that come by frequently. I pick it up and decide it will be good for stick play. I take it with. My little bag - my NY courier bag style book bag, made by Globe courier bag company, is stuffed with groceries and supplies. I bought a kilo of red apples at 29 rubles for the kilo. Not bad.
I get back 5 minutes before the dining room closes for dinner, put my stuff in the fridge, and hurry down to dinner. I make it with a couple minutes to spare, and I am hungry as a Sara-hound.
After dinner I open the wine. On opening, it is a bit harsh, but after airing for a bit, it is quite palatable. A tad dry and dusty, but with nice flavor, and quite drinkable. I guess I got the bargain.