Monday, March 26, 2012


First, watch this.
Then let's talk. We went bowling at Holiday this weekend. There wasn't much of a crowd despite it being 10 pm on a Saturday night... or is that not surprising? There were two guys drinking beer in the lane next to ours. One guy was so drunk that he threw his ball not only at the pins (occasionally) but also in all kinds of other directions, even towards our table. Who guessed that bowling was such a hazardous sport? Holiday turns into a bowling and drinking establishment only after 10 pm. The TV screens still show pictures of pizza and salad but you can't even get a bowl of nuts after 10 PM so all that drinking really goes to your head!
A булава!
Since this was a birthday celebration, D and I brought an old-fashioned Ukrainian gift- the булава. Please keep in mind that the man we presented this to is over 6 feet tall and is made of solid muscle. According to tradition, the булава belonged to the getman (usually fierce-looking men, military leaders of Ukraine, head of the cossacks). D presented this gift as tradition dictated- the gift must be offered three times, refused the first two times and finally accepted the third. Our friend then put his hand on his heart and heroically sang the Ukrainian national hymn.
 Here's a fitting ending for this story- later that night our friend walked home (say, 4 AM). By this point he had discarded the box and was just carrying the булава by hand. He had almost made it to his building when a police car pulled up beside him. "Young man, where are you going with that thing?" Imagine this scene! Luckily he was eventually able to convince them that he was not Conan the Barbarian. Anyways, after bowling we made a snap decision to try getting into the Holiday night club next door. I was skeptical that they'd let us in, since we were all in casual clothes and many places have фейс-контроль (face control). I was wrong. This may be because the cover charge was an astonishing 25 bucks per person, so they were willing to overlook our fashion shortfalls. Why so expensive? I'm glad you asked!
The new Cossacks
Just randomly, on the most haphazard chance, and by all of our lucky stars we'd stumbled upon a Kazaky performance. Right now you're probably thinking- a) wow, that's AWESOME or b) What's a Kazaky? For a) readers: yes, it was!!! For b) readers: The Cossacks were a military organization in Ukraine several centuries back. They were the manly men of old Ukraine; they toted around weapons, shaved their heads, and fought everyone.
The old Cossacks
Now, fast forward to 2010. Four hot guys, dancing in heels, gender-bending a little. And did I mention they can dance! We got there just as the show was starting and it was as loud and as energetic as I hoped it would be!!! I love these guys. It was a short show- it felt like twenty minutes, so we stuck around after they left the stage. The music was 50% Russian pop, 50% eighties music (Bon Jovi, etc), and the dance floor was teeming with women. Women in corsets, women in stilettos, women in sparkly makeup. I've never seen so many long-haired women in one place in my life- it was like a hair convention. Men lurked on the edges of the crowd, watching and waiting. I walked in front of a camera and got in the angry crosshairs of a TV reporter dressed like Morticia Addams, no joke. Security were all over the club and were quick to crack down on any rule-breakers. In all, the club was okay but it was a little stiff: it was obviously a place to see and be seen and some people there had such massive egos that they could attract planetary matter from another galaxy. Remember this, NASA, in case of emergency. But who cares. Because... Kazaky!!!

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