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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pectopah and Gayachaya Shukalat: Russian Impressions

I just returned from a working trip to Russia. Yet again, as with most working trips, my eyes are opened to new cultures and most often than not, an entire new world. Russia did not disappoint when it came to gaining new insights and experiences.

Whenever I travel, I always have the habit of borrowing city guidebooks and phrasebooks. So for my 1.5 week stint in Russia, a Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook and an Eyewitness Guide to Moscow were always with me. They have not failed so far in providing me with the most important information. Short of a personal tour guide, this was the best hassle-free alternative. I didn't find guidebooks on Perm, Omsk, or Rostov-on-don, but information from the internet (especially wikipedia.com) provided me with sufficient knowledge to get by. After all, we would have been taken care of by our clients in those cities.

And so it was on the first night in Moscow that our team were alone and without our Russian translator. The temperature was just slightly above zero degrees and we needed that oh-so-warm-oh-so-shiok hot chocolate drink.

Well, too bad our SGD700 per room per night hotel did not even have boiling water facilities, nor did it have any comfort tidbits in the room fridge! We had to walk to a nearby Kope (read: Cafe) for hot chocolate.

At the Kope, the menu did not state 'hot chocolate' in it. It was late in the night (about midnight) so we didn't want coffee or chay (tea). I whipped out my life-saver - the Russian Phrasebook.

Russian phrasebook says that 'hot' is 'gayachaya', and 'chocolate' is 'shukalat'. I tried ordering 'gayachaya shukalat'. Waiter seemed to understand. Moments later, we were served our 'gayachaya shukalat':


Check out the extreme lumpiness of the melted chocolate. We had to dilute the thick chocolate slosh to make it seem liquidty. Hmmm.. come to think of it, we never got to find out from Olga if 'gayachaya shukalat' was really a typical russian beverage (or is it a dessert?).

And as for 'Pectopah'? The signs were everywhere, and we always went to 'Pectopah' for our food. Our english phonetics would pronounce it as 'pack-toh-pah', but seriously.... 'Pectopah' is pronounced as.... 'res-tau-rant'. Really.

And I thought foto-mat meant self-portrait?

1 comment:

Benedict Suraj Suratanakavikul said...

I realised that you like to visit NLB.
Every book you carried that I saw are all from NLB!
INTERESTING!!!!