Sunday, March 15, 2009


We went to a birthday party last night. It's not a big deal for most people to go to a party on a Saturday night. Not sure it's even blog-worthy. But we had a good time, and it was a real change of pace for us.

The party venue was the office of the host/birthday girl (actually, the party was on the occasion of two birthdays). This office, really a showroom, apparently specializes in very high end wallpapers, furniture, upholstery fabrics, and light fixtures. So the space was beautiful with the walls covered in hand-painted wallpaper (which, I believe, may have actually been silk).

The centerpiece was this huge chandelier of Murano glass.

The hysterical thing about this light fixture was that it seemed to be on some sort of flawed circuit that caused the light to turn off and on at regular intervals. The women who worked in this office said it inevitably turned off at crucial moments during the workday. The Spouse could not figure out why no one bothered to deal with the circuit breaker.

In the background you can get a glimpse of some of the wallpaper. I was not in the room for the discussion, but I believe something like this retails for around 600 euro a meter. Not the thing for a family with young children, that's for sure. If you thought The Great Purple Nail Polish/Sofa Spill of 2002 involved a lot of shouting, any piggy marks on this stuff would result in a Parental Nuclear Meltdown.

There was another great chandelier in the bedroom. This picture gives a better idea about the lovely wallpaper. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you can see other photos of the party there.

The party started at 8:00. We arrived fashionably late at 8:45. Our babysitter gets locked out of her dorm at 1:00 a.m., so we need to be home by 11:30 p.m. at the latest in order to give her time to get home. (I asked if she was bribing properly, but she tells me that is useless because the babushka who works the door falls asleep and no amount of pounding will wake her).

We left the party and were hurrying to the Metro when I realized it was 11:23. Panic! I called the sitter to ask if we had already missed the deadline. Poor thing was sleepy and said, "Do you mind if I just stay on the couch tonight?"

Do we mind? Of course not!

So back we went to the party.

Which, by this time, decided we should move on to a club. So we all tumbled out to Novy Arbat and hired "kamikaze taxis" (for a demonstration of how this works, see here). I always called these "gypsy cabs," but The Spouse says the Russians call them "kamikaze" because of their willingness to hurtle across four lanes of traffic to pick up a fare.

There are real taxis in Moscow, but the majority of Muscovites use these private cars that will pick up passengers. To hail one, you just stand on the street and hold out your arm. Sometimes two or even three cars will stop for you as you must haggle with the driver over the fare before entering the car. If you don't like what the driver wants, you walk back to the next car and see what you can negotiate there. The Exile, Moscow's infamous and now defunct alternative paper, has an article here about being a gypsy cab driver. The author explains it all much bettered than I ever could as I have now been in gypsy cabs a grand total of three times. Two of which were last night.

Two hundred rubles got us from Novy Arbat to Chistye Prudy. Where we waltzed right past the bouncers (no "feis control" here) and into this nightclub/bar/restaurant (Krisis Zhanre or Crisis Genre).

It was absolutely packed, but the crowd was really fun. It wasn't a gay bar, but we speculated that it might be gay-friendly. Or maybe Russians and Europeans totally screw up my gay-dar.

There was a dance floor crowded with people and a fun DJ, as well as a fun band (someone told me the singer was the club owner). So we all danced. The birthday girls bought drinks for everyone (in Russia, you buy the drinks on your birthday).

And next thing I knew it was almost 4:00 in the morning. The Spouse and I collected out coats from the coat-check lady, walked outside, and got ourselves another kamikaze taxi home. They were lined up outside the club two deep.

I must have gotten up around 9:30 this morning, but as soon as we fed the kids and waved goodbye to the sitter, I went back to bed until 3:00 p.m.

The funny or at least notable thing about last night was that I was, far and away, the oldest person not only at the party, but probably in the club as well. Some of this I figured out while talking to people. But the other revelations came today with the inevitable new Facebook invitations and examination of people's INFO.

It's weird. I am old enough to be some of these peoples' mother. But when I am hanging out with them I don't feel older. And looking at the photos later, I don't think, "Who let Grandma in?"

So far.


elektrokuhinja said...

You two were such party-animals! You should definitelly go out with us more. So, next weekend, Krizis Zanra :)?

Tina in CT said...

You sure made up for lost time being out without the girls. Good that the sitter could spend the night.

I'm often the oldest in the group but what the ....?

The lighting/walls are magnificient. I'd be afraid of a fire with that electrical hook-up if I were the shop owner.

The Expatresse said...

I sure had fun, but not sure I can maintain this pace every weekend. I'll give it serious consideration, though.

The Expatresse said...

And let me just add, that on the ride home, as I covered one eye with my hand so I could see, all I could think of was this blogger's cab ride story:

TRex said...

Check my blawg for pics. We spend all our free time in Italy, my wife after 17 years of work is technically Italian. Cuz, like, we like Italy.

But we can't afford the big glass, damn!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, you make it sound like you are 100, you're young - Alex

Jen said...

You sound like you had such a great time! If you forget about your age, so does everyone else :)

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