I've been many times before, but I wanted to get some things before we leave Moscow. Namely a fur hat for The Spouse, one for Skittles that covers her ears (her white fluffy one does not), and fur scarves like the one I bought for myself in Suzdal. (See photo here.)
Here are the girls in their hats.
Aunt Heidi is now the proud owner of the white hat.
I already have a crazy Russian hat that I love.
The City of Moscow shut down part of the market, but just the rabbit warren of vendors hawking cheap Chinese-made crap outside the "vernisage."
Unfortunately, Baboo was charged with remembering to bring my camera and she forgot. So no photos of the shopping. But if you look on Google Images you will find other people's photos.
Since I bought all our chapki (hats) from a dealer there before, I came armed with cash, prices I was willing to pay, and ready to bargain.
We got The Spouse a hat like this, but a better one (no suede) for about a quarter of this price. I got Skittles a white hat like Baboo's pink one. She is thrilled. Plus, two fur scarves (better than mine, I'm afraid to confess).
We had shashlik from one of the shashlik stands. Because it is winter, they directed us to the dining room upstairs, behind the grills.
I had never been there before, and it was very Russian-y, I tell you. It was not heated at all, but enclosed with lots of windows, like a sun porch. No one took off their coat to eat. Two men at the table next to us were eating all sorts of sausages and pickled vegetables, smoking endless cigarettes, and splitting a bottle of vodka between them. They were cheerful and boisterous.
There was a babushka-type clearing tables. The Spouse saw her saving uneaten meat in a plastic bag. Whether it was for herself, street dogs, or to go back on the grill for the next customer, I told The Spouse, "I am going to leave her a tip."
We left her 20 rubles. She was gobsmacked. "Spasibo," she told The Spouse.
Although I wasn't feeling a burning need for any more Uzbek ceramics (I have some, although they are really, really lovely), I said I wouldn't mind wandering by the vendors' stands, just to see.
I looked. But I didn't find anything calling my name.
What I DID find were these whimsical ceramic figures that I absolutely did not need at all.
The little one is for you, VW.
The vendor was a very large woman in a chapka like mine that rode so low on her face I could not see her eyes. She spoke a mile a minute about her products (in Russian, of course):
Her: "We don't do it [make the ceramic items] for the money. We do it for art. Doing it for the money is senseless."
Her: "We don't know how we make them [the decorative designs on the pieces]. God makes them."
Her: "It's cold today. I'll give you a discount because it is so cold."
Her: "You can see yourself reflected in their eyes."
Her: "They will be lonely. You need to buy more!"
Her: "Each piece is unique. No two are the same."
Her, noting a chip in a piece: "Let me give you another one. It's the same. That one has a bad ear."
She had a Laika dog I kind of liked.
Her: "She's looking up at the stars."
Then I noticed the piece below.
When she turned it around to show me the back, I had to have it.
I don't know the significance of the rabbit (or the mosquito), but that clenched the deal for me.
Yeah, yeah, I know: more tchotchke clutter to dust and break. And right before moving, too. But I only regret the things I DON'T buy.