Sunday, January 31, 2010

God Makes Them

Yesterday The Spouse, Baboo, and I went out to the market at Izmailovsky (Metro Partizanskaya). Skittles had a play-date/sleepover.

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.

14 comments:

Jean E said...

Wonderful tale, I love your wordsmithing...I was almost there with you!

moscow daily photo said...

I can't buy enough of those hats. I lu-uh-uv the pink one. $500 on the website! Wow! Great post.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had time to publish my life and write blogs all day but I must work 15 hrs a day to feed my family. I hope you enjoyed staying in our country!

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Well Anonymous, at least you have the time to read other people's blogs..That is something!
I wish I could come to your country and "enjoy it"...If you want to visit my blog you will find my email address. Email me and we can set up a visit.

Tina in CT said...

The day we were at the market, it was also very cold but I was toasty warm. We did not try eating anything there so you were brave.

I drooled at the fur but we didn't price any of the hats as I don't need them here in CT.

Your ceramics are so adorable.

I bought a lot of the painted boxes and pins as I have quite a collection of them.

Did you see the vendor with all the bras?

When does the packing start?

How are the girls feeling about the move? Will they go to a French school there?

Susan said...

Anonymous, My daughters husband also works more than 15 hours a day to support his family in Moscow.
If you are going to leave rude comments you should leave your name!
Hiding behind anonymous, no one takes you seriously!!

Susan said...

We visited that market in September. The weather was beautiful.
We also ate at the same place you mentioned. It was fun!!

Anonymous said...

Oy,
I love all that artsy things and all the fur hats. And I dissagree with Tina - you can tolerate fur hat in CT for few minutes it takes us to get to and from our cars (the rest of the time the hat can slamber in the back seat or in your office).
You can tell I want one really bad.
And the hare and the mosquito are adorable.
I am with you - the only regrets I have are about things I did not buy.
I think I understand the Anonymous feelings, but it would be nice to have a contact point to get the conversation going.
Olga

valentina said...

WEll of course I LOVED this entry and especially when I read you were buying ceramics I was just about to fire off an email and tell you "Don't forget Auntie Vali"! because it had my name on it, but then the very next pix at the bottom was the remark that one was for me! That adorable little kitty cat. Thanks so much in advance! I will wait for July! (Not that I won't anyway to see you all desperately!) Anyhow the rabbit and mosquito and the holy family are really lovely too. I am glad you are getting some stuff this time as it is unlikely you will go back for sometime if at all?

I am going in to wash the dreaded hair having just placed the requisite reminder on face book to vote for you in the blog contest! I am convinced that posting the link is the key! Anyhow it is lovely to see you climbing the ladder! To the moon! It is such a wonderful blog and I am sure that Luxembourg will hold many exciting postings as well!

The fur hats are great and your whole family must put them on together and get a picture taken at some land mark like the Star cafe or the Taurus Bulba or some place you have told us all about!

Now in to the shower! I finally have the house sufficiently warm to get in there and out with long, clammy, wet hair! xov

katbat said...

ooh I love your purchases! We havent been in quite a while - I need to get over there to pick up some ceramics, and I want dinas alphabet pillow too! We walked by one of the "fur" vendors once and the guy yelled "$5 for 2 hats!" I was curious what type of "fur" it was! We have had shashlik and beer there many times - pretty tasty - kids love the salmon and the bread - and we always go upstairs to eat. (kids like to sit on the heat pipe that runs along the wall) I know the lady you are talking about - she always comes over and chats - coos to natasha, etc. did you see anyone drinking hot tea in melting plastic cups? Did you notice the stuffed animals all over? I love places like that more than fancyshmancy, or the "themed" restaurants. You picked some good stuff!

katbat said...

ooh I love your purchases! We havent been in quite a while - I need to get over there to pick up some ceramics, and I want dinas alphabet pillow too! We walked by one of the "fur" vendors once and the guy yelled "$5 for 2 hats!" I was curious what type of "fur" it was! We have had shashlik and beer there many times - pretty tasty - kids love the salmon and the bread - and we always go upstairs to eat. (kids like to sit on the heat pipe that runs along the wall) I know the lady you are talking about - she always comes over and chats - coos to natasha, etc. did you see anyone drinking hot tea in melting plastic cups? Did you notice the stuffed animals all over? I love places like that more than fancyshmancy, or the "themed" restaurants. You picked some good stuff!

The Expatresse said...

We had hot wine in the plastic cups. Reminded me of the Christmas market in Bratislava.

And yes, the funny stuffed animals. Pink and dirty!

citymouse said...

I loved the rabbit and would have bought each and every one of those pieces. I especially loved your thought that you only regret the things you don't buy!

Naartjie said...

I am a total sucker for all things rabbit.

Loving your blog, it makes me feel welcome :-D