Monday, August 15, 2011

10 days of a freezing cold hot summer...

Post-it note to self:  “Take nothing for granted!”  This presently applies to the joy of having an unlimited supply of hot water running through the pipes of the apartment. We are in the middle of what I call the "10 day challenge"...currently experiencing 10 invigorating days without a drop of hot water.  Translation:  icy Siberian showers and a selection of cold water rinses for the dishwasher and washing machine.

As relative newbies to Moscow, we are being initiated into the concept of no hot water throughout the city for 10 days.  And let me tell you...cold water in Moscow, in the summer, is darn frigid!

While Moscow is emerging from the shadows of Soviet times and starting to come into its own as a flourishing city, a few items of old-world deprivation remain.  Most buildings in Moscow get their hot water from a central city plant rather than from hot water boilers in the basement, as we do in the U.S.  For 10 days, the hot water is turned off throughout the city for pipe maintenance.  Hello breath-taking mornings!

Me after the cold water douse...

As you know, depending on the heat, and workout activity, many summer days are “2-a-days” in the shower department.  After our workout yesterday, Steve and I looked at each other and said “you first”!  My cold water shower survival tactic of choice is the “hokey pokey”.  I put my right arm in, I pull my right arm out, I soap my right arm up and I rinse it all about.  Then lather, rinse, repeat with my other limbs.  And I'm not opposed to “turning myself about” as it makes the whole experience that much more pleasant. 

Two more days to go....then hot water heaven!

This method makes more sense to me...perhaps we can get the neighborhood to chip in for one of these...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sky high heels!

The stereotype of the beautiful Russian woman is, for the most part, spot on.  Kate Moss comes to mind - mixed with a little Gisele and topped with a smidgen of Heidi Klum for good measure.  And there’s no shortage either.  Russian women out number men by approximately 10 million, (76.7 million women, 66.2 million men).   Some say because of this illegible men shortage - competition is fierce - and, so, the young Russian woman is dressed to the nines 24/7.  I give them full credit - it’s quite amazing, really.

And...high heels abound!I We’re talking really, reeeeeeally high heels, in the 4-8 inch category!  All day, every day, through the rains of spring and the deep snows of winter, ascending the steepest of hills and foraging across broken, cracked, iced over, undulating pavement.  Unfazed. Unflinching. They carry on.  I have to think the podiatry clinics here are making a fortune.   As I’ve mentioned, Moscow is very much a walking city - it’s not unusual to walk 5-6 miles a day depending on what’s “on the list” and where we’re going. I’m not quite sure how the heels do it - no insole cushion or strap relief gel pad can stand up to the beating these women dole out on their feet.  Dr. Scholl’s - where are you?  You'd make a killing.  

When we first arrived in Moscow last November, I was completely dumbfounded as to how these women were navigating the elements so gracefully in these stilts. Finally, after weeks of watching these high heeled aficionados navigate over the frozen tundra, I walked into a shoe store and picked up a pair of these shanks to see what gives.  Viola!  Many are made with something like this.... 

 No wonder these gals are prancing on the ice like ballet dancers from the Bolshoi.  Bravo!  (Brava! in Russian).

Now these look very practical....some sort of heavy gauge wire...good for piercing the ice...with solid traction on the ball of the foot - genius!

Here is a hero if there ever was one....I like the way this gal thinks....if I decide to go the high heel route in winter - I’ll just have Steve carry me around.  He’s big and strong after all.
There’s even an annual high heel sprint race in Moscow. Looks competitive and somewhat dangerous...with some banana peeling along the way...

These seem to make a bit more sense...a little clunky maybe...

I posted this photo in an earlier blog entry....but I love it!!!!

This sums it up....

I’ve also heard during Soviet times, high heels were not, the more the merrier!

Shoveling in stilts - impressive!

This link will take you to a video that is an absolute representation of what I would look like on ice, in heels.  It’s a bit lengthy - no need to watch the whole thing - but at the one minute mark you’ll see the knee gear - where can I buy a pair of these???!!!!

I think I’m up for the challenge this winter... I understand “function over fashion”....but what fun is that?  No pain, no gain...maybe.