It’s impossible here in Russia not to acknowledge my bourgeois background. This morning, a rainy one, I lingered happily over my luxurious breakfast in a lovely room. The rain splattered outside, inside white table cloths, linen napkins, friendly waitresses willing to let me practice my few remaining Russian phrases, happy to fetch me a a poached egg, more tea. All this along with the time to relax, to savor it. I remembered Dickey’s poem, and gave it a nod. I didn’t even have to think about where to procure the sausages–it was all there for me.
I brought the second two volumes of Elena Ferrante’s Neoplitan trilogy and have already gone through the whole second volume. I’m having to ration it, like a drug, it’s so good. I read a few dozen pages at breakfast, looking up, thinking about her extraordinary ability to articulate contradictory emotions, to draw the reader into her world.
Yesterday we visited the Stray Dog Cafe, and had a bowl of soup there after the Russian Museum. They have definitely taken the stray dog theme inside to an extreme, with all sorts of felt, leather, wood, and illuminated dogs. I left a copy of my book with the bemused waitress. Today, I received an email that they’d like to sell the book–that gave me a lot of pleasure. Here are a few photos of the Cafe.
And here are few sights that seemed unusual to me: Two different sidewalk sweeping machines, a rain gutter, a tarp made to look like a building. I never understand why people take of landmark buildings–these are so much better done in postcards that unless you want to be in the picture, it seems better just to buy the professional photo for a few cents. As for taking pictures of the pictures in the museum, this only makes sense to me if they aren’t available elsewhere.