Monday, October 08, 2012

The freaky chocolate children of Moscow

Before I moved to France I was told the French were rude, wore berets, and walked down the streets with their noses as high as their baguettes.

Before I moved to the UK people told me the English loved tea and scones and that everyone sounded like they were on the BBC.

And before I moved to Spain I was told there would be gypsies and flamenco dancers and that I should take a lot of maxi pads because Spanish women didn't know how to manage their periods.

As you'd expect, and as is often the case with stereotypes and cliches, most of what I was told turned out to be untrue or half-baked (the reason you can't find maxi pads in Spain is simply because Spanish women don't menstruate). Which made me wonder about my latest city: Moscow. All I really had to go on before coming here were Cold War action movies and a crazy company I worked for whose Russian owner was always telling me he wanted to be a "sex hero" and once tried to convince me that we should change the app into an anonymous sex club. So I didn't really know what to think of Russia.

Now I could write to you about how, four weeks into our new adventure, I think Moscow is a fantastic city. But none of you are coming to visit me, so I'm not going to bother with that. Let's instead talk about what no one talks about when they talk about Russia: freaky children.

Freaky children are everywhere here--particularly on the covers of chocolate bars and in department store windows (the one near my house has them wrapped up in theatrical cobwebs). Why? Why?

I should have expected this. After all, I encountered one of them on my first work trip to Russia years ago.

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