Friday, December 21, 2007

More walking....

We went to the mall today - huge - called Mega, obviously! Lots of stores - even has an ice skating rink in the food court! AND Starbucks! We stopped for lattes and picked up mugs. I forgot my knitting - sigh - but we will be going back. One of the stores is a HUGE supermarket - maybe twice the size of a Costco but no bulk stuff - has 92 cashiers! Picked up some goodies. Several toy stores which we had to check out, of course. The kids here wear costumes for New Years - girls as princesses and boys as charaters. Got the dgds masks - and Lisa probably talked to Claire and Amy as she put some lovely hats on me. Yes, there are pictures but I can't get my camera's software on this computer so you'll have to wait until I get home.
Looked in a department store called Stockmans, I think. Very fancy clothes with hefty price tags - a toy Mike bought the other day in another store was $80 more there! They have a food section (Harrods copycat)- surprisingly, I didn't think it was expensive. Picked up a panetone for Lisa for $20 - Fairway wanted $27! We got some chop meat. Beef is not easy to find here and Lisa doesn't like the quality. They eat lots of chicken. Grandpa made meatballs for dinner. It cost around for 180 ru for a kilo (little more than 2 pounds)- that's less than 8 dollars.
The weather is the same - a little sun very briefly. It's not that cold - I didn't need my hat and gloves.
I don't remember if I talked about how they overdress their children. Lots of layers - Daddy says they look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy! And it seem mandantory to have a scarf wrapped around their necks tied in back. They know how to dress themselves except for those scarves. They can hardly move and I wonder how overheated they get. The kids go out everyday regardless of the weather. The dgds were covered in mud when we picked them up from school yesterday. Looks like you need several snowsuits to keep up with the wash.
Sophia had dancing class this afternoon. Mike taped it - they are learning the chicken dance! Not the ballet steps I imagined.
We went to the emabssy school to use the ATM - Citibank is big here. The building is magnificent. It starts at Kindergarden and goes through high school. It is based on the American system even though it run by the British, Canadian and American embassies. The pool is open in the evenings. The entrance is just down the street from the house but still in the complex.
It looks like there are 200 town houses in the complex - mostly all foreigners from different countries - government and business people. There is a playground and a park area and a store - they call it the Russian bodega! Stocks the usual stuff but has it's own personality - milk is delivered only once week on Tuesdays from Finland - so they runout by Wednesdays - lots of parmalat!
It's right next to the nursery school just down the block - a perfect location for afer school treats! This is a Montessorri school - read a newspaper article that this is something new in Russia. They can only go up to 6 years old. Sophia will go to the "big" school next year. (Mike "put in" to extend their stay but they haven't heard if it's been accepted yet)
There is one block in the complex of business people - lots of full time maids and nannies - chauffers AND second cars with bodyguards. So I'm not worried about security - since they don't lock the doors. I guess their not either!
The dgds won't speak in Russian for us but I've heard them reply to their teachers so they are learning. They wouldn't help me in the store even with a bribe - so much for my influence. They seem to have mastered the same skills American kids do at their age - so I'm not worried about them.

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