Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ekaterinburg in a Meat Bag

Ekaterinburg was obsessed with the Beatles!
Church to commemorate the death of the Romanovs

The love you take is equal to the love you make... - The Beatles

The city of Ekaterinburg is large, historical and happening. We saw the memorials, churches, the downtown, and even, randomly enough, a tribute to the Beatles.

This is a random sign I thought was funny.  It states, "Be careful!  Evil Dog!"

Wandering the city was a lot of fun.  It was a little cold and overcast, but all in all, it was a beautiful city. The night life however, requires more explanation.

Every night we were out until 6AM.  It's not that James and I are that cool, staying out till the sun rises - this is just the norm in Russia.  Our first night, we were supposed to head to a different location because the hostel was over booked.  There were people who were supposed to leave at 4AM; we never had to go to the alternate housing.  By the time we got back from our night out, they were already gone.  That first club was interesting.  At first they didn't want to let us in, but as soon as we told them we were from California, they told us to put our coats aways and come back.  Oh yes, in the words of Katy Perry, "California gurls, we're unforgettable!"  Inside, was a mix of bad techno, and what look like underage girls.  It looked like a high school dance.  This is exactly why I would be an opponent of making the minimum drinking age in the USA 18; everyone just looks way too young.

Fellow Travelers at the Yellow Submarine Bar
Of course I started another dance party!
The next night, fellow hostel residents and I went to a Beatles themed bar (What did I tell you about this city's obsession?).  They were by far my favorite travelers I have met on this entire trip.  All super funny and extremely interesting.  At the bar, we met some Russian girls whose men were immediately alarmed and concerned about losing their women to James.  He got pulled aside by a Russian dude and was told, "I don't care what you do, but tonight she is mine."  Yes, women are treated like property here.  We ended up following our new Russian friends around the city after the bar closed at 3AM.

My favorite moments included me trying to explain to this Russian man the concept of a hostel.  
Russian Man: "Five back packs no problem!  You stay with me! I like Back People." 
Erica: "No, not Back People, that sounds like something else in English.  Back-packers!"

I was shocked when they wanted to keep going at 6AM.  I put my foot down, and said, we are close to the hostel - James, we are going home.  I had had enough for one night.  They walked by a Kiosk and offered to buy me a beer.  Confused, but I am walking home??  This is Russia. 

After they walked us home, they told us to call them in the morning so we could hang out again.  

Erica to the 50 year Pyoter: "Tomorrow is Monday, don't you have to work?"
Pyoter: "Yess, sure, but for you, whatever."

I love Russia.  We were out until 6AM on Monday morning, everyone had work that day, and they still went out after the wet blanket Americans wanted to go home.

What happened next was unexpected.  This is what happens when you stumble into your hostel at 6AM.

This Frenchman who was staying in our hostel slept in a sleeping bag like sheet called a "meat bag."  The logic is that you can sleep in it, and not get dirty if the rest of your bed is dirty - quite a handy tool for a traveler.

We came home to find him walking the corridors in his meat bag, with a bottle of vodka in hand.    He somehow got me into his meat bag and I thought this was the funniest thing in the world.  Sadly the pictures of me in the bag head first, a la Borat, were on someone else's camera. 

Irish Invasion of the Meat Bag
The best part was that the Irish guy who was also staying with us got jealous and also wanted to get into the meat bag.  His entrance into the French territory sparked an epic battle at 7AM in the middle of the hostel.

Nothing like two full grown men fighting over a meat bag to make you glad you were sober enough to catch it on film and actually remember the madness that ensued.  

I was terrified they were going to break something in the hostel.  Remember kids, Drinking is Dangerous!

Peaceful Coexistence?

Irish winning the Battle of the Meat Bag
French Retaliation
The French guy kept insisting, "I won!" because he had slapped the Irish guy.  
James: "You bitch-slapped him.  You both lose!"
Just like the French to think they won when it is obvious that they were far from victory.

The French was subdued - America watches in neutrality


  1. saw this today and thought of your experience. It pretty much sums up traveling through Ukraine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI-FY0ub9pc&feature=player_embedded


  2. Have fun with home comforts and make new friends at some of the world's best small hostels.

    Hostels in Buenos Aires