Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tonight you will learn to drink like a Russian

I was a little depressed after Claudia departed for the airport; I am not going to lie.  We had a fabulous time getting into adventures and getting into and out of trouble.  I spent most of the day after she left sleeping and trying to get rid of my now lingering cough.  It seems now, that I was resting and preparing for the night ahead.  I finally had arranged an evening with Crazy Dave from the Ukraine.

About six months ago, I told Mark that I was planning to volunteer and tour Ukraine.  His initial reaction was, “Oh my God, you should try to find Crazy Dave from the Ukraine.”  A little skeptical about his infamous title, I inquired with caution.  Dave was apparently a longtime best friend of Mark’s brother who moved to Ukraine shortly after the fall of communism, was a pioneer in the Internet Ukrainian bride industry, and all around legend.   After a few years of misadventures in the Siberian Mountains, he got married and started a family.  He sounded interesting, so Mark said he would ask his brother if he could get in touch with him online.  We soon thereafter became Facebook friends; Crazy Dave was excited to hear when I would be in Kiev so he could show me the ropes. 
Me and Crazy Dave
Olga, me and Timur

After many failed phone calls and boched planning, we finally had arranged an evening together.  He invited his lovely Russian wife, Olga, and one of his best friends.  We blasted the Black Eyed Peas as we sped down the roads to Kiev’s downtown.  Dave told him that the Black Eyed Peas once came to Kiev and he and his wife were invited to the after party because they were also former residents of Sonoma County.  How amazing is that!  We made our way to Art Club 44, a bar that hosts local bands trying to get big.  Olga and I chatted and bonded very quickly and I was feeling very good about the evening, until it was suggested that we go elsewhere because the music was too loud and the crowd too young and drunk.  We left our half consumed beers on the bar and set foot towards our next destination.
Art Club 44

We went to a very cute home style restaurant that had a pet piglet.  We sat down began to peruse the menu.  Not necessary.

Dave’s Friend: “Do you like vodka?”
Erica: “Of course.”
Dave’s Friend: “Then tonight, we teach you to drink like a Russian.”

I know I had an earlier post about only drinking vodka with little snacks and food known as zakuski, but I had no idea how thoroughly regimented shot taking can be.  We got our pickled garlic, cabbage, tomatoes, and pickles and started the process.  The first two shots we taken relatively quickly, with barely enough time to start a new conversation topic.  We toasted to our meeting and looked each other in the eyes as we cheered.  Then we settled down a bit, letting the vodka slowly make its rounds through my body.  The third shot was a shot in honor of the ladies present and is taken about 20 minutes after the first two.  Olga and I stayed seated until the men stood with their shot glasses In hand.  Third shot down.  Maybe around this point, I started to realize that my alcohol tolerance did not include vodka, as the entire time I had been sticking to beer rather than hard liquor.  After hanging out for a little while longer, it was decided that it was time to drive home.   I wish I could still drink like a college kid, because I would have loved to see where the drinking game led.  After all, I only made it to round three. It’s like a secret society, I could discover their secrets, but then they would have to kill me.  Murder weapon of choice: alcohol poisoning.   

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