I’m back from Moscow and Karaganda now, and I’d like to present my own variation on the Czech phrase:

“VÅ¡ude doma, dobÅ™e nejlip.” 😉 (Everywhere’s home, but good is best.)

In Moscow on Saturday night, my hosts took me to a pretty good restaurant called Dacha, but when the bill came, we realized we didn’t have enough cash to cover it. So we asked the waitress where the nearest ATM was. She said it was out, to the left, up half a block, and on the left side. But when we went out to find it – in the middle of heavy snow – we couldn’t.

We walked for four long Moscow blocks, asking everyone we came across on the street if they knew where the ATM was, but either they didn’t want to talk to strangers or they didn’t know. Finally, relieved, we walked up to a policeman, who responded:

“Fuck you, I don’t use those cards.”

We finally managed to find an ATM, and were seriously expecting that our colleague would be in the kitchen washing dishes, but all ended well, so we went on. In my own Moscow accent, I asked, “Oh, shouw me ze vej to ze next visky bar,” but we couldn’t see much in the snow. So we ended up in a Turkish bar, complete with a large rump roast of a guy sitting and grunting out orders, sucking on a hookah and surrounded with babes. He looked like Jabba the Hutt. But they served Czech beer, Bednářský trunk
, so we stayed. When the belly dancer came and left quickly, we knew it was time to head out.

We then tried to navigate back to the hotel (same one as before, unfortunately, but much less grim this time around), but managed to get thoroughly lost in the Moscow metro. We finally walked up to a man in the glass box at the bottom of the escalators, who had a pie-eyed look on his face. After trying to explain our situation three times, he finally pointed to a sticker on his glass box that said something like, “don’t talk to the drunk guy in the glass box.”

Back at the hotel, though, I did get The Call. The call from the hotel prostitute. But it startled me so much I answered in Czech. “Prosííím,” I said, half-asleep. The voice on the other end mumbled something, then hung up. I went back to sleep. The next morning I found out that in Russian, prosím means something like, all right.

Anyway, glad to be back in Kafkaville. Kde domov můj, indeed.