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How to Spot a Russian...

tourists

Over the weekend, I was sitting at my apartment pool, relaxing in the hot sun when I was disturbed by very loud voices. Immediately I could tell that it was some of the Russian residents living in my building. For me, it's easy to spot Russians in the crowd, perhaps because I spend so much time communicating with them in my personal life and in this blog. They most often talk in a very loud tone, which sounds aggressive to my English trained ears. Why is this? This is not only at my apartment, but also a perception based on numerous personal encounters with Russians in the USA, on airplanes and throughout Russia. It's not an insult, just an observation. :) The topic of the conversation can be extremely friendly, with a loved one or friend, yet still sound like an argument to me because I barely understand any Russian words when they are spoken by natives.

Other signs that the person at my pool is Russian - older women almost always wear bikinis, despite their physical shape or appearance. Very old, overweight females stuff themselves into these types of bathing suits, and it's fine. About someone else's appearance, I have no opinion or say, and if they're comfortable in this type of clothing, more power to these ladies! :) However, it's not so common for old women in the States to wear bikinis, I very rarely see it. Similarly, Russian and European men at my pool almost always wear Speedos, or tightly constricted swimming trunks. It doesn't matter that they have huge bellies, I suppose it's just a cultural difference in swimwear attire. Something like this...

beach2

Photo credit nemihail.

What do I think about this type of swimwear? Horror! :)) I strongly dislike Speedos, even on extremely attractive guys. I guess I prefer modesty, and leaving some things to the imagination. It's for this same reason that I have never worn a bikini, even when I was younger and in much better shape. These are the two simplest ways for me to spot Russians at my pool, and there are a lot of them living in my new apartment complex! Of course, there are certain Slavic facial features in both men and women that also make the determination easy. How about you? Is it easy for you to spot your fellow compatriots when you're in a foreign country? Can you easily spot Americans in Russia? I can almost never pick out fellow Americans in a big crowd overseas!


Comments

rsr_raz_dva_tri
Jul. 23rd, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
I am actually very envious of this uninhibitedness about Russians regarding their bodies at a beach or a pool, or a banya. I remember having had a couple of opportunities on previous trips to go to a Russian banya, but I never felt at ease because I didn't want to undress in front of anyone. We were all women, of various ages, and in the first occasion, the group I was with were people I had become friends with.

The second time, I hadn't gotten to know my fellow banya-users very well. I just don't like to disrobe in front of most people. Not even a doctor. It's a shame, because I always hear how relaxing and rejuvenating banyas are supposed to be.

On the current trip I am taking in Russia (which is almost over), I have not gone to any banyas nor do I plan on it. But someday, maybe I'll try it again. Maybe I just need a birch tree branch to smack the inhibitions out of me...
peacetraveler22
Jul. 23rd, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
Banya is so awesome! :)) Esp. if you can go to a real banya, in the village. I did during my last journey, and it was an amazing experience. It was the only way to bathe. But I sat there naked, by myself. :)) How is the trip going? Did you take the long train ride yet?
rsr_raz_dva_tri
Jul. 23rd, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC)
The banya really makes sense as the best way to bathe because I imagine it is just very complete, as it opens up skin pores, and just helps people slow down and relax. Your experience must have been all the better as it was during winter (Russian winter!), so it must be such a relief to enter the sauna after being in the cold - also being able to relax in it alone. I'm pretty sure it is one of the greatest inventions ever!!

Yes, I did live through the 41 hour train ride to Chelyabinsk, and wow! - I felt pretty silly for worrying, because your readers were right! It was quite clean - not a single roach or other insect (except the occasional fly) in sight -- considering how much these trains are used, and the conductor for our train car was not only attentive to keeping the place clean, but she was super-friendly to me as well.

My fellow train riders were also kind, and as tough as the beds can be for such a long ride, it was pretty smooth ride. I'm thinking of some reflections to post about the train ride, and the city, Chelyabinsk, as well, on the thread on which you shared my question to your readers.

peacetraveler22
Jul. 23rd, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
Cool! I'm glad the train journey went well. :) I've never been to Chelyabinsk, but when I was at the Sochi Olympics, I met some residents from there. They were so curious and interested about an American, and they took a photo of me with this flag. :))

 photo 10007032_408750625928125_2080666741_n_zpsyw03irly.jpg

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