Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brighton Beach

We met up with Alex’s parents’ friends back in Brighton Beach around 5ish. Vitaly and Alla were an older couple in their 70s. She spoke English, he didn’t. Alex spoke to them in Russian, and translated for us. It was fascinating watching him switch back and forth from English to Russian. I asked them if Alex spoke Russian with an American accent. They said no, he speaks like a 20 year old. I decided that must mean he tells a lot of inappropriate dick jokes.

We sat down for a meal at Tatiana’s, an outdoor restaurant on the Boardwalk. Our large, shave-headed waiter Sasha wore knockoff Carrera sunglasses, only spoke in Russian, and obviously broke people’s kneecaps as a side gig. It was all very exciting.

Vitaly snapped his fingers a few times, and people started bringing things to our table. The first thing they brought was a chilled liter of vodka on ice, which Sasha began pouring into small, shot sized glasses to the right of everyone’s plate. Vitaly and Alla held up their glasses. Nazdaróvye! To your health! Nothing healthy followed.

The food came in mountains. Piles of pickled items- pickled tomatoes, pickled beets, pickled pickles. Wagonfuls of lamb, chicken, cured meats, cow’s tongue, yes cow’s tongue, breads, sauces, potatoes…

And vodka. So much vodka.

Every 10 minutes, we toasted. Can you believe what a gorgeous day it is? Nazdaróvye! This lamb is incredible. Nazdaróvye! Does anyone want any more sauce? Nazdaróvye! I have to go to the bathroom. Nazdaróvye!

The weird thing is, when you stuff that much food into your face, the vodka doesn’t crush you like you think it’s going to. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we were hammered. But nobody was taking pictures with lamps yet. So we ordered more vodka.

After two more half-size bottles, we decided to call a van to take us back to Manhattan. The mountains of food and presence of elders had kept our drunkenness pretty much in check until that point. But as soon as they put us in that van and sent us on our way, things got ugly.

The first thing we needed, obviously, was more vodka. You know, for the ride. The next thing we needed, were Russian ice cream cones. I don’t remember what they’re called, but god damn it they were good. The Russian driver drove us safely back to our apartment, talking Alex’s ear off in Russian about his kids.

What followed in our apartment was such an embarrassing display of sloppy idiocy that nobody should have to re-experience it, even in blog form. Suffice it to say there was a lot of bad dancing, loud singing, fighting over what song should be played next, and high decibel, low IQ conversations. Alex rode a bike through our apartment wearing a helmet. Christine’s brother Don drunk texted a girl he wanted to ask out. We all weighed in on what it should say.

Somewhere, videos of this liver-aching nightmare exist. The world would be a smarter, happier place if they un-existed.

We miss you already guys. Come back soon.

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