Husband and I had our first night out without the children since we arrived in Moscow on Saturday. We went to a restaurant in the middle of town where I made a number of interesting discoveries...
a) Borsch is actually quite nice (and a little spicier than I anticipated). I know, with my long history of association with Russia, you would have thought I would have got round to trying it sooner, but for some reason the thought of beetroot soup never appealed... However, to celebrate our Moscow adventure I thought I should probably kick off the meal with something locally relevant. Well, it was that or a shot of vodka, and I thought I should save that for a time when there wasn't going to be a walk to the metro along icy streets afterwards.
b) Following 6 weeks of a total lack of gym attendance, it seems my body is a fickle thing and a dress that had fit perfectly pre-Christmas now... does not. Dammit.
c) Superstition assumes a whole other level here. Shortly after we arrived in Moscow a friend told me not to leave my handbag on the floor as the Russians think it bad luck. This may have something to do with the fact that very often the ground (when you're outside or in a public area, at least), actually is quite mucky. Inside people's homes, however, shoes are always - but ALWAYS - left at the front door, and floors are usually mopped every day to collect the dust that seems to get everywhere (that's what you get when there are power stations actually inside the city, I suppose), so it's rarely a problem. However, in the spick and span swanky restaurant last night, the floor seemed faultless, so I put my handbag next to my feet under the table. The result? Within two minutes our waitress sashayed up the to table with a look that clearly said 'You poor deluded ignorant foreigner' and, I'm not joking here, brought up a special doll-sized miniature chair, which she placed on the floor next to my seat. For my handbag.