Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Trip to the Mega Market

On Sunday, my roommate and I decided to avoid the heat by taking a trip to Globus, the megamarket a bus ride away from our apartment.* In the past few years Russians have embraced the concept of the mega market & mega mall with a zeal formerly only reserved for vodka consumption and creating monuments to Pushkin.

They are hugely popular here and also just plain huge. Look at that thing. It looks like an IKEA ate a Costco. As Vladimir pointed out (yes, Vladimir of Vladimir and Vladimir from Vladimir fame), it's not just for shopping. He said that when he has some spare cash, he'll take the family there to just wandering around for a bit & to have dinner at the attached restaurant. He said that they showed the World Cup there, and it became a popular place to relax and watch it.

The store was just as awesome as I hoped it would be. I’ll start with the food because that’s really all I ever think about anyway. There was a small stand set up outside where you could order freshly made shashlik (shish kebobs), but the inside restaurant was a marvel. A huge buffet of not only various Russian food, but popular items from around the world as well. I saw hamburgers, pizza, caprese salad and even a sushi bar. There was even an entire area of desserts including milkshakes.

The sitting area was super modern-blonde wood tables and white chairs with a staff that constantly cleaned the tables and took away the trash. Before we shopped we each purchased a juice (Cherry and Peach) and cooled off at a table.

The shopping. Oh man, the shopping. There was an entire row of independent stores that lined the inside front of the store. These ranged from an Adidas store to a pet store that sold bunnies. The rest of the building was one giant store that sold everything from clothes, to DVDs to fresh fish. Megamarket indeed. Not only is the store huge, but the prices are really reasonable too. I bought a kilogram of carrots for my host mom for 32 rubles-or just over a U.S. dollar.

I wish I had more pictures of the store, but there was a sign on the front of the door that said no pictures, and I didn’t want to get yelled at on my very first trip there. I did manage to be super stealthy on our way out and snap one picture with my iphone by pretending to talk on it. I doubt I fooled anyone. Even though I managed to capture mostly the floor and innocent bystanders with my stellar photography skills, can you see the sign that says 66? They have 66 checkout lines. That’s how monstrous the store is.

So now on to my purchases. I probably could have set them up to look nice, but I was still feeling a little like I wanted to yak from the bus ride so you get magical floating purchases & my hand instead.

First-a mug! It’s supposed to look like postcards & mail going to someone named Oleg. I don’t know who Oleg is, but since there’s no chance of me finding a Jill mug here, just call me Oleg.

Second-a book! I wouldn’t be me without purchasing a book. This is a book by Boris Akunin, a popular contemporary writer. It looks good and was $3 so I bought it.

Third-movies! * They were also like $3-4 bucks. I didn’t really understand the movie price system. These were both really inexpensive as were some just released movies like Up in the Air, and then others that were older and not very good were like $25. Avatar was $6 and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 was $19. I'm going to conclude from this that Russians love a good sequel about pants that suffer from wanderlust more than the love people in blue body paint.

Fourth-cookies! I don’t think I ever have to justify purchasing cookies, do I?

Fifth-a banana! I must have had heat exhaustion because I was inexplicably excited to see bananas in the store. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a picture of a floating banana?

I also purchased shampoo and a big bag of coffee bean for my host mom since she loves good coffee but often doesn’t have extra money to buy it for herself. I feel that everyone needs to give into their indulgences every once in a while, so I bought her a bag of coffee since she’s taking such good care of me this past week. I would have taken pictures of those purchases but at this point I definitely felt like I was going to yak so I decided to quit while I was ahead and take a nap with the cat instead.

* We actually failed miserably at avoiding the heat because the buses here have no AC, and on the way back from Globus we got stuck in a bit of traffic in direct sunlight. Both of us were a little green when we finally got off the bus.
** I’m well aware that I’m overusing exclamation points, but I’m really excited by my purchases!!!!!!

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