Monday, June 27, 2011

The Time I Accidentally Went to a Russian Adult Video Store

This trip has been a comedy of errors, but without the laughter and about 75% more hassle & aggravation. My goal for this trip was to be adult-like and fairly responsible, and to not do things like accidentally recording a voice over for the militia, but that plan seems to have gone down in flames.

I was sitting in my hotel room on Saturday after our disastrous tour of Catherine’s Palace getting ready to send an email to my mom, when I hear a loud “CRACK” next to my left ear & all of the sudden my room goes dark. All of the electricity in my room was out.

I run out to the lobby (our hotel is one floor & only has 10 rooms so it’s not a far run), and all of the power is out there as well. Since I can smell burning plastic coming from my room—more specifically my adapter/converter-thingy, I was 99% sure that I cause the power outage so rather than have to admit that, I snuck back into my room and hid.

The power came back on about 30 minutes later, and I went to plug my adapter/converter thingy back in & nothing happens. All I can think is “Oh shit, this sucks.” It sucks for two reasons specifically:

1. Not having an adapter/converter thingy means that I cannot charge any of my electronics for the rest of the trip—no computer, phone, camera, etc., and I still have 11 days to go.

2. I just bought this new adapter/converter thingy from Macys the day before I left for Russia for an astounding $35 which just pisses me off.

This is the $35 "high-tech" adapter/converter thingy that exploded & took out the power for the entire hotel.

So I decide I’m going to go buy another adapter/converter thingy because I know I can buy these little ghetto ones because I bought one in the airport this trip when my luggage with my brand new adapter/converter thingy was stolen by hobgoblins at the Paris airport. Only this being Russia, this meant that the one that the person at the airport sold me didn’t work because that is just the shit that happens here.

So I walk myself over to Sennya Ploshad/Haymarket Square, and start accosting the cellphone store guys because that is the store I bought it at in the airport. The first store doesn’t have it, neither does the second or the third. Guy at cell phone store number 4 directs me to the mall where there is an electronics store.

So I go to the electronics store, and of course they do not have the ghetto adapter/converter thingy. They do, however, have a Mac power cord with the European connection, but it’s nearly $160 and I wasn’t willing to not eat for a week to justify purchasing that just yet. He assures me that the randomly named store “El Dorado” will probably have one. So I hike over to the other mall to visit “El Dorado” but of course they do not have one.

The sales guy at El Dorado suggests I go to the electronics store across the street, so I drag myself over there, but of course they too do not it. “Try three stores down, there’s a computer store.”

So I go three stores down, and what do I see? An Adult Video Store/Computer Store. Of course, why wouldn’t you combine those things. And oh, what’s that? Why, yes, it’s a man coming out of the store with a stack of adult videos*. Lovely.

After a lot of contemplating (and looking around to make sure the students didn’t see me wandering into an Adult Video store), I made my run inside. Yep, it was an adult video store. The sign was not lying. Luckily it was also a computer store so I made a beeline for that counter & ignored the trio of older men that seemed like they couldn’t decide if having me there was a good thing or a bad thing.

As if being rewarded for my bravery/foolishness for going in the store, they in fact did have my ghetto adapter/converter thingy for the cool price of 25 rubles (about $1.80) which means I was totally screwed over by the airport person who sold me the broken one for 200 rubles. I tried to buy 2 ghetto adapter/converter thingys just in case my new one didn’t work, but the guy wouldn’t sell me two. I think he just wanted me out of the store.

So I made my way back to the hotel, plugged my computer in the ghetto adapter/converter thing, plugged the whole shebang into the wall-----and nothing happened. Not a damn thing. I’m about to throw a hissy fit when I realize that although my overhead light is working I don’t hear my mini fridge going. I then decided to try to turn on the television, and no luck there either.

Turns out the fuse for my room was still out, and once that was replaced everything worked just fine including the original $35 adapter/converter thingy, which means that my entire 2 hours of running around trying to get a new one & being forced to go to the Russian porn/computer store was all for naught.


*I should explain that you have to pay for plastic bags here at stores. They cost a ruble. So this guy apparently would rather not spend 3 cents on a plastic bag & just carry his porn with him down the street.

PS. I really couldn't see how the two concepts were connected until I went back to the store today to take photos for the blog, and then I understood the logic. People watch porn online. When your computer breaks & is in the shop for a few days, you need another way to get your kicks. So really it's just one stop shopping.

PPS. Also, I came up with a slogan for the store: "Adult Video Store/Computer Repairs: For when your computer won't turn on, but you still want to get off."

PPPS. I might offer them that slogan for a small fee, but I don't know Russian slang that well since "getting off" isn't a phrase you come across in Tolstoy or Dostoevsky & asking a Russian how to say that will surely only lead to trouble.

PPPS. Also, I tried to take a picture of myself in front of the sign & the guy came out and yelled at me. Sad times.


  1. I just discovered your blog and you are hilarious!! The Russian porn/computer store story is a classic!

  2. Thank you so much, esiders! I'm glad you found me.