A Night Out in Perm
After 2 intense 7 hour days of rehearsal, we all felt a need to unwind. The tech issues kept popping up, and there had been many emotional moments as we worked through the arrangements and the "building" of the show. There had also been some tension regarding changes to the original business agreements as well as the "mandatory dining" schedule. So it was time for the Americans to blow off some steam. After our dinner of various potato/meat and mayonnaise variations (yuck), Vladimir and our translator Tanya took us out to a local restaurant with a nice outdoor patio built in what was once the courtyard of a wealthy person's home. We bought a bottle of what is considered the best vodka in the region - Beluga, and had a toast. Vladimir showed us the proper way to drink Vodka - hold a piece of bread to your nose, drink the vodka in one shot, and then eat the bread. The bread keeps the fumes from going up your nose when you drink the shot. We all practiced several times until the bottle was gone.
Celeste, Carmen,Vladimir,Joe, Chad, Loren & Tanya at the open air restaurant
Beluga Vodka - if you can find this in the US, buy it -it's incredible
Vladimir teaches us the Russian way of toasting
The original plan was to hit a nightclub afterwards, but the cover charge coupled with the lack of per diem money (one of the changes in the agreement - the forced meals were a substitute for the per diem) presented an obstacle. Vlad went back to the hotel and the rest of us wandered down the hill to a Japanese restaurant Loren and I had discovered the night before. For some inexplicable reason, it featured hookahs with flavored tobacco to go with your sushi. I treated the group to some sushi and another round of vodka shots, and the smokers in the group enjoyed the hookahs as we all entertained the often mystified Tanya with stories of the rehearsals and tales of our lives back in the States.
Kimonos, Vodka & Hookahs
All the boys love Tanya
Our group from the POV of our bemused waitress
The wait staff remembered Loren and I from the night before, when we had searched for the word for "apple, and finally got our point across after a long game of charades. Loren had made an even greater impression when he asked where the bathrooms were. The correct word is "Toiylet", but instead he used the word we found in my iphone phrasebook, "unitas". So his question of "where can I find a toilet" was the sort of thing one would ask at Home Depot, not at a sushi bar, and left the waitress speechless. It was a short stumble back to the hotel, and we were now all ready for a good crash before returning to rehearsals the next day at (thankfully) noon.