Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Pox FREE! and Some Russian Fast Food

Today was Sophia’s first official day “Chicken Pox Free!”  
What I mean by that is  - this is the day the doctor told us she wouldn’t be contagious anymore.  
When I told Sophia that this morning, she stretched her arms up as far as they would go, fists clinched in victory and yelled, “YEA!!!!  I DID IT!”  
Then, she asked me, “Does that mean I can be around people again?”
Poor thing . . . she is just like me in this . . . we start to wilt without the water of our friends.
God gave us a beautiful sunny day today.  So, in celebration of “The End of Chicken Pox” and, as Sophi added, “The End of Winter,”  we decided to make a trip to the city center and eat in a cafe!  
I took lots of pics  . . . so, you could join us!

First stop, the tram stop!  And, oh that Russian MUD!  It is everywhere, in everything.  I can only imagine what it must have been like before paved roads.  They say that some places were impassable in Spring and Fall because of the mud . . . I believe it!

Sophi waiting for the tram. 

This water and mud for her spelled
                 F U N!

Riding on the tram with just a hint of blue dots left . . . 

At one point in our day, we were crossing a busy main street.  
Sitting at the pedestrian walkway, there was a man without legs, in a wheel chair, begging for money.  He looked up at Sophia, gave her a gentle toothless grin, and said in a quiet voice, “You’ve had chicken pox, haven’t you?”  
He felt her pain.

Our tram journey ended at the main square in Smolensk.  It used to be called “Smirnov Square,” after a famous Revolutionary, but was recently re-named, “Victory Square,” in honor of the Russian victory against the Germans in WWII.  
This guy and I are listening to the relaxing music playing on the Square.   It’s coming from speakers on the top of these poles.
Smirnov, I mean Victory, Square (that happens ALL the time, now) is a major transportation cross-roads.  Trams, buses, and “marshrutkas” (vans) all have stops here.  Marshrutkas are the fastest way to get around- but the drivers are wild!  and sometimes you have to sit backwards and they are almost always crowded.  I never ride with Sophia on one and try to avoid them, if I can, for myself.  I much prefer the slow but steady tram!  

I asked Sophia which cafe she would like to try today and she chose Domino. 

Domino was the first pizza place in Smolensk.  It’s first location was in a park near the Central Park.  I remember going there and waiting in long lines for cardboard-like crust, a little bit of something red (sauce?), some sauage and a little cheese.  Nothing like any pizza I had ever had . . . but it was so good to be eating something called pizza!  

Now, Domino has 4 locations in Smolensk and a much wider selection of Russian fast food.  
But, the pizza is still terrible . .

I love how they decorated in the resturant in Russian village style.  
Sophi is always amazed at the tree inside!

I took lots of pics  . . . 

  would like to use some of these ideas in our new house . . . 

Love the colors!
Sophi, of course, was more interested in the food.

Here it is, real Russian fast food.

You probably recognize the country-style potatoes (that come with a horseradish sauce that will knock your socks off!) and the ice-cream sundae.  

Here are a couple of items you may not know:

Blini, Russian crepes, filled with a cheese and garlic mixture.  Sophi’s favorite!
We get a side of sour cream for dipping! 
Oliviye Salad - with pickles, eggs, potatoes, green peas, carrots, ham, and mayo.  I usually love this salad . . . but this one had just too much mayo.
Sophi wanted to sit in the window so we could watch the people walking by.
After lunch, we decided to go for a little walk  . . . 

over rivers . . . 
thru lakes . . . 
it was a treacherous journey . . . 
but we finally made it to the fabric store! 
Sophi was a little shaken!
Although, by the time we reached the cross-stitch store, she was looking more herself.
We hopped back on the tram and headed home.  
Sophi got lots of calls on her orange sippy cup-top cell phone.  I think every friend she has and all her grandparents called to see what she had been doing that day.

I, on the other hand, was busy wondering if the emergency door opener would really work on this old tram . . . you know, in case one of those crazy marshrutkas rammed into us . . . 

We’re the last tram stop on this line.
Crossed one more lake.  
Sophi said,  “Look Mom!  It’s the Baltic Sea!”
And, made it HOME!

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