Thursday, September 27, 2012

Living next to the Russian Embassy

My apartment complex is adjacent to the Russian Embassy. It's a giant, barbwire-encircled compound and I can see an Orthodox steeple peeking above the fence directly across from my building. 


My street is extremely, blissfully quiet at night and is always guarded by at least half a dozen boyish-looking PLA troops.

The PLA troops live across from the embassy. I can see where they hang their laundry and some mornings I can hear them shouting in formation. It's not loud or often enough to be annoying and it's kind of a fun reminder that I'm in the capital.

Plenty of opportunity to gawk at Russian diplomats. Some of them like motorcycles and have skinny, beautiful blonde wives who look like models. Maybe because they are models. Or maybe because the Russian look is really popular right now and a lot of models look like Russians. That's one of those chicken or the egg things. 

There are enough Russians living near here to warrant not one but two small Russian groceries on the street. I never thought it was possible to live this close to a steady supply of sliced bread and salami and still be in China.


My local grocery lady is always telling me the price in Russian and then looking at me like I'm completely stupid when I'm all "什么?" I want to say "hey, not 100% of the white folks on this street is from up north." But cab drivers are always mistaking me for Russian too, so I don't say anything. 

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