but see, here's the weird thing, what i really wanted to post about: here i am in stupid little skiing town in austria, full of tourists of all stripes, and i'm walking around asking myself, "where are my people?" (i.e. those self-same russians). is this freedom or alienation? i'm not sure.
even stranger: last night i go into an italian restaurant here. (a "real" one, i think, i.e. most of the waiters really seemed to be italian.) the menu is in italian and german - no problem since everybody knows the names of italian food and my restaurant german is adequate. when the waiter brings my food, he asks, "Хлеб?" I just kind of stare at him. "What?" I say. "Khleb?" he asks again, making some kind of bread-like gesture. "No." I say, and he's clearly proud that he's figured out where I'm from. He even brings me another menu - in Italian and Russian - for dessert. I try and think what "stereotypical" signal I could be giving off that leads him to think I am a Russian tourist, e.g. displaying roll of hundred-dollar bills? no. expensive but tastelessly dressed bottle blonde on my arm? no. furry hat? vodka shots? no and no. (and basically the only words I've said are "torteillini bolognese" and "valpolicella".)