Free Jive dance classes in Moscow!

jive-danceJive dancing is great fun, keeps you fit and
 is a good social skill to have.

Free beginners classes take place on Saturdays in Moscow.

Not essential to come with a partner.

For more info contact Richard at richardhume.hume@gmail.com or phone +7 903 558 7135

Jewish? In Moscow?

Would you like to observe or be part of Jewish life in the capital of Russia?


Warm, inviting atmosphere.

Shabbat meals, holiday celebrations and special programs for children and families.

Join us by visiting www.jewishmoscow.com or calling:+74957687392

Have You Noticed?

Have you noticed that the number of annoying Migalki (flashing blue lights) seem to have reduced. When was the last time you got forced to swerve out of the way by a bully on wheels on Moscow’s roads?

Have you noticed that Moscow’s roads have been invaded by an army of cameras? Probably not, because very few have warning signs. Be this as it may, Moscow drivers have become noticeably more courteous over the past few months, except when it comes to parking which is still very cavalier.

That there are hundreds of new expats here? Most of them are younger than their predecessors (thank goodness) and don’t necessarily frequent the same sort of bars/hang outs that their older peers have helped establish. The anglophone community has never been the only community of foreigners here; now there seem to be more and more central and northern Europeans.

Bus lanes! Are they real? Are they working? So many roads were resurfaced this summer. The bus lanes were repainted on most of them but most of the signs remain covered up. As a result, drivers do not know if it is OK to drive down them or not. Most are prepared to take the risk and do.

If you have noticed anything interesting about living in Moscow, please send a short text to: editor@moscowexpatlife.ru

Jay Close The Cheese Man

Max Ernst

Russia doesn’t seem like the kind of place where people voluntarily trade in a comfortable urban life for a hard life in the countryside. But, surprising as it may seem, there are some such people, and American Jay Close is one of them. He spent 17 years working in the restaurant and club business in downtown Moscow before packing up his rucksack, putting on his Texas boots and heading up north firstly to a small village called Mashnitsa, 55 kilometres north of Moscow. He recently teamed up with a group of English farmers in a large farm 100 km north of MKAD on Gorkovskoe Shosse. MeL went to visit him.

Why did you leave the city?
I had been living in Moscow and renting apartments for 17 or 18 years. I was kind of exhausted by city life; by the pollution and the aggressive drivers and traffic jams. I came up with the idea of building a place in the countryside and growing my own vegetables. I met my wife when I was looking for logs to build a cabin. My wife and her friends helped me build a place, and we started out with just a small ‘budka,’ which is just a little shack while we built the house. Then we built a barn for the animals, because my wife wanted a cow, and we wanted kids, and we still do, but we wanted to feed them the best we possibly could. We eventually gota bull to impregnate the cow, and that one went, and we got another and another, then we started collecting sheep and goats. Then we had 7 cows and 2 bulls. When cows give birth they automatically start giving milk, so with 30 litres a day you start to think about what you can do with all this milk, especially if you haven’t got kids yet. In the new farm, we have 1500 milking cows alone, this is a huge operation. I have a separate glass-fronted cheese making plant, so people can see how the cheese is made.

So you got into organic cheese making almost by accident?
I had no idea what I was heading into, apart from getting out of the city. When I got to Masnitsa village, I started cultivating a garden to grow my own vegetables. When I lived in California and Australia, I was always keen on gardening. I like the Russian idea of growing everything in the summer and then conserving it for use in the winter. All the babushkas do that, but in Europe and America nobody really does that anymore; you just go to the store and buy what you want. You get a lot out of this if you do it yourself and you can control the whole process. It’s like if you’re a chef, you can make the food as you want to eat it, if you go into somebody’s restaurant that’s not the way it is. You’re used to having your salads with extra cheese or tomatoes, well that’s the way we do it in the country, we do it like it’s for ourselves.

What do you mean by organic cheese?
We don’t give the cows any non-organic food stuffs to eat; we give them grains and whey. From 10 litres of milk, we get 1 kilogramme of cheese. But what you’re getting in the supermarket is 6 litres of milk in every kilogramme plus additives and preservatives to make it look more like cheese, so it doesn’t have that rich creamy taste that natural cheese has. Our cheese you can keep up to two years if it’s covered with wax or latex.

Who in Moscow buys this stuff?
Bankers, wall-street guys, vodka dealers, my neighbours; one is an engineer, the other is a glazier. A lot of housewives, all sorts of people buy cheese. I’ve got clients who own restaurants or are accountants. The Russian mainstream market is kind of hard to break into, you have to have the right kind of connections, I don’t have them, but now I have teamed up with a larger farming business, the sky’s the limit. There are only one or two organic health food shops in the whole of Moscow, in a city of 13 million people, why is this?

In the time that me and you have lived here, Moscow has changed. The changes are colossal. Some of the changes are good, some bad. Before, for example, the pensioners could live on their pensions, now they have to grow their own potatoes just to survive. They can’t afford medicines.

Cheeses made by Jay:

Cheese
1. Fenugreek (Walnut Flavored)
2. Mixed Mustardseed
3. Italian Garden (Sundried Tomatos,
Paprika, Onion, Garlic, Basil, Thyme and Pepper)
4. Celery (Leaves)
5. Ginger, Paprika, Onion, Garlic, Horseradish
6. Asparagus
7. Cayenne Pepper (Hot & Spicy)
8. Mixed Peppercorns (Black, Grey, Green, Red, Pink)
9. Basil
10. Cumin or Caraway Seeds
11. Stinging Nettle (крапива)
12. Indian Garden (Parsley, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Curry)
13. Garden Herbs (Chives, Celery, Parsley, Onion, Garlic)
14. Feta (also available from Goats Milk)
15. Ricotta (Plain or Choice of Flavor)
16. Edam
17. Gouda
18. Cajun
19. Cottage Cheese

Dairy
1. Yogurt
2. Sour Cream
3. Milk (Fresh or Pasteurized)

Call Jay for details: +7 916 112 4361

Taganka Children’s Fund

Helping children in need for as long as it takes…

Tatiana Troitskaya

Founded by a local community back in 1991 when Russia was facing the severest financial crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Taganka children’s fund (TCF) is a grassroots charity which supports and speaks outfor Moscow’s vulnerable children and young people. Helping over 700 families with special needs (including single-parent families, large families in need, families with disabled children and parents), TCF is now providing a range of high-quality services to them to bring in a lasting positive change to their lives.

Tucked away in the cosy narrow streets of one of the oldest districts of Moscow, the charity believes in one simple idea behind its work: there is no better place for a child than a family. That’s why TCF focuses on an all-round support for families in need, be it material or psychological, educational or rehabilitation.

A professional team of 20 people is united by a desire to help children and families in need and provide warm and caring advice to everyone who calls for help. Supported by a network of enthusiastic volunteers and loyal friends and donors, TCF continues its work in Moscow to help those who might not be the most visible part of the population of one of the most expensive cities in the world. But these people are still there and still need help in order to integrate into the society and to become its active and valuable members.

If you would like to know more about TCF’s works, volunteer or make a donation, please get in touch with Tatiana Troitskaya, TCF’s chairwoman, at the details provided below:

Address: building 2, 10, Bolshoy
Rogozhsky pereulok, 109147, Moscow
Tel/fax: +7 (495) 911-74-49
E-mail: tcf@akado.ru
Web: www.charity-tcf.ru

 

De Tulpen

MeL wanted to find out more about non-English speaking women’s groups, and the first organisation to meet was the Dutch Women’s Association, now called De Tulpen (The Tulips). We met Mariette Stijnen in the de Nachtwacht cafe at Patriashy Prudi. On the wall is a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.

How did you come to be working with De Tulpen?

“I came here in January with my children to join my husband who was already here. I have been an expat for 12 years. When I arrived, somebody asked me: ‘will you be joining De Tulpen?’ I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I found out what the Tulips are all about and went to one of their coffee mornings here. I met several Dutch ladies and I thought the group was nice, but it was only coffee mornings they did, and I thought that was a bit boring. Then the lady who was organising the group announced she was leaving, and the group started looking for another organiser. By that time I already had some friends in Moscow, and they said that this is maybe something that would suit you. I thought that maybe I might be able to spice things up a bit.”

What sort of things are you doing now with De Tulpen?

“We started organising a whole variety of different events, and not just during the day for people who don’t work. Our membership has grown from 42 to 65 members now. We are linked with the Dutch Club, but basically we do our own thing”

“The Main goal of the Tulips is to provide a social platform for the Dutch speaking ladies in Moscow, do things of interest together and have fun! When you are abroad, one’s own culture becomes so much more important. Things like mussle-eating, for example, which is very popular back home at this time of the year. More people have started to come; we just had a meeting when 18 women came, and some of them work. A lot of Flemish people asked if they can join us, which is nice. Some Russian ladies who are married to Dutch speakers also join us now. Next month we are going to have an Arts meeting, as some women are making jewellery, also a walk around Serebryany Bor because one of the members lives there. Members themselves are suggesting ideas, so every month we have something different coming up.”

“A lot of Dutch people live out near the schools, in Rosinka for example. Meeting up there is not always the best idea because people who live in other parts of Moscow can’t get there very easily. But I live in downtown Moscow, and I have created my own network here, and I find this very useful. Now when we organise something for De Tulpen, it is usually held in the city.”

What is the most difficult thing for people just arriving from The Netherlands?

“There are problems with finding education for children, but there is a Dutch school which operates on an after-school basis, offering classes in Dutch at ISM and AAS. The Dutch school has now I think 56 children, and it is growing.They follow an official programme approved by the Dutch government and have a minimum amount of contact hours, so sometimes the children attend classes on Saturdays as well.”

How do you advertise?

“We do have links on the embassy site, on the Dutch Club. So if any new arrivals want to find out about us, they can. If anybody wants to connect with us, please find us on the DutchCub web site and write to me. If people want to go and visit museums, they can do that one their own. But if they want to speak their mother tongue with other people here in Moscow, then here we are.”

http://www.nlclubmoskou.nl

Pelmenya on Ulitsa Krasina

Peter Hainsworth

Over the past few decades the central part of Moscow has changed so much that it is hard to imagine what parts of it looked like even a few years ago. Be that as it may, old timers like yours truly sometimes experience momentary flashbacks, (without taking anything) in the few parts of the city where the buildings haven’t been replaced. There was a Pivnaya there, that car salesroom used to be a publishing house, that bank was a laundrette, and so on. Very occasionally one comes across shops and eateries which still bear the same name or at least still sell the same sort of thing. These Holes in the Wall (not ATM machines) remind one of a previous era.

One such place is the Pelmennaya at number 9 Ulitsa Krasina, between Tishinskaya Ploschad and Sadovaya Kudrinskaya. This is a small establishment, which has an almost parallel world look about it. Moscow just doesn’t have this kind of place any more, does it? Gone are the rubbish and cigarette ends on the floor, and drunks no longer start off the day in the right way with their morning vodkas here. But ‘Pelemennaya’ as it is simply called; (all such establishments had the same name), hasn’t changed its pelmenni business at all. You can buy the same food and drink here as you could twenty years ago. OK, it now has bannyatype wooden panels on the wall, to ‘give it a more modern’ look, as owner Antionina Rubakova calls it. And the clients have changed. Now there are as many smartly dressed chaps from Ducat III which is just round the corner as poor pensioners and unemployed, although they are there as well. It is no longer a working-class strong hold, it is Working-Class Plus, the plus being retro. All are treated in the same nonchalant way by Sergei who manages the establishment,who has seen all sorts over the past twenty years. Things may come, like regimes and all that, but this place, which used to be Pelmennaya in Soviet times, is a Pelmennaya now and probably will be a Pelmennaya forever. Long Live Pelmenni!

100 roubles buys you 200 g of the mushy things, and you have a choice of ten different sauces from mayonnaise to vinegar. I usually buy a stomach pummelling double portion of pelmenni with Smetana. Vodka is served in good old cut glass glasses in 50g doses. There is a soup of the day and of course ‘kompot,’ hot chocolate, tea with half an inch of sugar in it. Business lunch costs 180 roubles, but I splash out and stuff myself somewhat indecently with a lunch for all of 250 roubles. The place is open from 10:00am-17:00pm, so it is not on the -pre or -after club network.

Address: 9 Ulitsa Krasina.

Enjoy!

Istanbul

Kim Waddoup

As the days get shorter in Moscow and the temperatures drop, a change in one’s surroundings for few days can help to keep seeing the positive side of life. Where better to take a short break than Istanbul, where there is always something new to discover and the weather is more hospitable with temperatures between 13-18C.

Three-hour direct flights with Turkish Airlines from Vnukova are comfortable, with a choice of three departures per day. There are a vast number of packaged tours available, but we chose to have a custom designed package from one of Turkey’s leading boutique travel companies that allow you to state your preferred requirements and receive a detailed offer.

Visas, if required, are a simple formality of buying a visa sticker as you arrive. Istanbul’s Ataturk airport is modern and functions well. Our driver met us at the airport and we were whisked off to the hotel.

For sixteen centuries as the legendary capital of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires, Istanbul has long entranced the civilized world. The only city to span two continents, it physically and metaphorically bridges the cultures and philosophies of Europe and Asia, Occident and Orient. Historically a tolerant melting pot—as the centre of Christendom for over a millennium and Islam’s seat for another 500 years—it remains home to the Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Sephardic Jewish heritage sites, and legacies of numerous ethnic groups. Flanking 30 kilometres of the Bosporus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, it is a linchpin for trade routes in all directions. Though no longer a capital, Istanbul is the cosmopolitan heart of the Turkish Republic, its financial

centre and most populous city. The mushrooming population exceeds thirteen million, crowding cobbled-lane waterfront villages and glass-and-steel corporate districts, spirited premier soccer matches and haute couture boulevards. Byzantium, New Rome, Constantinople, Old Stamboul. Its name has changed, but its glory endures.

There are many ways to explore Istanbul but for ease and comfort we chose a private tour with a private guide. Volkan was the most amazing source of information with incredible indepth historical knowledge and such a love of his home city. His narration and stories brought the history of this city to life with facts and humour.

The ‘must do’ list of sights to see is almost endless but should include: Hagia Sophia the golden-domed Byzantine church that was the centre of the Orthodox Christian world until it became a mosque in 1453 (and then a museum in 1934). Be amazed by its riot of mosaics—masterfully detailed down to the blush in Mary’s cheeks—then walk next door to Topkapi Palace, to see the Ottoman sultans’ treasury. Then maybe on to the pavilions, where the sultans imprisoned various family members in luxurious cells or the famous Harem of the Topkapi Palace where the wives of the sultans lived, a womanly and sensual place.

Don’t miss Matbah, a lavish, garden-style restaurant where the chefs have replicated centuries-old recipes with creamy bitter-almond soup and the honeydew melon stuffed with minced beef, rice, almonds and raisins are sweet and salty without too much heft.

Istanbul’s legendary Spice Bazaar is a must where a hall filled with multi-coloured dunes of saffron, cloves, tea, nuts, dried fruits and lokum (Turkish delight). Sweet scents draw you ever deeper into a maze of alleyways clogged with chattering vendors. Buy a bag of sumac, a sour and locally popular spice, which most stores will vacuum-pack for you. Also recommended is a tour of the Tunel district is also something you must do, to visit the magnificent Pera Palace and the Nu Terrace.

Each of Istanbul’s conquerors left their marks on the city, often right on top of each other! Strolling through the Sultanahmet district, ancient Byzantiumis several meters beneath your feet, right under Roman Constantinople, which is under the Ottoman Empire! Descend into the Basilica Cistern, a vast, column-ribbed subterranean chamber that provided water to the city during the 6th century. Not far from the cistern is the impressive 17th-century mosque of Sultan Ahmed I, with it’s amazing domes and arches, often called the Blue Mosque.

Modern Istanbul also offers all the facilities of a modern city, if you prefer there are mega-stores, extensive shopping malls and a vast array of different shops still offering highly competitive prices. After the sunset call to prayer, Istanbul changes and the evenings and nights offer such a vast choice of bars, restaurants, lounges, cafes and nightclubs.

A traditional Turkish tavern is called a meyhane, and the Kumkapi district features many where locals go to socialize and sip raki. Try to start each day with Turkish coffee and a simit (sesame seed bagel) with cheese, it helps get into the atmosphere of Istanbul and in the evenings explore the nightlife in the alleyways around Taksim with bars and clubs to suit every choice.

Where to stay. For this trip we decided to mix old and new, to sample the history of Istanbul coupled with chic accommodation. Our first hotel was the House Hotel Nisantasi, voted one of the best boutique hotels in Europe by Conde Nast. Located in Istanbul’s most fashionable district, the design is amazing, a concept from one of Turkey’s leading designers. Within walking distance of the Bosphorus, it is bright, cheery and has wonderful service. For the last night we moved to the House Hotel Bosphorus in the Ortakoy area, a historical mansion with magnificent views over the Bay. The deluxe suite here is ingeniously decorated in a modern style that complements the origins of the house. Again, wonderful service in a lovely area.

However all good things must come to an end and after a last Turkish Coffee on the balcony overlooking the Bosphorus it was time to return to Moscow! All travel arrangements in Istanbul were organized by Matiana Travel, Turkeys leading boutique travel company who can design and arrange custom-made tours to suit your exact requirements.

Night Flight Open 2012 Golf Tournament

David Morley

For the last fourteen years the Swedish management of the renowned Moscow nightclub has held the Night Flight Open at the Moscow Country Club in Nakhabino. The 2012 tournament was held on 7th September and fifty golfers took part, with twelve players flying in from Sweden especially for the event, for the golf and for the fun.

“They make it like a tradition to come and play our tournament,” says the General Director of Night Flight, Mats Gluggen Jansson. “Everyone is welcome to play, and we do it for the fun, not for the prize table”.

The format of the game is a 2-man scramble, in which the teams consist of two players each. After each shot, the best of the two shots is chosen and both players play from that spot until the ball is holed. The combined handicap of each team is divided by four and deducted from the gross score. This results in a leaderboard resembling a PGA tour with scores well below the 72-par of the MCC course.

Disaster can strike, however, and invariably does. One Swedish pair murdered the first fifteen holes with birdies and pars, only to lose shots on the final three holes with a reckless score of 12 on the notorious long par-5 fifth hole. Such happenings, and frequent outbreaks of hilarity from around the course, may be the result of the “vodka buggy” making its rounds of the course to marshall and encourage the players. A “shot” per hole is not an unusual occurrence!

When asked about this, Mats Gluggen replied, “Vodka? At MCC we killed six bottles; in the evening at the club it’s hard to know, but quite a lot. Like all earlier tournaments we have to help some players out and into a taxi.”

The day ends back at the night club on Tverskaya Street with a sumptuous Swedish buffet and the prize-giving. When the winning team were receiving their prizes, one Swedish visitor was heard asking his golf-partner: “Are they pros or just very good amateurs?” His friend had his eMenu in English in the other direction however, and asked in return: “Which are you referring to? The girls or the golfers?”

The Night Flight Open is held on the first Friday in September, so the next time will be on 6th September 2013.

Results Night Flight

First A. Solodvinikov

A. Dowling 65,5

Second N. Jackson

S. Wilson 66

Third S. Conway

F. Zamudio 66,25

Closest to the Pin D. Morley

Longest Drive F. Zamudio

Best team spirit S. Brandstone

P. Burman

Recap of the 2012 Golf Season at Moscow Country Club

Johnny Oehrlein

Moscow Country Club opened the season on the weekend of May 12th. Following is a month by month recap:

MAY. The Opening Swing was held on Saturday, May 19th and featured a four-man Scramble Competition. This year the teams were made up with a random draw so there was a mix of Russians, Asians, Europeans, and North Americans represented in each group.

May 20. The first of five Monthly Stableford Competitions was held with additional competitions held in June, July, August, and September. Later in May, more events were held including the Unicredit Russian Challenge, Round One of the Individual Match Play Championship (Gold and Silver Divisions).

May 31st. The Prestigious President of Russia Cup was held.

JUNE. A host of tournaments took place in June including: The Moscow Championship (three-day amateur competition) Monthly Stableford Russia vs. The Rest of the World Delovie Lyudi Corporate Event

JULY. Another full month with lots of events including: World Golf Championships (two-day competition) July 14 and 15 was the Club Championship with Johnny Oxenham winning the event.Super Powers Tournament featured teams representing America, Europe, Russia, and Asia.

AUGUST. August 10 and 11 was the Captain’s Cup (Hosted by Golf Captain Greg Oztemel). Other tournaments in August included: Korean Day, Monthly Stableford, Autumn 4Ball Qualifying and The United Way/Deloitte Charity Event.

SEPTEMBER. Among the tournaments in September were: The Night Flight Open, (two-man Scramble), Monthly Stableford, Jubilee Classic, Autumn 4Ball (two-man Better ball Competition) which took two full weekends to complete.

OCTOBER. October hosted only one event, the very Prestigious Final Swing Tournament (two-man alternate shot competition). This was followed by the Gala Black Tie Dinner/Banquet/Prize Giving Ceremony.

In addition to the numerous events listed above, there was a season-long Golf League, which featured nine four-man teams made up primarily of expats and Russians. In addition to the 36 regular players there were approximately 15 substitutes who filled in when regulars were out of town and unavailable. The League just completed its third successful season and is managed by co-organizers Greg Oztemel and Scott Baker.

All in all, it was a fantastic 2012 golf season and we are all looking forward to an even better 2013 Season.