Kazan, Russia

  • Date
  • 22 August 1999
  • Lodging
  • Hotel Safar
  • Distance
  • 592 KM
  • Total
  • 36784 KM

Bauman Street is a trendy pedestrian-only passage. Lining the recently laid cement sidewalks are working outdoor lights, new façades covering store fronts and restaurants, rock bands and violinists, break dancers as though the 1980s never ended, and stores like Calvin Klein, Kenzo and many Russian brands. Hundreds of people walk, laugh, shout, sing, dance, hold hands, observe, smile, frown and sway from the influence of alcohol.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner at an outdoor Turkish restaurant, popular here in this Tatar town. Chopped tomatoes, onions, radishes, garlic and chives – all refrigerated together with juices blended making for a tasty salad. In pita-style bread, we ate pork shashlyk with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and fattening, but delicious, sour cream sauce.

After dinner we sat and observed the bustling nightlife. Several children begged but they did not want our leftover food. They would accept only money. Three babushkas collected empty bottles to make money (60 kopecks, or US $.02, for one bottle). Two of these women danced to the loud music as though they loved the tunes. To be honest, I’m not sure if they adored the music or if they were just feeling the power of vodka. Women, old and young, wore high heels and colored their hair platinum. On men, very short hair cut while their bodies were often draped in inexpensive double-breasted blazers.