23 June 2006

Summertime has arrived...

Now that we are almost closing to midsummer, it gets a lot of heat in here. Supposing that it will be ice cold all year round (such a dumbass i became) i packed up a lot of warm clothes and stuff. But to my very astonishment and agony, it becomes really really hot in this city. Today it is nearly 30 degress (celcius). And adding the information that there is no Air Conditioning system in public buildings, metro and houses (the houses are especially well insulated for winter blitz, it feels like a well-off swiss bank safe), it feels like burning hell when you are fully clad in dark business suits. Thanks to the american liberty of the so-called "Free Fridays", we can relieve ourselves of the painstaking ties.

Summertime also comes to Moscow with a unique aspect of itself. "The Hot Water Shutoffs". During the times when everything was communal, the soviet nomenclatura (rulers) decided that the houses would be supplied 24-7 with central hot water and heating system. It may sound good to those who doesn't have that luxury at home or who has to pay a fortune for that individual heaters (yeah, here it costs nearly 5-10$ for all the ex-soviet luxury) but that intelligent bunch also imposes a system of a 3-week-long summer shutoff for annual checks and repairs. So no hot water for 3 weeks. The wealthy and the well-off Russians and filthy expats (like me) just have some electrical heaters mounted on their baths but I know that the rest of the bunch not only cannot afford a heater but also cannot even think of the electricty bill for that (Note: Electricity is even cheaper than hot water and gas). This shutoffs are planned by rayons (districts) and announced by the community leaders beforehand.

On a bloody sunday morning you may add rejoice to your week by seeing a post on your building "CITIZENS BEWARE! No Hot Water from 1.6.2006 to 22.6.2006". So some continue their hygenic routine with their state-of-the-art heaters (chinese made 50$ stuff) or some enjoy freezing showers in the mornings. The rest just let the nature play its part with their daily appetite of cheap beer, dried calamari, pork and other extra stinking food. So imagine the man, who had seen the hot water shutoff post on the building, went to the metro and sense the mixture of the best fragrance coctail in the world. The unescapable heat and the moisture of the 70 year old Metro also adds spice to this. One can easily udnerstand which rayons don't have hot water from the passenger rushing into the train...One of my german friends "ironically" noted (when we were travelling in an overpacked stinking hot metro train) that he now understood how the Jews travelling to concentration camps in cattle trains must have felt.

So this monday, without any notice (although i live ina rather fashionable neighborhood and pay an awful lot of rent) the hot water was gone. Since I don't have the luxury of meeting my neighbours, I don't know when it will come back so I will wait for 3 weeks...3 weeks of blitzfreeze showers..way to go

Although born and raised in Ankara, I am somehow used to the "Pukh" (the cotton stuff from the trees in springtime). But in Moscow this Pukh-thing goes crisis! They say that Moscow has two winters: One in winter and one in summer. Now all the streets are covered with this white snowy cotton pollens or seeds, people with asthma and allergies must be looking for hiding spots. Forgetting to close your window will make your house full of this "pukh"...It is strange that the everthinking and knowing Soviet planners forgot about this and planted this filthy tree everywhere.(Especially in my yard!!!!)

So it is Friday..THANK GOD IT IS FRIDAY!..Absolutely no work, all clubbing and no rest for two days. God bless Mother Russia!

No comments: