Archive for November 10, 2007

Snowy day of commerce and religion

snowy statuecathedralYesterday I DID walk with Jacquie in the falling snow down Dostyk Street through Panfilov Park.  How beautiful to see the gloppy, wet snow clean up the otherwise drab, depressed looking streets and store fronts.  Mind you, Dostyk is one of the main drags in Almaty as is Abai street but still the change of attitude from tired autumn leaves to white against black tree limbs was inspiring.  

Jacquie and I went inside the cathedral and felt warmed by the many candles and as we looked at the icons they seemed to beckon and welcome us in.  Easy for me to imagine the choir in the loft behind us chanting while all the parishioners are gathered below, standing in one mass.  No chairs or pews to be found during an Orthodox service, these faithful stand on their ceremony.  They do not sit like us westerners. Then I was reminded from past experiences of Orthodox services of how startling the big bass voice is of the priest initiating his grandiose crescendos behind the gold front where he usually hides out in the inner sanctum. Scaffolding “graced” the front of the holy of holies but oddly it seemed to blend in with the rest of the ornate décor. How grand a feeling to look up and see the pictures painted into the dome, the 12 stations of the cross all around.   

Conversely, on the opposite end of the spectrum of holy experiences, Jacquie and I went to the back side of the Green Market.  Religion vs. Commerce.  We just HAD to check out SIX “Second Hand” stores.  The one I hadn’t seen before was a “LUX” meaning luxury second hand store.  That would be like saying “upscale thrift store” back home, I suppose.  Yes, the prices were indeed in the LUX category.  What to my amazement but to see my English tutoree, A.Z. who has her store in that particular building of the LUX across the street from the Green Market.  I asked her where I might find a half meter piece of wood, the shopping quest I was on several days ago.  She wrote down the words in Russian where I might find it and the word for “wood” to ask for it.   

I bought a brand new, green down jacket made in China for 2,500 tenge instead of the listed 2,900.  I used my new vocabulary word “skeetka” which means “discount” and it seemed to work since the seller obligingly went down on her price immediately.  This jacket will prove better than my leather jacket.  I also bought a black hat to match my boa that I bought in Amsterdam several years ago.  Jacquie bought a green hat at a reasonable price. 

After shopping at SIX Second Hand stores, Jacquie and I took a bus up the hill about five stops to my flat to enjoy tea and tort.  Then she needed to join her husband and I had to buy groceries at Ramstor for our meal that evening.  A good snowy day was had by all. 

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