Whenever I leave my apartment, I am always amazed at the things I can buy on the streets of Moscow. The city has traditional kiosks that sell snack foods, magazines, soda, and of course beer. Then there are little stores underneath the streets that sell random goods ranging from shoes to deodorant (which sadly hasn’t caught on yet). Plus, there are the equivalent of fruit carts in NYC, which sell a decent variety of fruits and vegetables. However, the type of vendor that is most interesting to me is the babushka (grandmother) or other elderly person selling things that were grown in their backyard. On the one hand, it is very sad that there are people selling things on the street to make a few rubles, on the other hand it is fascinating what one can buy. If you were to walk the streets of Moscow, you could find all of the things below sold by one person sitting on a crate on the sidewalk:
- Cucumbers, cherries and tomatoes picked from a garden. The woman selling it usually only has about 6 of each item.
- Pickled cucumbers or any other vegetable – including things you would never even think to pickle. Despite the Russian obsession with pickling, it is almost impossible to find sauerkraut.
- Bras – these aren’t sold on a rack, but on someone’s arms. The bra seller will have about 30 bras on each arm and hold her arms out for you to look. I haven’t bought any so I am not sure if they are organized by size, but I am sure the woman can find you what you need.
- Stockings – only in the nude color. I have been forbidden by my fashion advisors to wear them, although in Moscow it is a fashion statement to wear nude stockings underneath shorts.
- Puppies, turtles or small birds – the puppies are often peeking out of the shirt of the person selling them, or the animals are in a cardboard box as you exit the subway.
- Fish – all kinds of weird fishes. Most of the fish are dried, but come in a variety of sizes ranging from a small anchovy to a fish over a foot long. I haven’t gotten close enough to examine what types of fish they really are.
- Kvas – a Russian summer favorite. It is a fermented rye drink that tastes similar to beer without the alcohol. I think it tastes gross, but people love it.
- Honey – Russians also love their honey. It is usually not sold in the liquid form that we buy in the States, but in a much creamier form. It comes in various flavors, my favorite being rose. They are sold out of big tubs and put into smaller containers to take home.
Those are some of the sights of walking around in Moscow.
From Russia with Love,