???????? ??????

Mockba, 26 February 2007

My hotel is located in one of Moscow’s suburbs in the South East. It’s cheap and it takes about 20 minutes by metro to the Red Square and Leninski. Absolutely doable especially because the Metro station is about 50 meters from my hotel. I had done some research on the Moscow metro up front (which is recommended I’d say) and knew how their ticket system worked. You can buy 1, 5 or 10 trip tickets, and since I knew I was going to use the metro quite a bit, I showed the woman behind the window my 2 hands, telling her I wanted a 10 trip card. That went fine, and being used to using my Oyster card in London using the Moscow card wasn’t that different.

Back to my hotel – located this far from the centre, this also means that this is a non tourist area, and chances to find people speaking English are zero. Even the people working at the reception of the hotel don’t speak any English at all.

It’s an area that gives a good impression of authentic Russian city life so to speak. There are loads of small shops and stalls in the area selling drinks, food, magazines, newspapers, snacks, meat, bread, soap, well you name it, they sell it. With a bit of goodwill and pointing at things I manage to buy things like chocolate, Pringles and Coca Cola (hey I am on holiday). There is also a tiny (and I mean tiny) DVD shop on the same block.

Surely a normal person with a well functioning head wouldn’t begin to consider doing this with a Russian vocabulary as large as, well, one word. That was what I was thinking.
But I wasn’t a normal person.
And so, I stepped inside.

This shop sells DVD’s for the price of 2 pound. They are all dubbed in Russian of course and I don’t really know if they are legal, probably not. The guy in the shop is huge, has a beard and a pony tail, smokes, has tattoos all over his arms and I was wondering if I maybe should be wise and leave the place quietly again. I quickly browsed through some of the titles but didn’t find what I was looking for. I was, at this point, the only customer. He was looking at me, as if asking if he could help me – or maybe just wondering what they heck I was doing in his shop. I took a DVD with Hugh Grant on the front cover and showed it to him, “Love Actually” I said to him. (There were no DVD’s with Bill on the front, and chances of him knowing Hugh were a bit higher, as he had quite a lot of his DVD’s). To my big surprise he nodded in recognition – “Russian, English no” he said. “That’s OK” I told him, I knew the films were in Russian. He looked at me with a somewhat wondering expression as if thinking “who is this weird girl and why on earth does she want a Russian film” but he started searching.

Most of the DVD’s he sold where compilations, so he had several Hugh Grant DVD’s with 5 Hugh films on one disc (OK then – definitely illegal). He checked them all, showed me one with About A Boy on it, but nope it wasn’t that one. And sorry but no it wasn’t Notting Hill either. In the mean time I was no longer the only customer in his mini shop. 2 more people stood pressed in a corner, while he, determined, searched on. But no, the film wasn’t to be found on the Hugh Grant disks he had. I saw the looks of the people waiting in the shop, and thought it best to leave. I thanked him for his effort, but he didn’t want to let me go. He suddenly realized where he had seen the film, he fished a Keira Knightley collection DVD from a box somewhere, and blimey, there it was : ???????? ?????? with the more than delicious ???? ?????. He smiled at me, and I smiled back, paid him the 100 Rubbles, and manoeuvred myself out of his shop.

I just played it, and it’s hilarious to see Bill speak Russian. Cleverly enough they have left the original Billy Mack singing in the film, so that is still the real Bill, but all his talking is done by some wanna-sound-sexy Russian who’s voice has no resemblance whatsoever with Bill’s. Not that that was the point, the point was to score an original Russian souvenir. And – mission accomplished.

?????????? ???? ??? ?????? ???
? ??? ??????? ??????

Call me nuts, but isn’t life all about ?????? actually.

6 thoughts to “???????? ??????”

  1. If it is legal after all, you may have a collectors item there. The name is spelt “???? ?????” (Nighby) instead of “???? ????”.
    I always try to find a comic I already have in Dutch in the local language. So I own Icelandic Guust’s and Olivier Blunders, a Danish Guust and a Polish Asterix. Among others.

  2. Yeah well I kind of regret I didn’t buy the Chinese version as well. And I have no doubt that it is a non legal version, as I saw the legal version in a shop a day later. That one did cost a bit more than 100 rubbles :)

    Oh and thanks for correcting the ????? spelling, the ? looked an awful lot like a ? on the DVD cover.

  3. That may be because it’s the same letter, the one on the cover is the capital version. Maybe it’s a service to help people distinguish between legal and illegal versions?

  4. Oh dear… ???????? ??????…!! Only you could have had such a brilliant idea :)

  5. Wherever I go, I go to bookshops to find a) a children’s dictionary in the local language and b) the diary of Anne Frank in the local language. Whether my search is succesful or not, it’s always fun to just look around and be surrounded by strange words (or even strange alphabets).

  6. The idea Is brilliant and an original Russian souvenir is not bad either ;)

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