Bryanboy.com - Fashion Blogger
1:00 pm

Goodbye Moscow

18/11/2004, Moscow

Time to say goodbye, I guess.

I slept at around 8:30-9:00AM today and asked reception for a wake-up call at 10:30. I got up for like 2-3 minutes and slept again. Thank god I had my cellphone alarm set to 1PM so I got up at around that time.

I spent the next hour doing random things, like calling Federal Express to follow-up my pick-up (I’m sending a box to the Philippines with some of my leftover clothes that didn’t fit in my luggage), going down to the business center to get some forms filled out in Russian, call my parents, blah blah blah.

I then took a nice little walk to the supermarket 2 blocks away from the hotel. I spent around US$417 on caviar (4 jars of black, 1 huge 500gram jar of red), Russian Vogue magazine, 3 packets of chewing gum, a bottle of Evian and a bottle of Russian Standart.

Jane picked me up at around 4:30PM on our usual meeting spot, right in front of the hotel in Tverskaya-Yamskaya. Our plan is to hit some of the shops at Stoleshnikov Pereulok.

We probably spent a good 45 minutes – 1 hour on the streets because of the traffic. It’s just as bad as Manila. I took a couple of random pics using my camera phone because I forgot my camera at the hotel.

First stop was Christian Dior — loving it! I bought another gambler bracelet, this time in fuchsia, and a pair of navy blue corduroy pants with a stainless steel Dior patch on the back and Dior stars chain and safety pin on the sides. The prices at Dior are actually consistent with the worldwide market; bracelet was around US$310 (I got 2 in Bangkok for around $295 each)  and the corduroy pants were like around US$860. Not bad at all.

We then took a quick look at Hermes because I’m looking for a wallet for my dad, but I ended up getting him a green epi leather wallet at Vuitton. Jane went to Burberry because she’s looking for a croc/alligator shoe.

Our last stop was Rostik’s on Tverskaya. I love Rostik’s! It’s the Russian version of KFC/McDonald’s (cause they’re everywhere) and they sell chicken, potatoes, etc. It’s pure junk/trash food but what the hell… I love it. Jane got me a cab from Rostik’s cause she’s running a little late — she had to visit her mom on the other side of the city because her mom was about to give birth.

When I went back to the hotel, my driver and I quickly went to the airport for my flight to Bangkok.

My god, Sheremetyevo 2 has got to be the WORST airport I’ve been to EVER. There’s lines everywhere, from checking-in, to customs and passport control.

It took around 15 minutes to get my boarding pass issued because I had 50 kilos worth of excess baggage. The excess baggage counter was closed so they had to call up some woman to come over there.

Guess how much I paid for excess baggage?

19,646 rubbles, which is around US$700.

I begged and I begged and I tried to use my charm to the old, late 30′s bitch on the excess baggage counter but she won’t give me a discount.

Bollocks, I thought.

I swear to god…. with all the money I spent on excess baggage going here and returning back, It would’ve been much mucho better if I just bought my bags a roundtrip ticket — at least they get seats inside the fucking cabin!

Anyway, thank god I booked the Airport Fast Track service at www.aerotour.ru, otherwise, I’d be spending hours in customs and passport control. The girl who assisted me when I first arrived in Moscow was the same one who helped me today. It took me no more than 10 minutes to pass customs and passport control. In fact, the only thing that the customs person asked me is how much cash do I have/bringing out to the country. I said around US$100 because I used my cards… and then that’s about it.

The real horror however isn’t the queues at customs/passport control but the huge, gigantic queues at the gate! I have never seen an airport where there’s a security check prior to boarding/going to the gate. Usually security checks are done before you even check-in… or after checking-in.

Thank god I arrived quite late so when the airport people were doing a final call for passengers to board the plane to Bangkok, they gave us priority to pass the security check. Even if you’re flying business or first class, you still have to fall in line with the masses before going to the gate.

My Moscow airport experience was truly weird — and was a miracle. No wonder a lot of people advised me to be there at least 3 hours before the flight.

I left the hotel at 6:30PM, got into the airport at 8PM because of the traffic and my flight was scheduled to depart at 8:45PM (although it got delayed to 9:15PM).

12:10 am

My last night in Москва with my close Muscovite friends

18/11/2004, Moscow

As always, all good things must come to an end and I’ve spent my last night in Mockba with some of my closest friends.

Mark and I had dinner at this Chinese restaurant in Tverskaya called Peking Duck. I’ve been there once before with Sasha and Andrey and I liked the food there. It was the only place in Moscow, that I know of, where I can have a full Asian (non-sushi) meal… meat, vegetables, rice, etc.

I wanted Mark to try Chinese food as he had never had it before. We ordered some beef in oyster sauce, some vegetables, rice and then a roasted aromatic duck (the one you roll etc). I loved the food but he didn’t… he ended up ordering a kebab as well.

After having dinner, we went to this internet cafe/bar/club called Phlegmatic Dog, near the Kremlin wall. Use of the internet is free with any order. We had vodka and Jaguar, a red bull-like drink that a lot of navy cadets drink in St. Petersburg. I quickly checked my emails while he browsed some stuntriding and biker websites — he’s a biker by heart. He loves stunt riding and he used to have a motor bike in South Russia that he sold in order to move to Moscow.

After 15 minutes, he told me to look at the windows… so I did.

And I saw the most amazing thing ever.

Snow.

It was snowing…. on my last night in Moscow.

One of my top reasons why I visited Russia at this time of the year was to see snow because I haven’t seen it in ages. But according to them, this year has been quite warm… I’ve been in Russia for 3 weeks and I haven’t seen snow… and today it was snowing.

He told me to go out and enjoy it… so I did. I took a quick walk near the Kremlin wall and the ground was covered in frost…. small snow flakes falling from the sky… to my hands and my face… for me it was just plain old wonderful.

After my little snow encounter, I went inside to pick Mark up because the bar was closing. Jane called me up telling us she’s in front of the Kremlin on the main road, waiting for us. She (and my other friend Kate) wanted to meet me up that night because it was my last night.

We went into her car and we went to Open Cafe, this cafe-cum-club. Unfortunately, there was a private party inside (I think it was some DJ’s birthday party) and they can only let people in with invitations, despite Jane and Kate having club VIP cards.

We then settled to go to Soup Cafe, a cafe near my hotel. Jane and Kate were a little hungry and gagging for a snack. They had some salad and some pasta, while I had a crab thingie.

After eating, we chilled out for a bit and both girls decided to go home. It was the last I saw of Kate; Kate is this russian girl of Korean origin – her parents were Korean but she was born and raised in Moscow. I swear to god she was the only Asian person I knew… and probably have seen in Moscow.

Kate is quite nice and very thoughtful. Jane and Kate gave me a box full of Russian presents, such as the matreshka dolls, a couple of babushka keychains, an amber necklace, a mini panting with amber stones in it, a couple of magnets, etc.

It’s funny how I got to know these people. I went to Fabrique, on my 2nd night in Moscow with Simon. Upon exiting the club, I approached Kate and told her "oh my god I swear you are the only asian-looking person in Moscow!!" and the usual "where are you going sweetie", "how are you" etc. We exchanged digits and hanged out since then. Kate then introduced me to Jane, blah blah blah.

I also met Mark on the same night. He was in Fabrique alone, etc etc etc. ;)

I’d say the three of them are my closest friends in Moscow. They really took care of me without wanting anything but company. Very genuine and sincere people; I wish the world is full of them. :)

Anyway, Jane and Kate brought me and Mark back to the hotel. I spent the next 5 hours packing all my bags (until around 8AM), while Mark browsed the internet. And yes — he’s straight. And yes, we’ve slept on the same bed, close to wearing nothing… and nothing happened. He’s a very good friend — imagine him watching me pack all of my stuff until 8AM. Nobody with a decent mind would do that!!! He told me he won’t leave until I’m finished packing and then we can formally say our goodbyes etc…. he really DOES care!! And yes, he’s got a girlfriend. LOL

3:02 pm

Cafe Pushkin

16/11/2004, Moscow

Cafe Pushkin is this 24-hour Moscow institution that screams "old people=old money". It’s a cafe-slash-restaurant that serves traditional russian dishes, all prices in euros, and quite "elitny".

Jane and I went here on my first week in Moscow at around 2AM and it was dead empty so we went out immediately. The interiors are quite classic and rustic european and very traditional (high ceilings, french windows, you know the drill).

However, I really wanted to try this place cause I’ve heard so many reviews about it. Not giving up, I went ahead and invited Mark to have dinner with me.

We hired a Merc just to bring us to the restaurant. I wore a little baby blue and navy blue striped t-shirt, bleached jeans (old Mcqueen), chanel handbag, little white fox fur jacket, gold vintage cowboy boots and d&g chains and teddy bear appliques with crystals "patched" on my jeans. Mark wore a simple sweater and some jeans.

When we arrived, door person opened our Merc and I stepped out, stomping the ground with my cowboy boots as if it were a huge catwalk ala fashion week.

Security and door person welcomed us with a smile… at first I thought they weren’t gonna let us in because my outfit definitely doesn’t fit the venue. However, everyone was nice and friendly; I think this is one place where clothes DO NOT MATTER at all and I can be myself.

When we went inside, the entire crowd was in their late 40′s, most human males were in suits and most women were quite, well, elegant… and there I was, little camp asian boy in his little clubbing outfit.

Who gives a fuck though. Nobody cared, nobody bat an eyelid.

Waiter asked us for aperitifs; I asked for a gin tonic, and Mark asked for a sambuca.

Yes. a sambuca. at Cafe Pushkin. Imagine the look on the waiter’s face when Mark said that. Me and the waiter giggled (in a nice joking manner) and then I told him that we’ll just get Mark a gin tonic as well. Poor Mark… it must be tough to be in his shoes. Not only he has to tag along with the queen of the royal fags, but it was also his first time in a pseudoposh place.

I told him not to be concious and just be himself.

I placed my order — asked for blinis and caviar, and then a huge steak with potatoes and vegies. And with Mark being a gentleman, he said he didn’t want to eat anything and he’ll just drink instead.

I told him it’s ok, he can get what he wants and I’ll pay for it, but he continously refused to do so because he thought it was expensive and he didn’t want to "spend" my money.

I felt utterly guilty cause I spent the next 40 minutes pigging out in front of him and all he did was drink 3 gin tonics.

He still said it was ok.

Our bill… for my meal, about 7 gin tonics, and a bottle of evian, was around 130 euros.

Honestly, I loved the place. Everyone was nice and helpful, the service is extremely fast and swift, the doormen, security, waiters and ushers were very friendly and warm, the music was quite alright (although a bit in the dark ages… classical… violin players and all), our table was good, right beside the window, overlooking the street. Overall it’s a place if you would like to take someone for a romantic date.

12:00 pm

Quick trip around town

16/11/2004, Moscow

Mark and I went around Moscow for a teeny bit because it was so beautiful today — nice sky, some sunshine and little wind. I’ve been in Russia for almost 3 weeks and I haven’t even been on the metro. But today, I decided to go with him for a ride, even if it was only for a couple of stations. First we went from Byelorusskaya station (near my hotel) to the station in front of his girlfriend’s flat (see below) to meet his girlfriend, Victoria.


Mark (left) and his girlfriend’s flat (right)

They chatted for a couple of minutes at the station. Mark told me Vika is pissed and jealous cause he’s been hanging out with me for the past few days and she now thinks Mark is a little, well, bent… which is not true. Mark is just a very nice (and sweet) guy who cares. He’s a very good friend.

From there, we went to Okhotny Ryad, this big underground shopping center near Red Square. It’s this huge underground mall-like structure. Mark and I strolled around for a little bit before going to the food court. I told him I wanted to try Rostik’s, the Russian version of McDonald’s. They sell chicken ala KFC, friend chicken, chicken wings, etc. I bought a meal – 2 small pieces of chicken, some fries (which are nasty) and a drink. The chicken ain’t that bad… they were quite tasty actually. Mark showed me how expensive some of the things at Okhotny Ryad were. There was this kiosk that sells hand gloves and mittens – a couple of bad-looking leather gloves from Hungary were about US$100 each!!!!! I mean, if you saw those gloves, you would think they were cheap – they looked cheap! Those gloves shouldn’t cost more than US$15 I think.

From Okhotny Ryad, Mark and I went to Red Square. It was my 2nd time there — it was just beautiful. I took a couple of pictures; I had goosebumps while walking there. It was pretty much the epitome of Russia. Every single guidebook, web page, tourist books or brochures that have Moscow on it will show a picture of either St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square or the Kremlin in it.

2:35 pm

En Route to Moscow

13/11/2004, Moscow

God knows how many times I changed my plane tickets to Moscow.

I was supposed to fly back on November 11, then I changed it to 6:30PM today, then I changed it to 10:30PM. I skipped the 6:30PM flight coz I decided to meet Andrey halfway to the airport so he can buy tickets to Moscow as well. He’s going here tomorrow, November 13, until Monday morning. We’ll hang out, party and whatfuckingeva! :)

Here’s a pic of him at a bar in Pulkovo airport. It’s funny cause he hasn’t heard (or had) a "vodka red bull" in his entire life. I mean, hello, that’s because they drink vodka by the glass, without anything else. This is Russia, afterall. ;) So yeah… when we went to the bar, he got a vodka red bull for him… and one for me. He liked it. :)

He’s quite cute, isn’t he? I swear to god pictures don’t do him justice. He’s soo much cuter… and fitter in real life. You will literally melt when you see him. Ugh! I don’t even wanna talk about him or else I’d go gaga. I just can’t wait to see him in Moscow. His flight arrives at around 6:30 or so PM on Saturday and I’ll see whether or not I’ll pick him up cause I might see Jane today.

4:29 am

Mark… and Jane… and me.. lonely in Moscow

05/11/2004, Moscow

Meet some of my friends in Moscow – they don’t know each other btw.

Mark is a complete weedhead. ;) He lives in this tiny little flat in Moscow. He’s straight (goes out with a girl called Victoria). Mark is really sweet — he takes care of me and his friends as if we’ve known each other for a long time. His dad works in England and he lives by himself.

And meet Jane. Jane is actually quite well-off for Moscow/Russian standards. She’s an amazing girl. I met her through another girl called Kate, whom I met at the Fabrique club. She invited me to her flat and it’s brilliant. She went to school in Cambridge so her English is quite good. We’re both Urban Outfitters addicts. Her dad is a businessman – they own the Russian representative office for Daikin (a Japanese company). She drives an Audi. She brought me to tons of places, showed me what a Russian supermarket looks like (lol), drove me around at 4AM… etc. I’ve been hanging out with her almost every day since Monday. She might visit me to St. Petersburg this Saturday. I love Jane – she’s the best!

And this is me, taken a couple of minutes ago… it’s 11:27PM here in Moscow on a Thurrsday. I haven’t shaved for like 2 weeks. I need a bloody razor – I’m starting to get facial hair. Eeeew. I’ll ask the hotel later.

1:23 am

So so wreckless

05/11/2004, Moscow

Oh god.

I have never been so wreckless in my life.

I ended up going out with Mark, Valery, Natasha and Yulia.

It’s Thursday night here in Moscow and I was supposed to fly to St. Petersburg today at 3:50PM (leave the hotel at noon). However, I got home from clubbing with another bunch of newfound friends (Natasha and Yulia) at around 8AM.

I got back to the hotel at 8AM, all drunk and under the influence of Mama Mary, Jesus and Joseph. I haven’t packed any one of my bags – a ritual that will take a good 6 hours. What I did instead was, I called the concierge, gave him my airline tickets, passport, hotel reservation, the phone number of the car company (for transfers) and let him do the tedious tasks of changing everything for tomorrow’s departure.

I ended up spending around U$100 in penalties for the ticket alone, not to mention another extra night here at the Sheraton hotel, Moscow.

In any case, I had *so* much fun last night. We all went to 2 clubs — Zona (which had a gay night) and Garage, a straight club that plays R&B and Hip Hop.

Zona is this club where students and commoner Russian people go to, in other words, non-elitny. Jane, my Russian elitny friend told me it’s shite — it was… kind of, but the attention I got from commoner Russian people is priceless.

I drunk so much at Zona. Had a bottle of champers, about 6 or 7 vodka redbulls, 3 gin tonics and a good ol bottle of evian. Me and Yulia danced for a bit then we all spent time drinking — at our table… then at the bar.

When all 5 of us went to the bar, we ended up chatting to these 4 young-ish Russian guys/students. They are the classic "gobnyi key". In other words, they look like British scally people. Sportswear sweaters, baggy trousers, trainers.

For some strange reason, I think they are gay, particularly the semi-cutish guy with nice green eyes and dark hair who sat beside me. He was quite cute.. and had a nice smile. His english is horrible though. My friends had to play translator back and forth. They said they were straight – I kinda pretended I was straight, playing around with Natasha every once in a while. Mark said they can’t be trusted because they look a bit rough… but those 4 guys were nice, all smiling and talking to us.

Anyway, we left the 4 boys and went to Garage to dance the dawn away. Valery is such a good dancer and we danced in the middle of the dancefloor. Everyone was literally looking at us and everyone was dancing. It was all fun.

So yeah.. here I am, back in the hotel… gonna pack my stuff in a bit. I only got out of the hotel once — for 5 minutes, just to buy US$40 worth of prepaid/top-up cards for my Russian mobile.

I’ll take lots of pictures tomorrow. Bye for now!

1:36 pm

Excuses… and white lies

04/11/2004, Moscow

My friend Jane wanted to bring me to this club called Caligulla but I told her I’m gonna call off the night because I had to wake up early tomorrow. I know myself when I go clubbing — I drink an awful lot, do some stuff and dance till it’s 6 or 7 in the morning.

Prevention is better than cure.

So off I went to the hotel, checked my emails a little bit and then Mark’s friend Valery called me to checked what I was doing. She said she had 2 friends who wanted to see me and asked if they can drop by at my room and maybe we can all have a chat. I said ok — as long as we’re not going out etc cause I had to wake up early tomorrow.

Fast forward 1 hour later, Valery, Natasha and Yulia (the one with the blonde bangs) arrived.

All girls are soo soo fun. Natasha’s english is great. Whereas Yulia… oh my god, Yulia is just like "Bubbles" from Absolutely Fabulous. She’s one crazy girl – she’s a journalist of some sort for some Russian Music/MTV-like channel. She likes to make these little facial things which are sooo cute. I have this body shimmer powder thing and we played around with it like little teenage girls. LOL.


Natasha, Moi, Yulia at my room

Yulia, Natasha, Valery

12:48 pm

My little magazine stint

31/10/2004, Moscow

Meet Simon. He’s basically the 2nd Russian person I’ve spoken to the moment I got here.

I first met him online a couple of months ago on this Russian personals web site, http://love.gay.ru. He works for this Russian gay magazine, KVIR, as a writer.

He asked me some questions about the last 2 CDs that I bought. And bam, I’m on the magazine.

See the pic below. Interesting! ;)

7:00 am

Moscow Fashion Week

31/10/2004, Moscow

Thanks to my friend Simon, I was able to go to the last day of Moscow Fashion Week (October 30).

I didn’t do anything there really. He gave me a press ID/card, met with his straight Latvian friend (see photo below), and we watched the Gaspard Yurkevich show.