And, once again, it is Ken.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about…
Our experience in Russia.
Part two two two two. Hey, what don’t we introduce to them our friend here.
I bet his name is sergeant Bacon.
His name is Sergeant Bacon.
Oh my, don’t do it again. I love bacon though, he’s not offended.
Yeah, I don’t think he’s full of conscious, he looks like he’s… I don’t know, too much coffee?
We’re gonna hear from him.
I can’t take my eyes off him I think.
What customs are unusual for you here in Russia?
So there are a few things I’ve gotten used to, they’re a little bit unusual like the importance of taking your coat off and putting it in a cloakroom. It’s not such a big thing in the UK, we’ll bring our coat with us, we’ll put it on the back of a chair.
It’s usually not a big big coat like they have here, it’s usually a raincoat. And it’s just a bit or rain and just put in on the back of your chair when you go to a place. And it’s not like a big cloakroom, it’s not such a big thing.
But in Russia it’s quite a serious event, right? You go into a place, even a shopping centers, a cloakroom and you put your coat in there.
That’s interesting, because we have the same thing in the Philippines.
No, I’m kidding, we don’t have snow there. We don’t have winter of course.
Aren’t you unfulfilled without winter?
Well, it’s a matter of getting used to.
Other thing. We don’t, you know, Irish, Northern Irish people don’t actually have a law against just walking across the road wherever, jaywalking it’s called in some places. Most of the time in Ireland, Northern Ireland you just walk across when you know it’s safe.
There’s nothing coming, I’m crossing the road. And if this is like a big motorway or something, then… You should use your judgement, right? But here of course there is a law, you don’t just cross anywhere. I found out about that, I was like okay, makes sense, I’m doing it.
And have you religiously…
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m doing that and I’ll still do that and it’s important. So it’s not… I mean, different level of traffic and stuff, it’s more rural, and it’s not a big deal. Like you can cross a road and not a big deal. These covers for your shoes, you know, when you go to a doctor or different places where they are particular about cleanliness of the floor or something.
They’re shoe covers, usually blue, you have to put it on your shoes.
I have to say though that in some hospitals in the Philippines, including clinics, yeah, we do have this practice.
And I think it makes sense, it’s a kind of protection.
I’m sure there are some more where I’ve seen it before. Not just in Russia, I’m sure it’s somewhere in the UK, but not to the extent it’s here. It’s pretty popular here I think to have those. Everywhere medical especially.
I feel very uncomfortable though at time I’m wearing that, you know. Because it creates this annoying sound every step.
It’s a kind of reminds me a little bit of wearing clown shoes. If they squeak. Where’s our pig?
Exactly. It sounds, you know, more pleasing. Than a sound of that.
Maybe I should bring the pig when I go to such places. I’d see the reactions.
They’re gonna laugh at you for sure.
Now, what important or interesting sights have you seen in Novosibirsk?
Yeah, so, for me, pretty important – the zoo. I’ve been there a couple of times, ligers!
It’s great! It’s a good zoo, it’s got a railway.
Liger it’s a mix of a lion and tiger. I know a lot about animals.
Yeah, you do. There’s this, I think it’s called manual, this cat. You know the grumpy cat online?
This is much better cat than a grumpy cat. I looked at the picture…
…came to the cage of the manual, and you know the way there’s a picture and some information there in front of the cage. I was like ‘woah, they took this picture when the cat was really grumpy’. And then I saw the cat sitting in a tree on a branch and it just looked exactly the same as in pictures, like aaaargh don’t touch me! Don’t look at me!
That cat, it’s probably older, I don’t know. Grumpy, old. I don’t want to be stereotypical, but a grumpy old lion.
You could offend cats everywhere by this saying.
Okay I’m sorry to all the cats listening out there.
Yeah, zoo’s great, I like it actually. It’s got polar bear, tiger, stuff like that are prancing but that’s normally in a zoo. It’s a bit, you know, not so interesting, cause they’re just going back and forward, back and forward. Monkeys, lots of different animals, they have the party of the day, right.
Did you give them high-fives? High five, high five, heeey, what’s up dude?
No. I gotta say no. Do you do something different in the Philippines in a zoo?
I will check it and give them highfives. Well, they are predictable, so.
You’re kinda like children I guess. Planetarium – have you even been in the planetarium?
Whaaat. Where have you been?
I have been to just a few places. Remember I’ve only been here for roughly seven months, so.
I guess it’s been in winter and stuff, yeah yeah yeah, okay.
Before you continue, I’ve been to the monument of glory where they have this eternal fire, eternal flame. It’s always there. And then I saw the T-34 model which they used. It’s a kind of tank which they used at World War II to defeat Nazi Germany. Where else have I been apart from that…
Just one tank? They used this one tank to defeat…? Wow, impressive.
No, I saw several. And then the other one, I’m just not sure how to say this or pronounce this. Набережная, there is like a ferris wheel there, there is a bridge. And the continuation I think of natural…
I think it translates like on the bank maybe.
Don’t judge me. Tell us if you know what that is.
I’m not gonna judge you, but they’re judging you right now.
They’re judging me privately, in their hearts, in their minds. We’re gonna make it interactive and they’ll tell us, right? Based on your… You can translate that. Ferris wheel and stuff. How was it?
It was really good. It’s where I met this, you know, girl who was interested in meeting somebody who was a foreigner. And she walked along with us.
Yeah, you told us about that. She saw your photograph and then she came along. Ferris wheel, ferris wheel in the background.
Oh you’re not that old, you remember perfectly.
And there’s another one! Okay, before I let you continue. I’m not sure how do you say this, звезда. Anyway, a beach. Although I have to say.
It’s a star. It’s a beach? Okay.
I didn’t swim though. There was a park, there was a concert by some Russian band. And there was a foam party. That was cool.
I’ve never been on any of these things. Okay.
And, what else? Yeah, I went there in the summer, and… I’m gonna tell about other things that I did. This is peachy. You know what peachy is, it’s sort of parental guidance. Anyway, so.
Another one I went to NOVAT.
So it’s the theatre of opera and ballet.
Big one landmark sight on Lenin square.
Have you ever been inside?
Well, I was outside… I have photos from outside.
Impressive. No, I’ve been to a couple, two or three different productions in there. It’s quite good. I mean, very good, very good. Never been to… Have you ever been to any musical theater or things?
Yeah, in the Philippines, yes, of course.
Not yet. You should. You should really. I’m sure you would agree, listeners.
Let me see. I’ve always planned to go to Заельцовский парк.
It’s a big park, you know. Заельцовский парк. You know, Заельцовский metro station. It’s a little bit further from that, but there’s… It’s quite a big park, big big park. I think it’s like a big big green area from what I’d gather. I was there once, but I didn’t see too much.
It was a bit cold that day and I didn’t see too much. So I’ve planned planned to go there and visit…
We can go there together next summer!
That would be awkward though, you know, the three of us walking. You’re like a couple and then I here, on the other side. Hey guys, what’s up so?
She would be my wife then.
Yeah, very soon, very soon.
Well I can be your photographer while you’re walking in the park.
That’s a good idea. We could use…
Yeah, we could have some nice conversation.
We can buy you an ice cream as payment. What’s your favorite ice cream?
I like Irish cream, obviously, right?
I mean, caramel’s great too. Pistachio. Lots of people say pistachio. I don’t know if I have eaten pistachio. I know it’s like popular in the states, at least from what I hear. Bubblegum, have you ever eaten bubblegum ice cream?
Yeah. I’m not a big fan of it.
I probably liked it more when I was a kid, when I was younger. But bubblegum ice cream’s nice, it’s certain taste. I can never eat bubblegum, I was never allowed to eat bubblegum, but I sort of felt naughty, I’m eating ice cream that tastes like bubblegum.
Yeah, it was kinda like a naughty thing. But it’s nice flavor I think. So tell me, Ken, do you have another question for me?
I have another one for you. Have you ever been to the cinema here?
Yeah. People that know me will know that I love films, cinema and stuff, so I don’t go too often, cause I enjoy watching at home, but I do go to like different, I’ve been to lots of different cinemas here actually. Pobeda, victory cinema.
Pobieda. But you know, victory cinema. Have you been there?
Never been? Have you been to any cinema here?
I’ve never been to any cinemas here. For the record.
Well, I hardly ever watch films. I mean, in the cinema.
We’re not friends. It’s okay. I’ll forgive you.
Okay. Why don’t you tell us what your experience was like when you first saw a film completely in Russian?
Oh, well, that’s going back a bit. Well, I watched… I think it was Harry Potter and it was like…
Harry Potter and my Russian was much poorer. This is like 8 years ago and maybe 9. And I watched Harry Potter and I was shocked to hear him being called Gary. Cause Gary is a different name in the UK, two different names.
And Gary Potter, and I was like whaaaat.
I just want to interrupt you.
For a second, because I know for a fact that in Russian if a word begins with H they automatically change it to Г, for example, hamburger becomes гамбургер. Or Hitler becomes Гитлер, and that’s why Harry Potter.
We have a word that fits perfectly…
So, moving on. You were talking about your first experience. How was it?
I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. I mean, I didn’t understand everything, maybe a lot of things. It was great. Pobeda is good because you can, if you want listen English subtitles, or you can… I have also watched in Russian too. And not just in Pobeda, in other cinemas as well.
And I enjoy it, you know, I enjoy the experience, I mean it’s good practice for my Russian. You don’t have to, you don’t feel uncomfortable, you don’t need to respond to this, you’re just sitting there, you’re listening, see what you can find out.
And it’s enjoyable usually. First, all of the time I was like ‘I know this now!’ Now, now that I’ve improved a bit I’m like wow, I understand, I know what this joke is, I can laugh. And I always feel like oh great.
It’s a good way, you know, to improve your language. And this is the way, of course, when Russian people learn English, they also try to listen to English audios or, of course, to watch films.
It’s kind of a natural, you know, natural listening, like what they’re doing now. With their ears.
What I have to say though, when it comes to my experience, this one I know is not in Russia, it’s in Kazakhstan. I went to the cinema there because I was invited by a friend, it was… The film was ‘Iron Man 3’ and you know what?
When we got there, I thought, when the film started, I thought oh, I didn’t know Robert Downey Jr could speak Russian very well. He was so fluent! Oh and then when people started laughing, ah yes? What did he say? I was like an idiot there sitting, everyone’s laughing. A-ha.
That’s why you don’t go to the cinema often I guess?
But I have to say though, I still watch Russian shows. I mean some programs. They call it in Russia Golos, the Voice. You know the Voice, right?
Yeah, yeah, it’s been in the UK.
But they have a Russian version. So from time to time…
I don’t actually watch it I must confess. Even in Britain, in English. I’m not a fan.
And we have reality shows.
X-factor, for me, I prefer X-factor.
I watch X-factor too, but the Ukrainian version. Which, by the way, I know it has nothing to do with Russian, but I just felt like when listen to them speaking in Ukrainian, I think it sounds kinda like Russian in a way. I don’t know. Anyway.
Let me tell you what I miss. So I mean, here in Russian, two and a half years. I was at home. But well, people automatically say you’re gonna miss food, right? Do you miss food from the Philippines?
I mean, fish and chips. I mean, I kinda miss it a bit if I’m honest. When I was last in Northern Ireland I ate fish and chips. We’ve got tasty fish and chips. Never eaten fish and chips?
I mean, it’s fast food right? But it’s not bad, I mean, it’s bad, but it’s not bad. It’s still vegetable and good fish right. But I tried it here, at a place called Clever, it’s the Russian version of clover, or shamrock, and it was quite good you know.
It was not exactly the same as what you get, but pretty close. Close enough. It was good, it was tasty.
At least you have something from, you know, from your home country that you can eat here. I don’t think there is a café or restaurant that’s dedicated to Philipino dishes.
Not so common I guess, yeah.
Of course. Anything else that you miss back home?
So a traditional food, fry breakfast.
Fry breakfast. It’s Irish food. Not everyday food, but it’s kind of traditional food, once a month, maybe less. It includes like fried sausages, fried bacon, Mr. Pig.
Oh my god, please don’t say that, you’re offending him.
I’m offending Sergeant Bacon. Fried egg, maybe toast, beans are absolute, beans in tomato sauce. Things like that. And it’s a big… I mean, popular enough in Northern Ireland, not to eat every day. And I do miss that a little bit, but I make my own meal. I make my own of that.
It’s quite tasty. So, maybe once a week usually I have this and it tastes of home.
At least you can make your own food. Because in my case, believe it or not, I’ve been away from the Philippines for roughly six years now and for six years I’ve never ever cooked anything.
I just in a café or buy some takeaway food. Yeah, I know. Sounds crazy, right?
You need someone to cook for you.
Yeah. So my friends, they, you know, tell me you should get married, like that. We’ll see about that.
Or you should have a cat. Big fat cat. And the cat can’t cook unless you get a very talented cat. One more thing – Chinese thing. And I know this sounds weird like I miss Chinese food from my home and I’m far from China, right?
But in my little town Chinese food is everywhere. There are like, I don’t know, 22 thousand people in my town. And I think there are like 20 restaurants, Chinese restaurants. 10-20. So they’re everywhere.
Yeah. They’re big into Chinese food. I mean it’s British version of Chinese food if you know what I mean. But I miss it a bit. But I found… I mean there are some here in the city, but in Rostov-on-Don, when I first came to Russia, there wasn’t any.
I couldn’t find any Chinese restaurant, so I went online and I found out how to make my favorite sauce. And I do my own kind of Chinese food. Not too often, but sometimes. Кисло-сладкий, кисло-сладкий sauce, sweet and sour.
Oh yeah yeah yeah, okay, I understand that.
I do the sweet-sour sauce and then chicken and rice, and it’s not quite the same, but it’s tasty enough, and I do that. And I’m quite happy I found out about that.
It’s not so hard. Not as hard as you can imagine.
Well, maybe you can teach me one day.
A guy who never cooks. I guess I could try.
As for me though, when it comes to food, I should say that, you know, I’m stereotypically Asian in a way that I always look for rice. Rice, rice, rice, rice. But of course we have, I would say that different kind of rice in the Philippines. It’s better quality, no offence. It’s, you know, stickier, and…
It depends on a variety, because there are several types of that.
I just thought rice was rice.
Is it white rice or brown rice?
And seafood, tropical fruit, I would say rambutan. Rambutan is a kind of a… it’s closely related to lychee, if the listeners saw that.
It’s a fruit, right? I’ve tried it recently.
Well, not rambutan, lychee.
I’ve no idea what it is. But I tried lychee and I quite liked it. It’s completely new to me, completely new.
That’s great. Shell outside, but white flesh and it’s quite sweet.
It’s nice texture and everything. Yeah, kinda looks like an eyeball at first. You get over that.
Eyeball. What an analogy. Buy anyway.
They could’ve called it eyeball tree.
No. I don’t think people would eat it, it doesn’t sound so good. Apart from that I miss of course salted egg.
But you could put salt on egg.
No, but you know, when you… There is a way of preparing egg where you kind of like submerge it in water with salt. I don’t know for how long, and then after that… I’ve never made one as you know, I don’t even cook. But we do have that.
In my flat yes, but I’ve never used it.
So listeners, do you want to help Ken out? Do you want to cook for him?
Maybe they teach me how to cook some Russian dishes.
Yeah. But it has to be in English. Otherwise I won’t be able to understand.
You can get some young females texting later.
Well, that would be interesting.
Well, you know, I like borsch, I think. Which is very popular.
Smetana, sour cream. It doesn’t really matter to me.
Whaaaat? You’re not Russian.
You have your Russian ushanka, but you’re not Russian. I, you know, at first I was like I don’t like mayonnaise, I don’t know why, it’s just something about it. Unless it’s, like, in a chicken burger. But I was like no, no smetana, no smetana.
But then one day someone accidentally gave me with smetana, I was like hey, this is nice. It adds… Because it’s quite bitter without it. And when you put in smetana, it makes it a little bit more neutralized, and it tastes good. And you know, now I like smetana. I don’t eat it often, but I like smetana, sour cream.
Oh my god, so you have been russified.
A little bit. And borsch, smetana. I mean, I will take it with smetana, sour cream, no problem. It’s the best way, for me. Bliny.
Different form the pancakes in the UK, we would call them more crepes, like a French version of pancake.
You just said something very bad. I hope they didn’t hear it out.
Some people will know. I mean, it’s not such a bad thing. But pelmeni, if I can say that properly, vareniki. Have you ever tried that?
I think if people are gonna teach you how to cook, they can start with pelmeni or vareniki.
No, I’m not so crazy about pelmeni, I don’t know. You like it, yeah?
Uh, yeah. I mean, I picked a variety carefully, but yeah. Pelmeni. It’s very simple, easy to make. Real quick. I like it. Vareniki sometimes too. And maybe with cherry, maybe with potato, something like that. No? Yeah no maybe? Not for you?
Cutlets. Yeah, but I think the cutlet is not exactly Russian, what I know as a cutlet. Cutlet is more like a … for me, but it’s kind of a meatball, isn’t it?
They’re tasty, they’re good, no?
I’m not saying I’m against it. They’re gonna hunt me down.
Like a wild boar. Like Sergeant Pig, Sergeant Bacon.
For hating our food. I’m just not a big fan.
Mmm, food. I’m actually kinda hungry.
Well, I’m gonna make you a sandwich. That one I can make.
You talk about it as if it’s a talent.
You tell me you can’t boil an egg basically, so I’m impressed you can make a sandwich.
Oh god, please don’t embarrass me. I’m sure the listeners are really feeling me. Anyway, I have a couple more questions for you. Have you visited other cities in Russia? I mean, of course you mentioned…
Quite a few. So before I really came in Novosibirsk, I traveled as a tourist. You know, I’ve been to Rostov-on-Don. While in Rostov-on-Don, I went to Sochi. It was 2014, Paralympics I went to. I went to a hockey game there with a few of my classmates.
Different students there, international students. Went on the train down the Sochi, I was in Taganrog, Taganrog I think is there. It’s a popular place anyway in that region. But I also previous to that I was in Moscow of course. I went to Yakutsk.
Yakutsk is like… It’s the coldest region, one of the coldest regions way up north. And I was there. And in the countryside in there, and in the city. Little bit wild and different and unusual. Even I guess for Russian people, I guess.
I was… So, Novosibirsk and, yeah, I’ve been to St Petersburg, Moscow, Yakutsk. I went on the train, you know.
Oh, so have you tried that Trans-Siberian?
A little bit. I went from St Petersburg to Moscow by train. And I decided not to stop, right, and I went to Vladivostok.
Oh my god. All the way to the East.
Stopped off at lake Baikal, seen Irkutsk, I’ve seen Ulan-Ude. I’ve seen…. Got to Vladivostok, yeah. I like Vladivostok, you know. The sea, it’s the Northern-Irishness in me.
The sea… I don’t know, I don’t know.
It was the summer anyway, I can’t say, but I went to… on a ferry to Russky Island, and I liked the ferry journey and seeing the sea, there was something nice about that. I’m connected to the sea Ken.
I’m not like a pirate or anything, Jack Sparrow, but I like the sea.
You know, I haven’t been to any of the places here, but in the summer I’m hoping to go to Moscow and of course St Petersburg, and later on to some other parts of Russia. Maybe Vladivostok.
Sochi of course. And I wanna see, how do you call it? Oh my god there is this place that my students always tell me… Altai! Altai mountains!
I’ve heard a lot of interesting stuff…
I love the mountains in my region, which you know… So I would love to go to Altai, it’s much bigger than my mountains, and I think it would be really great experience.
I would love to go. Anyway, I guess that’s about it for now.
Have we found out what the craic was?
We found it out. See you later, Ken.
See you later. Thanks to all of you. Good to all and good night.