Friday, August 27, 2010

Rostov’s believe-it-or-not

On Thursday I met up with Lyudmila, Alya and Ruslan, some of my dearest friends from my mission days in Rostov. We met in Gorky Park, in the center of the city, and caught up over ice cream and juice. I met Ira, Alya’s daughter, a 100% sweetheart:

And then, because we had a little extra time, Alya suggested we visit the Peter the Great Kuntzkamera exhibit in the museum nearby. I didn’t know what Kuntzkamera meant, but a museum exhibit sounded lovely to me, so I agreed. We bought tickets and stepped through a red velvet curtain into the exhibit space, which was filled with … wax statues of people with odd deformities.

For example (and I wish this picture had come out a little clearer but I took it on the sly), this man with two heads, and this man with an unusually large mouth. There was also a dwarf woman, a man with a huge pointy nose and ears, and some others -- all exact replicas of real people and real deformities.

We moved onto the next portion of the exhibit: deformed fetus pictures. Um. I won’t go into detail, and I wasn't about to take any pictures -- I could hardly look at them. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, we rounded the corner into a room with wax heads depicting various skin diseases on the right side, and jars containing actual deformed fetuses in formaldehyde on the left. Alya, her four-year-old in tow, studied all the descriptions, fully intrigued.

Just when I think I know what to expect from Russia and Russians, I get another weird surprise. I kind of love that about Russia. Keeps me on my toes.

1 comment:

Ben and Molly said...

I cannot believe Alya has a DAUGHTER!! She was just a teenager when I was there. Wow.