Quick! What pops into your mind? Did you say hot Russian girls who are eager to buy an American a drink? Or perhaps Siberia conjured up a warm sunny day, one where you want to strip naked. (To go skinny-dipping in the deepest lake in the world.) Or … maybe you pictured lake seals that are so damn cute that you want to squeeze them until snot comes out their nose?
Fine, fine. Neither did I. Like you, I pictured ramshackle little cottages from a Disney movie. You know, the one where the evil witch lives. It was hidden in a dark wood full of Siberian wolves and bears and there were mountains of snow piled up everywhere and maybe a boiling kettle to cook little kids in.
|What I expected to find
Upon closer inspection, these packs of women, dressed in gorgeous dresses and make-up and followed around by photographers were, sadly, not sent down just for me after all. They were wedding parties. And they were everywhere.
Apparently, August is wedding season and I had arrived on a fine summer Saturday where every woman over 18 was either a bridesmaid or wearing a white dress.
|What I found. (from theAtlantic.com)
I thought back on the Mongolian women, who, no offense, probably wouldn’t be winning Miss Universe anytime soon. And I thought of my month on horse-back surrounded by flies and muck and eating… pretty much flies and muck. And I looked at this sunny town, full of pubs and vodka and restaurants and discos and neat pretty wooden houses, where the parks brimmed with roses and cleavage. And I thought: Siberia. I think I love you.