Barcelona should be compared with St. Petersburg rather than with Moscow. The city really resembles Russia’s cultural capital. It has its own language (the press is sold in two languages: Spanish and Catalan), its own traditions, its own attitude to bullfighting (bluntly negative), its own modernist architectural masterpieces, its own neverending construction project (the Sagrada Família), and many other things of its own, something most of the locals do not hesitate to declare openly by hanging the Catalan flag on every balcony, thus demonstrating their own importance and independence.
—Salfetki, July 23, 2017
What is this inveterate world traveler on about?
Do Petersburgers have a bluntly negative attitude to bullfighting? Is there bullfighting in Petersburg? (No.)
Do they hang the offical Petersburg or Ingrian flags on their balconies? Do they even hang the Russian flag on their balconies? Do they feel independent from the rest of Russia? (For the most part, no.)
What neverending construction project does Salfetki have in mind?
Maybe there was something to the Soviet policy of keeping the vast majority of its extraordinarily happy socialist subjects locked up inside the country’s endless expanses, because now that Russians (with money) are free to travel the world, especially Europe, all they can see and want to see is either social collapse and rampant Islamization (the first of which they signally fail to notice at home, as they also fail to notice Russia’s rather large NATIVE Muslim population) or a different version of the Motherland, as in this woebegone travelogue.
Salfetki’s sexy girlfriend on the streets of Barcelona (or is it Petersburg?)—sporting a Fjällräven knapsack, of course.
It is true there are two languages in Petersburg (and the rest of urbanized Russia, as far as I know), although the second language does not have its own press per se. It is more of a patois, like the one spoken by Alex and his pals in A Clockwork Orange. You encounter truckloads of it on social media and trendy websites like The Village (whose blatantly English moniker is hardly accidental).
You also see a lot of it on the streets, as I did yesterday.
In Petersburg patois, the sign reads, “Novy Chiken Gurme Ekzotik.” This translates into English as “New Chicken Gourmet Exotic.” TRR
Photos by Salfetki and the Russian Reader