A slightly wrinkled but well-preserved Chinese woman with a whitened face, her hair very straightly parted and tied into a tight knot, greeted the guests and with a barely noticeable nod sent the two teenagers to wordlessly fill the guests’ cups with weak green tea. The newcomers joined all those gathered at the table and sat down on the carmine cushions breathing in the smell of opium. Everyone was observing the four players smoothly rearranging and removing the tiles with mysterious signs hand‑painted on them. The game of mahjong was intense.
At the same time, the guests on the upper floor were having a very different and more disrobed type of pleasure, the entrance to which was guarded by an equally whitened, though more wrinkled Chinese lady sitting between the kitchen and the corridor with her bowl of noodle soup and slurping silently, ignoring the excited voices coming from over the mahjong table. The players, on the other hand, were ignoring the excited voices coming from the upper floor.
Today it was pointed out that I have bad table manners. I feel silly.
You shouldn’t stab your food with chopsticks, that I know and follow. You should keep some leftovers on your plate, otherwise the host will worry there wasn’t enough, that I know and (usually) follow. You should make sounds while consuming, the louder, the better compliment for the chef, that I know. But I don’t follow, and there’s the rub.
Russia stretched its arms and lay comfortably on 12 time zones. When the time is right, the fireworks flash from the right to the left and one may chase the New Year by train and party on for 12 hours. Cool?
Wait – it gets better!
Even though Kyrgyzstan didn’t really elbow its way, you can celebrate the beginning of New Year much longer than in Russia! How? – you’ll certainly ask. But here I come with the answer!
Is your life a pursuit for wealth? Are you excited by the idea of taking a bath in a swimming pool filled with banknotes? Or maybe just a humble shopping spree with a briefcase full of money? This is a country made for you. Nowhere else can you become a millionaire so quickly.
– We Iranians, we live a simple and modest life. – Ali said turning left to the luxury apartment district. I’m sorry, did I say “apartment”? I meant pension houses ready to accommodate four generations of a large family.
A half of living room no. 6 in one of the many Shah’s palaces. Living rooms in private homes look exactly the same.