Now the more refined and/or less broad-minded amongst you may be aghast when seeing this picture, and I’ll admit that when I first walked into the place my immediate reaction was “ohmygod, no.”
It was by no means the worst place I’d seen (*), but I decided that after the polite amount of time I would make my excuses and leave…
But I have to say that after a few minutes I kinda changed my mind. The other girls in the flat were very friendly and were happy to practice their English on me (which until my Russian improves some more is pretty much a necessity). They had only moved in themselves the previous week, so were still busy cleaning the kitchen when I went to view it.
The location was great so I could have walked pretty much everywhere, and I figured I could fill the holes in the walls, give the room (and perhaps the whole place) a fresh lick of paint to hide the stains, and of course replace those curtains and burn the nets!… I only had one more night booked in the hotel, and was tempted to just move in the next day.
But I’d also been searching for apartments with a Russian girl from the ex-pat club (and possibly also her Spanish friend). She was being kicked out of her current place within a week and was really starting to panic, but we’d had no joy finding anything decent, she was away in Moscow for a few days, and I didn’t see us having any better luck on her return. Looking individually seemed the way to go, but she convinced me to view a place she’d already seen and really liked before making my final decision.
So farewell Soviet era grubbiness and 80s teenage boy charm. Farewell posters of Sam Fox, Army of Lovers and Stallone. Looking back at these pictures now I would almost have been very tempted not to paint, or at least to have left one wall as a shrine to the room’s former glory, but alas it isn’t to be… And to be honest, I’m sure anyone who comes to visit me will probably be (not too secretly) very pleased by that.
* That award went to a flat I’d have been sharing with a toothless artist who spoke no English. It was half an hour or more walk to the centre, smelt awful, had barely a kitchen, a tiny bathroom with pink suite, and ‘my room’ had no furniture other than a mattress in one corner.