Thursday, November 29, 2007

In Which I Try to Remember How Much Fun I Had

Nothing witty today. Nothing cynical. Nothing even very interesting. I am a firm believer that bad experiences make the best blog entries. And what follows was not bad at all, other than the Sugar-Free Red Bull I drank in order to help me stay awake. Nasty stuff.

Saturday night was the Bal des Fous: what started as a French party and sort of got out of hand and now is in its third year. I never went to the earlier ones, even though I knew the organizers, because I thought it just wasn't the event for me. I'm too old. It lasts until 5:00 a.m. In previous years it was held at Cerveny Kamen, a very cool castle about 20 miles out of town. They had buses, but I was sure I would get there and about 1:30 in the morning just be DONE and have to sit around and wait. Further, it's a costume ball! The death knell!

But last spring it came up at a French dinner. My companions were shocked, shocked I tell you, that I had given it a miss on purpose. "You MUST come!" they implored. "It is the social event of the season!"

Now with all due respect to this particular couple, they are not young party animals. They are lovely, funny, attractive people my age. But if parents my age could enjoy the Bal des Fous, then I was going to go.

This year they moved the venue to PKO, a cultural center just a few hundred meters from the center of Bratislava. I could conceivably walk home from there. The Spouse, who had no interest, offered to babysit for me. I had my dress designer create something for me to wear.

Now things have had a way of getting sort of chaotic these past few weeks as we prepare to move to Moscow. And so last Thursday when the Spouse revealed he would have to stay in Moscow through Sunday night, I panicked. There was a second big event in town on the same night, and I was sure my regular babysitter would be booked.

And she was.

But I was able to find friends to take the children overnight. After a few hours of frantic phoning all was resolved.

I went over with my American neighbor and her Slovak husband (he's one of the Five Good Looking Slovak Men). By the time I got to her house and we had a few cocktails, we forgot what we were wearing. When we walked out of the house to the taxi, the driver started laughing. This sort of event is not very common in Bratislava, and all the taxi drivers were abuzz, wondering what these crazy foreigners were doing.

The other funny thing was that we were not the only event at PKO that night. On the other side of the complex was someone's corporate event. They all stood around in their suits in the main foyer near the coat check, looking wistfully at us in our costumes. Clearly, we were at the better event.

As I walked in, I got an SMS from my Russian girlfriend: "Why are you not at the French party?" Ah, but I was! And so were lots and lots of people I knew.

Next thing I knew, I looked at my watch and it was 2:00 a.m. I danced some more and when I checked the time again, it was 4:00 a.m. Time to go home.

Here is a picture of me earlier in the evening:

This is my fabulous Russian girlfriend, an entertaining Brit from B'lava, and me a while later. I got rid of the headscarf. It was making me sweat.

And here is a link to some pictures. I don't know who took these and clearly they focused on their friends, but you get an idea of the level of merriment and the quality of the costumes.

If you're a sucker for more punishment (isn't this like sitting through someone's home movies?), here is another link.

It's sad to leave a place like Bratislava (did I really say that?!) when you get to go to parties like this with so many fun and wonderful people. I have to believe that by the time I've lived in Moscow seven years, I will have had similar fun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the bal de fous is a wonderful experience (it was my 2nd time)...message to the author : great telling talent:) and all the best in Moscow

10:32 AM  

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