I have a day off tomorrow, so no lessons to plan tonight.  And I finished early evening, so I still had time to do something.  I usually walk home from Voroshilovskiy and pass a mall, and I decided to pop into the Okey supermarket for some essentials (Bacon flavoured Lays).

And afterwards I though, let’s check this mall out.  So I had a little walk around.

The ground floor (and corners in the upper floors) were food shops, there was a pizza restaurant, a couple of diners and cafes.  There was a place called Pizza Cup that sold “pizza cup” which is pizza in a cup – it looks as disgusting as it sounds.  And there was an identical looking product called Bubble Waffle.  There were a couple of bakeries which looked nice, though.

I was hoping to find a small electrical goods shop where I could maybe buy a pop-up toaster and revolutionise my breakfast options, but there was nothing remotely similar, the closest were a couple of phone shops.  Most of the shops were clothes shops – lots of women’s fashions but several catering to the men too.  There was a sports clothes shop (more Lillywhites than Sports Direct), and shops for shoes for men, women and children.  There were three shops for women’s underwear.  I wandered through a fashion shop called Gloria Jeans (do we have that in the UK?) – it was all white and shiny with lots of mirrors.  The only shop I definitely recognised from the UK was Xara.

And then on the second floor I found a bookshop – like Waterstones it had other products too, stationary, games, a few sweets.  I found a Foreign Language section and was amused to spot an English copy of War and Peace.  There was a healthy mix of classic literature and Harry Potter.  In the stationary section I was delighted to find a pack of cardboard file dividers – the supermarkets don’t have these and I really had to hunt through racks of plastic folders and wallets to find them.  This means I can start organising my materials a bit more efficiently than the current “pile on the floor” system.

On the third floor I found a Russian cinema, and had fun trying to translate the names of the films.  I could have watched Ben Hur, Jason Bourne or Bridget Jones 3.  Outside there was a little fun train (engine + 2 carriages) tootling around the shops with a disinterested child passenger, and an even more disinterested driver.  I don’t think you get that in Bluewater!

In fact there was a fully fleshed out children’s play area with nice cushioned seats for their parents, babushkas and dadas.  I saw one really elderly looking man having great fun throwing a ball to a toddler while Mama watched on.

What else did I see?  They had little stalls in the corridors, like in UK shopping centres, one of these had superhero paraphernalia and I was proud to spot a Doctor Who TARDIS satchel amongst the products.

I made a mental note of a couple of shops where I might be able to get warm clothes and durable shoes, and I am sure I will be returning to the bookshop for more inspiration.  My quest for a toaster continues (they sell sliced bread so I am sure such things must exist here!).

This is just one of many malls in Volgograd – I have passed a couple of other big ones on the tram.  The ones near me – Pyramid and Superman don’t have the same range of shops (though Superman’s market probably has a wider ranger of products) so I may need to explore further afield to find the things I need.

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