In a desperate search for an alternative to stinky watery something that passes for onions in this city I dropped by the Preobrazhensky farmers market expecting to find it its place yet another shopping center. To my surprise and delight the market is still there, complete with babushkas in head scarves, brutal butchers with typical Tambov and Lipetsk faces, Abkhazians in flat “airfield” hats, worn-out shoppers pulling two-wheeled carts through sludge, and other “rynok” characters and scenes. Huge. Cheap. Straight from the 90s. Definitely deserves a place of honour on my list of places to shop.
Be warned about aggressive sellers with their shrill voices. A bit of overwhelming till you get used to it. A price to pay – and a part of – authenticity.
And yes, I did find a Tambov babushka with compact dry onions, and am presently going through them in my attempt to subdues one of these Moscow early winter maladies that fall somewhere between common cold, flue, and blues.
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