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A Russian Swim

You’re stuck in Moscow this summer but want to enjoy a good swim and bear a nice tan – загар [zagar] in September? Despite a large part of Russia not being surrounded by a sea, gulf or ocean, summer is traditionally the time to take a dip in a lake озеро [oziera] or river – река [rieka].

A number of makeshift sand beaches – песочные пляжи [pesochnye pliazhi] are erected, even in Moscow, on the shores of rivers and lakes. Granted, swimming – купание [cupanie] is theoretically forbidden – запрещено [zaprishcheno] in the city, but the heat – жара [zhara] makes heads spin and holiday gowers  – отдыхающие [atdikhayuchtchie] often don’t care about the pollution and take the opportunity to refresh themselves – освежиться [osvezhitsa]  and take a dip – окунуться [akunutsa].

You’re spending the day at the beach with friends? Check the weather – погода [pagoda] to avoid being drenched by a terrible summer storm – летняя гроза [lietnaya graza] which sometimes turns into a thunderstorm, called шквал [shkval] or hurricane [uragan].

It is common to bring food along for everyone, and to share everything on the spot: fruits – фрукты [frukty], water – вода [vada], beer – пиво [piva], roast chicken – курица-гриль [kuritsa-gril], tomatoes – помидоры [pamidori], cucumber – огурцы [agurtsy], etc. It is said that you should eat a tomato before going to tan/sunbathe – загорать [zagarat’] and straight away after to have a nice tan! Others prefer to dilute a bit of hypericum (St. John’s wort) – зверобой [zveraboï] in a glass of water. To each his own…If it is a crowded beach, sellers will offer you fresh beverages – холодные напитки [khalodnye napitki] and sometimes even skewers (kebabs) – шашлыки (shashlyki), and even ice creams – мороженое [marozhenaïe]!

A beach mat – пляжный коврик [pliazhny kovrik] to avoid sand on the towel – полотенце [palatentse], a swimsuit – плавки [plavki], for women it is called a bikini – плавки [plavki], a cap – кепка [kiepka] or a straw hat – соломенная шляпа [solomennaya shliapa] and sunscreen – масло от загара [masla at zagara].

During your swim, stay away from underwater vegetation, like algae водорослы [vodorosli] and waterlilies – кувшины [kouvshiny], because under water they are like creepers, and you can rapidly get stuck in them! The water of lakes and rivers is often brown and murky, this doesn’t mean it isn’t clean – чистая [Chistaya], it simply contains a lot of iron.

On some beaches, there are often beach volleyball nets – бич-волей [bitch-valley], so it could be useful to bring a ball – мяч [miach]. Sports enthusiasts will favor beaches that offer various activities like water skiing – водные лыжи [vodnye lyzhi] and jet skis – водный мотоцикл [vodny matatsykl].

One last piece of advice, do not leave your belongings unattended – без присмотра [biez prismotra] !

Armed with these useful phrases, you are now ready for the most exquisite Russian laze – праздность [prazdnost]!