Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sunny Isles Beach

Over winter break I went with my family and my Russian tutor, who is Russian, to Sunny Isles Beach near Miami, which is known for its large population of Russians and Russian-Americans. My tutor goes there every year to stock up on her favorite Russian foods. It’s an area right by the beach with many high rise condominiums and the Trump Towers. Many of the Russians who live in the area are very rich, and own big condos or large mansions. I spent most of my time visiting a strip mall right outside the Trump Towers. This mall had primarily stores with Russian goods and services. There were several small grocery stores full of only Russian foods. Several of the clerks spoke only a few words of English. I also visited a Russian bookstore to see if there were any interesting Russian books I could purchase. I was expecting it to look around and handle the books like at a typical American bookstore. The woman running the shop did not speak English, but made it obvious that we should not touch anything. My Russian tutor’s children were touching the toys in the store, and the owner yelled at them in Russian. The restaurants had many foods from Eastern Europe. I had pelmeni and pierogi.

I was surprised during my trip to the strip mall, as it was very basic, yet I’ve never seen so many expensive cars in one parking lot. Although it wasn’t very impressive looking for such a rich neighborhood, it was still a center for socializing. I saw many Russians just hanging out outside grocery stores talking in Russian with their friends. Sometimes there would be people talking outside sitting at tables overlooking the parking lot. After a day of browsing Russian stores, eating Russian food and listening to the chatter of Russian, I felt as if I was in another country.

one of the shelves at the store with Russian food

Some Russian adds on the wall of the store

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