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Don’t Go to the Beach (Without Reading This First)! Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Russian for beginners, Traditions

What is «лето» [summer] without spending some time «на пляже» [at a beach]? Have you done it yet? If not, then what are you waiting for; the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) is almost over. As the saying goes, «ноги в руки и вперёд!» [get to it!] Because next thing you know, it will be «зима катит в глаза» [winter sweeps in] (if you know where this line is from, leave a comment).

I am happy to report that for once «я последовала своему собственному совету» [I took my own advice] and went to the beach for a few days, hence my «отсутствие» [absence] from the blog last week. So this is going to be another «о личном» [personal] post. But I promise lots of vocabulary.

While the length of Russia’s coastline is nearly twice the length of its land boundaries, much of it lays «за полярным кругом» [above Arctic Circle]. Growing up, «поездка на пляж» [a beach trip] meant a quick ride across Volga on «паром» [a ferry] or «ракета» [Raketa]. «Ракета» wasn’t exactly a real rocket, but a type of a «судно на подводных крыльях» [hydrofoil boat].

«Поездка на море» [A trip to the sea] was a luxury for most since it was difficult to obtain «путевка в санаторий» [a voucher for a stay at a resort]. But once, when I was little, we did go «на Чёрное море» [to the Black Sea] albeit as «дикари» [lit. savages]. The phrase «отдых дикарём» really means a DIY sort of vacation booked without a travel agent.

Ah, «счастливое детство» [happy childhood], when travelling 900 miles nonstop in «Запорожец» [Zaporozhets, a cheap Soviet subcompact car with a 27hp engine] seemed fun and warm Pepsi, bought at a market in «Сухуми» [Sukhumi, nowadays the capital of the Abkhazia region], tasted delicious…

But enough reminiscing. So what do you do when you go on a sea-side vacation? Do you sleep «до полудня» [until noon] or do you get up early to watch «восход солнца» [sunrise]? What do you prefer – «прогулки по пляжу» [walks on the beach] or «лежать и загорать» [laying down and sunning yourself]? Are you a fan of «галечный пляж» [shingle beach] or «песчаный пляж» [sandy beach]?

I guess when you are «отдыхаете на море» [on a seaside vacation], it’s too easy to fall into a routine of «утром – пляж, а вечером – клуб» [beach in the morning, club in the evening], unless you have young kids, in which case it becomes «утром – пляж, днем – ответы на вопрос «когда снова на пляж», вечером – снова пляж» [beach in the morning, answering “when are we going to the beach again” question in the afternoon, beach again in the evening]. But this is «скучно и однообразно» [boring and monotonous].

Fortunately, most beaches, even the river and lake ones, offer some exciting diversions – «поездки на гидроциклах» [jet skiing], «сноркелинг» [snorkeling], «парасейлинг» [parasail], not to mention «рыбалка» [fishing].

Besides, there’s always an option of «осмотр местных достопримечательностей» [touring local places of interest]. On my last trip I did just that since there was «маяк» [a lighthouse] nearby and a beautiful wetlands «заповедник» [nature preserve].

Finally, no trip to a beach (or anywhere else for that matter) is complete without some «сувениры» [souvenirs] or «цацки» [knickknacks also known as tchotchke]. In case you’re wondering, it’s the “tchotchke” that was borrowed from «цацки», not the other way around.

By the way, one of the delightfully interesting Russian words is «цацкаться» [to mollycoddle]. This can be applied to both animate and inanimate objects as in:

«Мужик он никудышный и другая бы его уже давно бросила, а Валя всё цацкается с ним» [He’s pretty worthless and any other woman would’ve dumped him long ago, but Valya is still mollycoddling him]

«Да что ты всё цацкаешься со своим изобретением, тоже мне Томас Эдисон!» [Why are you still fiddling with your invention, some kind of Thomas Edison you are!]

When it comes to «цацки» and «сувениры» I usually get «украшение на ёлку» [an ornament for a Christmas tree], a book of local stories and a few «ракушки» [shells] for my collection. What do you usually get «на память о поездке» [to remember the trip by]?

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  1. Brett Naugher:

    I got my first trip back to the beach of the Gulf Coast where I grew up sailing racing catamarans and yachts. I am planning on re-fitting my landing craft, a aluminum 14′ boat to run up and down the surf line, it is unique to have a speed boat in the surf. I found this fun/utility after spending so many years sailing Hobie Cats from the beachs. I have a 1980 Mercury 10 hp motor that has been stored for 30 years and I am so happy to have just tank tested the “New” engine:). I also am re-building a 22′ sailboat and I have a diesel marine generator from a sailing yacht and I am applying it to the small cabin cruiser to make ocean crossings with plenty of electricty. The diesel engine will make the difference in staying for months in the islands non-stop. It is a 10 hp Kuboto (Apollo Generator) that we restored. The lights are all being converted to LED (low voltage) for sailing through the night non-stop for 14 days to cross the Gulf of Mexico.

    I am so happy to announce that I had marked some silver deposits in a reef that I dived on and I am just planning a return trip.

    I have 4 friends from Russia and they all know me,,,,,the New World Order—-Omnijet. I hope that the composites program will help everything and the sailing vessels will be developed,,,and any aircraft:)

  2. Cássio:

    Я нашел зто в интернете:

    Попрыгунья Стрекоза
    Лето красное пропела;
    Оглянуться не успела,
    Как зима катит в глаза.
    Помертвело чисто поле:
    Нет уж дней тех светлых боле,
    Как под каждым ей листком
    Был готов и стол, и дом.
    Все прошло: с зимой холодной
    Нужда, голод настает;
    Стрекоза уж не поет:
    И кому же в ум пойдет
    На желудок петь голодный!
    Злой тоской удручена,
    К муравью ползет она:
    “Не оставь меня, кум милой!
    Дай ты мне собраться с силой
    И до вешних только дней
    Прокорми и обогрей!”-
    Говорит ей Муравей…
    “До того ль, голубчик было?
    В мягких муравах у нас
    Песни, резвость всякий час,
    Так, что голову вскружило”.-
    “А, так ты.”-“Я без души
    Лето целое все пела”.-
    “Ты все пела? Это дело:
    Так поди же попляши!”

    Я уже знал эту басню, но по-португальcки.

  3. Cássio:

    А что “Помертвело” означает? Я пробовал перевести стихи, но давно не занимаюсь русским языком. Не можете ли вы мне (и всем читателям вашого блога) опять помочь?

  4. yelena:

    Cassio, I was thinking of how best to explain this word. It should really be considered as part of the entire phrase “помертвело чисто поле”. Any word-for-word translation would sound very weird here because it’s “образное выражение” [vivid expression]. It paints a picture of a field that was emptied of life – the grain was harvested, the grasses and flowers withered, the animals hid in their burrows, even the birds flew away for the winter. Hope this helps.