Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Wikileaks cable: “Every so often someone would shower the dancers with money…”
by Larry Geller
Check out this awesome diplomatic cable from today’s Wikileaks dump. It’s a wonderful description of a wedding from the Moscow Embassy. A snip:
After a couple of hours Dalgatâ€™s convoy returned with Aida, horns honking. Dalgat and Aida got out of the Rolls and were serenaded into the hall, and into the Makhachev family, by a boysâ€™ chorus lining both sides of the red carpet, dressed in costumes aping medieval Dagestani armor with little shields and swords. The coupleâ€™s entry was the signal for the emcee to roll into high gear, and after a few toasts the Piter â€œgypsiesâ€ began their performance. (The next day one of Gadzhiâ€™s houseguests sneered, â€œSome gypsies! The bandleader was certainly Jewish, and the rest of them were blonde.â€ There was some truth to this, but at least the two dancing girls appeared to be Roma.) Â¶14. (C) As the bands played, the marriageable girls came out to dance the lezginka in what looked like a slowly revolving conga line while the boys sat together at tables staring intently. The boys were all in white shirts and black slacks, while the girls wore a wide variety of multicolored but fashionable cocktail dresses. Every so often someone would shower the dancers with money -- there were some thousand ruble notes but the currency of choice was the U.S. hundred dollar bill. The floor was covered with them; young children would scoop the money up to distribute among the dancers. Â¶15. (C) Gadzhi was locked into his role as host. He greeted every guest personally as they entered the hall -- failure to do so would cause great insult -- and later moved constantly from table to table drinking toasts with everyone. The 120 toasts he estimated he drank would have killed anyone, hardened drinker or not, but Gadzhi had his Afghan waiter Khan following him around to pour his drinks from a special vodka bottle containing water. Still, he was much the worse for wear by eveningâ€™s end. At one point we caught up with him dancing with two scantily clad Russian women who looked far from home.