The answer is "schmooze," at least some of the time. A Navy ship, the USS Chancellorsville, is here for the week, and being government-sponsored if not exactly government-employed, L and I were invited to a reception on deck for consulate people and important Russians (and also, incidentally, several of my students, who were serving as student-interpreters for the sailors). We both almost fainted with joy when we saw the:
1. Mozzarella sticks,
2. Chocolate chip cookies, and
3. Open bar,
although we lamented the fact that the ship didn't turn up in November or so, when we're REALLY missing all the unhealthy American food you can't get here. But hopefully the pint(s) of Guinness and multiple types of fried appetizers I sampled will hold me over until Christmas. I smuggled several cookies home in my purse. :)
Anyway, the sailors were all really drunk by the end (and some unfortunate guys who had had lunch on a Russian ship were drunk even at the beginning, having apparently ingested about a liter of vodka each). All I can say is that so far, Russian men are truly no match for American sailors in terms of sketchiness. Even the captain was drunk (and behaving in a very drunken manner)! But to their credit, most of them were really quite nice, and I even got a mini-tour of the ship. I just hope my poor students were able to resist their romantic advances - they (my students) don't do much to dispell the myth that all Russian women are blonde and beautiful, which is perhaps not an advantage in the company of sailors.