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Sveta in Chelyabinsk.  [3 kb]


      July 11, 2000. On our way to Chelyabinsk, Svetlana and I took the overnight train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, and here we are in Red Square. While Svetlana was dickering with a babushka who wanted to sell me a decorative hand-painted egg, a Japanese tourist accosted me and got me to photograph him and his friends. You can see most of his friends still in the background. After I took their photo, I got him to take this one of Svetochka and me.

Svetlana and I on Red Square, Moscow.  [25 kb]

Red Square, Moscow.  [11 kb]

      This photo, also on Red Square, was taken by Sveta a few minutes earlier. We arrived in Moscow around eight in the morning, and our train to Chelyabinsk and the southern Urals left that evening, so we had a little time for sightseeing. We took a bus tour of the city, had lunch at a bistro, walked around Red Square a bit, saw the tomb of the unknown soldier with its honor guard and eternal flame. Svetlana showed me some sculptures taken from Pushkin's fairy tales.

      On our way back to our vokzal (train station) we met Svetlana's son, Sergey, a talented singer, who was staying with his grandmother in Nogynsk, a Moscow suburb, for a night or two. We met him at a different vokzal, where he was standing in an unmoving line in front of a ticket window. We stood in line with him for two hours, with no appreciable movement forward. That is still one of the national pastimes in Russia — standing in line.
      Sergey has a good command of english. better than Sveta, and he offered to translate any messages I might have for his mother. But by that time I was used to not talking— in fact, that has been the general way of things with me for most of my life — and I couldn't think of a thing I wanted to say. She and I had developed our own ways of communication, and maybe words didn't have too much to do with them.
      Sergey's english was very good, but when he asked, "What do you think of Gaming way?," I had to ask him to repeat. "Ernest Gamingway," he said, and then I remembered that in russian H often turns into G. In russian, the Hudson river is the Goodson.

Sveta and Sergey.  [14 kb]

Train to Chelyabinsk.  [15 kb] Sveta on Train to Yuzhniy Urals.  [17 kb]

      Here we are in our private compartment in the train to Chelyabinsk and the Yuzhniy (southern) Urals. A thirty-three hour trip that took us two time zones east of Moscow. At stops Sveta would go out onto the platform to buy bottled water, vegetables, salted fish, cherries, and zemlyaniki — the wild strawberries that seem to grow in great profusion everywhere in Russia.

Waiting in Chelyabinsk.  [39 kb]

      We arrived in Chelyabinsk around six in the morning — four Moscow time. Our bus for the 120-kilometer trip to the Sanatoriy Ural wasn't going to leave till almost ten. In the meantime we sat in the sunshine in this little park across from the vokzal, in the shadow of some sort of inspirational statue, maybe of a socialist worker reaching towards a golden tomorrow. On the plaza in front of us people were setting up canvas booths to sell clothes and other things. It seemed very pleasant to be sitting there in the sunshine, with such a sunny face beside me.

      By the time we got to the sanatorium I was dead to the world. I slept some in the afternoon, and in the evening we wandered around the grounds. The sanatorium is in a flat, sunny area with plenty of shallow lakes. It reminded me of Minnesota. The trees were birches (beryezoski) and pines. Svetlana loves the birch trees.       There were also swarms of mosquitoes (kamari). We kept them at bay with birch switches.

Birches at Ural sanatorium.  [18 kb]

The beach.  [31 kb]

      This is our second day (July 14) at the Ural Sanatorium — relaxing in the evening at the beach for a few minutes before going in to supper. The place reminded me of a midwestern spa. The people, who came mostly from Chelyabinsk, were uniformly friendly and lovely.

Sveta.  [21 kb] Sveta and me.  [19 kb]
By the lake in the evening. Even here in the southern Urals, the sun did not go down till after ten, and the sky stayed light for another hour or two. Many people stayed up dancing to Russian disco music, at the dance circle near the beach, till almost midnight.

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Copyright 2000 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 21 sep 2000.