Living In Siberia– Lenin’s Revenge
In 1999, I transferred to Chita, a city in Siberia, Russia to teach for a year. After seven days of airplanes, trains and, well, more trains, I was all set to experience Chita in all its splendor.
Day 1– Lenin’s Revenge
Riding on a train for three plus days does odd things to your equilibrium. You tend to establish a natural compensation for the swaying. Unfortunately, your body does not just snap back when you finally get on solid ground. As I stepped off the train, I did this sort of forward, sort of sideway shuffle. I can only image I must of looked like I had been investigating the better brands of Russian vodka. On top of this, I hadn’t had a shower for 3 days. Things rapidly became worse.
Waiting for Grae, a fellow American, on the train platform and me were our hosts Natasha, Oleg, Dima and a few others. They remained in formal wear. They didn’t smell. In retrospect, I need to give them an extraordinary amount of credit. Upon seeing us, they continued to smile, didn’t roll their eyes and no one got their nose. Heck, I was holding my own nose. Greetings were made and off we went to assured food and showers.
Being a San Diego local, I had often cautioned from town buddies about “Montezuma’s Vengeance” if they consumed water when going to Mexico. There isn’t anything wrong with the water. It just has various bugs than ours. You would think I would be wise enough to follow my own guidance. [Do not say it.] Yep, I was struggling with “Lenin’s Vengeance” by the early afternoon of the first day. My hosts were kind sufficient to leave me in peace once they discovered my distress. If only I had actually found out the Russian word for “Pepto!”
As appears to occur all to typically, I had made a less than excellent impression! Exactly what the heck, I was only going to be residing in Chita for a year.