White nights over Siberia

June 2013. Midnight. “Can you let me in?” I yelled at the man behind the door. He murmured something in Russian. “Why doesn’t he open the door?” I wondered. I tried to unlock the door again with my key and it still wouldn’t budge. I knocked harder, and the man’s voice grew more belligerent. It …

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The Chatters Club

May 2013. A saxophone wailed Autumn in New York over loudspeakers along prospekt Mira. The lukewarm cup of latte from the Cinnabon proved useless against the chill that permeated the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk that evening. KFC. Subway. This Asiatic Russian city along the Yenisey River was clearly on the move. The city center teemed …

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Impressions of Russia

June 2013. Its impact on me was puzzling at first. Claude Monet’s The Poppy Field was irresistible. The short brush strokes made the red poppies move with the wind. The various hues of red stood out against the dark green trees and dull blue hills that receded in the background, lending the right perspective. Its …

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The provodnitsa from hell

May 2013. Bright Siberian daylight filtered through the window as I laid on the upper bunk of my compartment. The train would be approaching Khabarovsk within the hour. "How early should I fold my bed linens and turn it in?" I wondered. "Would thirty minutes before arrival be good enough to avoid the ire of …

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Off the Trans-Siberian

May 2013.  It had been a trying time on the trans-Siberian since I resumed my journey from Krasnoyarsk. The last 24 hours were mostly spent in my kupe, munching on chips and cookies bought at various stations along the way. Nothing but borscht was served in the dining car. My compartment-mate, Sergei, had kept to …

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