Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sam in Siberia

For those of you interested in keeping up to date with Sam's latest location on his trek around the world, he's reached the Siberian town of Yekaterinburg now. Extract from his blog, below, and the full, rather fascinating, post is here. Hello Sam, if you're reading this! We miss you.

"I ordered a pint of Harp, and tried to make faltering conversation in Russian with the unimpressed barman. I looked hopefully over at a lively group of 20-somethings at the other end of the bar, immersed in their own quick Russian conversations. I was about the leave, and was asking the barman to point out tourist sights on my map, when one of the group overheard our conversation, and came over to help translate. She spoke excellent English, and was soon joined by her equally eloquent friend. Almost before I knew it I was welcomed into their group, introductions made, the two English speakers translating my answers to their multitudinous questions for their less English speaking friends.

After a quick introduction to Russian hitchhiking, I was taken to one of their friend's small neat flat, some way from the town centre, where they prepared a midnight feast of fresh sushi, and was introduced to Ukrainian chili vodka. All of them were incredibly friendly, with even the least able at English commanding that their friends translate their questions, and waiting patiently for the translation of my no-doubt tedious answers. We made toasts in the traditional Russian way, laughed, ate, and drank copiously. The night spun into a blur, but at some point my phone number was given out, with a dedicated drunken invitation to take me to visit important sights in the morning. I humbly accepted, whilst insisting that I not take up any more of their kindly given hospitality, and fully expecting that the offer be tactfully forgotten in the harsh glare of morning."
No chance of that - I think the thing that appeals to me most about travelling, despite an exhilaration at the thought of all that geography and hidden history, is the thought of these inspiring encounters. Go to Sam's blog for the rest.

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