Stress therapy for Alexandra

Yesterday drove through 250km of snow and blizzard on the insistent request of my mate, who apparently needed some variety to clear her head off the eider thoughts. If anybody does not know, she is intensely working on a book on the relationship between humans and eider ducks. Sometimes that results in brain overheat, thus the need for a cooling trip once in a while.

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Santa Claus in a bird cage

garages
There are few things more gloomy and depressing in this country than postapocalyptic style”garage coops”. Our car has been stuck in one of these, in Niva-3, an industrial outskirt of Kandalaksha, for the last two weeks for a welding job.

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Flu epidemic in Kandalaksha

fluActually, it is a country-wide thing. Schools get closed and people on the street wear masks.

Let me use this opportunity to share with the world my favourite anti-flu method.

First, it is tea with lemon, and hot peppers. Second, vodka, beer, and mulled wine, as much as you can take. Fresh shredded ginger root brew. Carbonated mineral water. Pour into yourself all of the stuff above and go to bed to sleep it off. The world will welcome the new you in two days.

The guest capacity of our apartment was tested last night

..by nine teenagers returning to St. Petersburg from the Marine Biology expedition to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve base in Luvenga. Girls slept on fold-out couches, two per each, and boys on the floor. Arrived at 9pm, left for St. Petersburg at 8am, with no complaints about discomfort from either guests or us the hosts.

You too are welcomed to accommodate yourself here at 1000 roubles ($15 at the current exchange rate) per person per night, which I believe is the lowest rate in town. Normal guest capacity is 2 persons though. More about accommodation in our Kandalaksha apartment >>

Back to Kandalaksha

murmansk-roadWe’ve returned from Murmansk, recovered from the trip, and life is back to normal. Seen four accidents on our way back..

Americans try drinking Russian-style, followed by typical chasers

Hope the following gets a chuckle out of you. Too bad “sniffing” it with a piece of brown bread was not included, the hard-core drinker style.

Moscow on Monday

gloomy-muscovitesThe collective face of the city is considerably gloomier than on the weekend.

But still no traffic jams of three years ago.

 

 

 

 
Another new impression is a large – huge – number of “for rent” signs on retail property, a sure sign of economic decline.

for-rent

Moscow – first impressions after 2+ years away

Irrived in Moscow yesterday at 11:35am. First impressions after being away for over two years:

(1) Neatness and cleanliness leaning towards glamour.

(2) Huge police presence.

(3) A conspicuous number of Muslim-dressed people seen on Moscow streets.

Muslim-in-Moscow

(4) The traffic situation appears to be less of a problem than three years ago although this impression may be misleading as I arrived on Saturday, when traffic is not always high.

(5) Lots of bicycles. The colour of the season is white. And folding kick scooters all over not seen at all in 2013 Moscow.

(6) Public bicycle rental is all over, both in the city center and in the outskirts.

bike-rental

bike-rental-points

Bike rental points are marked in green

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Greetings from Kuzomen

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The highlight of yesterday was eating a large salmon, washed down with two beers on my part, and a bottle of champaign for the two of us.

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Off to the Rybachy peninsula

P1100064We are off to the north end of the earth, to the Rybachy peninsula, for 7-10 days.

With some luck I’ll remain within reach by e-mail.