I can meet you at the train station, help you check into a hotel, recommend a place to eat, suggest places to visit, take you there, keep you from getting lost, and in every other way make you stay in Kandalaksha pleasant and comfortable. All totally free if you speak English to me and encourage me to do the same.
I’ve stumbled on a treasure trove collection of popular Soviet-era as well as some modern cult movies with English translations/subtitles. Quotes from these have made it into everyday language, and memes form became a part of the popular mental set.
A great resource if you want to understand the subtleties of how an average modern Russian feels and thinks.
TV-21 is a Murmansk news channel. Scroll to near the bottom of tv21.ru/news/?newsid=34292 to see a short film on Luvenga, 14km south-east from Kandalaksha. The film is in Russian. Its main point is that of all places the author had seen Luvenga is the only one where the locals would not prefer to be elsewhere. I’d like to remark, based on my own observations, that life satisfaction here, in southern Kola, seems to be higher than anywhere else I’ve observed in Russia. I will even venture to offer an explanation. In central Russia, during most of its history, escape was an ever-present option, thus evolutionary pressure for malcontents. Here at nearly the end of the world, on the other hand, people had to learn to like what they had, or else. Malcontents got weeded out and got replaced by a breed of happy campers.
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Murmansk, -20C (-4F). The poin is to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, thus the icehole in the shape of a cross, or marked by a cross. The practice seems to be frowned at by the church but its popularity is on the rise. This year the authorities banned ice bathing in Kandalaksha because, it was said, one foot of ice wasn’t enough to make it safe. In Moscow on the other hand they cut holes all over and even installed a huge barrel in the middle of the Red Square.
Perhaps I’ve been one of these grumpy ever-critical Russians too much and too long. To make up let me open a new Russophilia category for things that I actually like about this place and its inhabitants. Done, here.
The first entry will be an ordinary liquor and beer store at Pervomayskaya 57 in Kandalaksha that put one plastic table in the corner of the hall, dubbed itslef a cafe, and thus circumvented the ban on boose sale after 9pm. Being a cafe they will have to insist on opening the bottle on the premises but no one will force you to stay there till done.