I will happily advise you and share general information about travelling, working, and living in Russia. I will scan Russian internet resources, ask local sources, make a call or two on your behalf.
Although I make a living mostly looking after ordinary travellers, my true value is in my ability to act as your eyes and years, hands and feet, and even an extension of your brain. Information searches and scouting beyond the obvious is where you can get the biggest bang for the buck from me. Some examples: locating scenery and personages for film makers, industry information, or even assistance to Russian bride seekers. Talk to me if you need an extension of yourself in this region.
One is restoring a site out of fragments and an old backup copy I wisely held, contrary to instructions, in anticipation of my client
freaking out changing their (gender-neutral pronoun used on purpose, contrary to my usual style) mind. I confess I am almost proud of myself for being able to think ahead even of greater minds who hire me. A simple job, just moving massives of data around, but I’m adding it to the list as an illustration of how I relate to clients, not of my technical competence.
An appropriate end of December exercise may be to sum up the results of this year, my fourth one in Kandalaksha.
Making a living remains the number one issue. On that front I’m pleased to note that, after three years here, I seem to have achieved a certain popularity as an English tutor, and have just as many clients – mostly from among the local kids – as I need, three or four one hour lessons on an average day, exactly as much as I can comfortably handle.
As far as providing services to travelers and those who have an interest in Russia but can’t be here, several projects completed in 2017 come to mind.
Rain, melting snow, and wind – we were treated to the classic late fall weather last night. The ugliest it has been in a long time. Most definitely this is not the time of year to travel to Kandalaksha.
But I make a living off you travellers, thus the late fall special on all of my services in an effort to entice you here: 50% off, or $12.50/hour and I’m yours to act as a guide, driver or translator.
Or, if you have business here but can’t attend the place in person, I can be your errand boy. Information gathering of any sort, people and grave searches, press reviews, whatever. It’s like having your feet and eyes and hands, and even a part of your brain here.
The annoying thing is that there is no direct link, either by bus or railroad, between Kandalaksha and Zapolarny. You’ll have to travel through Murmansk. But it turned out easier than anticipated.
To get to Murmansk fast and cheap hop on a minibus that leaves at 5:30 am and 6:30 am off the train station parking lot. To reserve a seat call 8 911 349 9000. The trip will take about 4 hours and as of the moment, it costs 700 roubles ($12US). The train is slightly slower and considerably more expensive ($20-35) but there are several during the day. See tutu.ru for the train schedule.
Another option of getting to Murmansk is by arranging a ride through blablacar.ru. My first experience with the system was highly positive. Lots of traffic between Kandalaksha and Murmansk, and the “standard” cost is 500 roubles (under $10) per passenger.
Yes, I can be hired as a guide, a driver, an interpreter, or an agent of any sort (market research, sourcing, location/people/grave/whatever search) from my return to Kuzomen expected around the middle of August till the end of the month for HALF PRICE, i.e. $12.50/hour, with the use of the vehicle also halved to 20 cents/kilometer. A rare opportunity to get me cheap while helping me to revive my stagnating business.
Here are some photos from the recent trip to the tundra hills over the village of Kolvitsa, thanks to two Finnish travelers I took there. During a good half a day in the hills we met no one and saw not a single piece of trash. I think I’m starting to understand what draws people up there.