Snow, ice, and misery. Renewing Russian Misery Tourism (c)

Snow if soft and fluffy and, if you are well dressed and have tea with a bit of brandy in your belly, snow is warm. Here, in Lapland, it is ice rather than snow. Snowflakes, if you look at them closely, are small needles here. For the last week, sitting in a camper on a huge parking lot that could accommodate 30 times all the cars in Luvenga, I’ve been trying to think strategically. What can I an offer to humanity for which the latter would spare a few dollars or rubles? No manual skills worth much on the market, and there isn’t much of a market here anyway. For the last nearly 20 years I’ve been looking after foreign travellers to Russia. I’ve also been teaching English, which is not exact in demand in Kandalaksha, so scrap English. Back to foreign travellers. They used to come here in the 90s to see “history in the making”, and there were reasons to believe that, for a change, the Russian part of humanity was smartening up. Russia itself was an attraction, and I lived off it happily. That’s no longer the case. What can I entice them here with? Realistically, nothing. The notorious natural beauty is an exaggeration. Nice photos can be made but seeing smokestacks and rubbish all over will more than negate these lakes and mountains. So I’m stuck in a cold ugly place, and need to carve a niche for myself in the travel market, the only market I know something about. What can I offer? Salmon? That’s what the region is famous for. But no, I’m not enough of a man to do these fishing tours. Running a hotel? Dozens are being build in anticipation of traveller influx. Nonsense. My thought keep on returning to the old Russian Misery Travel (c) concept. This place is consistently and reliable generates snow, ice, wind, droughts, floods, late gloomy fall as the dominant season, some bloodletting once in a while, and misery and even more misery. So back to Russian Misery Tourism (c)Winter is the Soul of Russia (c) sounds way too warm and cozy for what we have here.

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