I’m feeling pretty dog tired to be honest writing this. The five hour time difference, coupled with the fact I’ve not been sleeping too well, means I’m practically falling asleep in my Borscht. And going to bed early doesn’t always help either as last night I was up taking my pulse at 1am. I could hear the damn thing thumping away in my head and was convinced that something was up. I spent ages trying to figure out what it was I’d eaten that day and what ingredients might have caused me to be so wide awake. Most likely it was just the workload and the jet lag.
Of course the other big issue out here is the fact that everywhere is so bloody dry. The temperature outside today was around -23. There’s not a great deal of moisture kicking about at that temperature and add to that the continual air conditioning in the office and hotel and you’ve got a pretty unpleasant atmosphere in general. I’m half expecting to wake up mummified. Tomorrow is meant to be a little warmer before things then plummet headlong into the minus thirties this weekend.
So what’s the work like I hear you cry? Well it’s interesting. Of course besides being able to count to ten and saying ‘beer please’, my Russian is nonexistent. The clients English is equally sparse and so everything is being conducted through a translator. As long as you remember to take things nice and slow that works most of the time. When you enter into heated discussion, however, as we did around seven o’clock this evening, things can very quickly head south. Everyone forgets they can’t be understood and blasts off at a million words a minute. That was my cue to head to the bar and I think the translator had much the same idea. Tomorrow will be more of the same I’ve no doubt. We’re making progress but it can be extremely frustrating for both sides.
Food on the whole has been pretty good. Local delicacies include frozen raw fish dipped in salt and black pepper, mushrooms in…... well we never really did get to the bottom of what they were in, besides some form of pickling solution, and pigs tongue with a mustard sauce so strong I now have a sense of smell rivalling any canine on the planet. Lunch was awful…. sorry offal. I’d actually forgotten just how much Russians like their offal, so a menu consisting of liver, heart, tongue and tail is not uncommon. As with all things, trial and error is pretty much the only answer – that and a good supply of settlers.
Right dear reader (singular), I better head off to bed I guess. No doubt I’ll be up again in an hour or so for a rest. Till then – Das Vidania.