Friday, May 20, 2011

Hey, It's Good to be Back Home Again

John Denver knew whereof he sang.  Three weeks and three days between sleeping in our own bed is a long time.  Tanya says we must be getting old.

The trip home was uneventful.  Valerie and Slavik drove us to Krasnoyarsk so we didn't have to ride the bus after all.  Transaero is strict about over weight baggage.  44 kg and we were allowed 40.  Being trusting fools we went and paid the excess charges while our bags sailed on through.  $35.  For 4 kg.  The maddening part was that 1.5 kg was water Tanya packed for the train and 0.5 kg was a bottle of local beer that Valerie snuck into our suitcase for Roman. We could have bought real champagne for $35.

I had a D seat instead of a C seat in the old 737  between Krasnoyarsk and Moscow which meant no where to straighten my right leg.  So I had to get out of my seat and stand every few minutes.  I hate flying.  Some people can work on airplanes.  I just try to survive.  It would be a pleasure if I could afford business class or if they auctioned off the emergency exit seats.

We got to Moscow, took the Metro to our train station, found our platform and train and collapsed onto our bunks.  The rock hard train bunks felt like feather beds we were so tired. There are two main types of sleeping cars - Coupe which is four bunks to a compartment with an end wall and sliding door and Open car which is four bunks to a compartment but no end wall and two more bunks across the aisle.  We prefer Open as they are less stuffy and I can stick my feet out the end of the bed into the aisle. 

Murrmurrs has just blogged about nocturnal emissions and apparently I gassed the entire passenger list in our car during the night.  At least Tanya blamed me.  I was asleep so pleaded innocent. It could have been worse - we could have been in the closed Coupe.

Clearing immigration leaving Russia was no problem.  They didn't even ask for my OVIR document from Khakasia.  Of course, if I hadn't had it...  And clearing Ukrainian customs and immigration was even easier.

We got to Dnipropetrovsk at 8:00 am and grabbed a mini-bus home.  We were inside the house by 11:30 and swore never to leave it again...until next time. 

The dogs were relatively glad to see me though they had not lacked for attention.  Roman had even given them a bath.

Kuchma heard us and came running across the yard.  He must have had a good scrap while we were away.  A nickle size patch of hide and hair was missing from his left cheek and his right ear was punctured in a dozen places and had no hair or hide around the base. Didn't seem to bother him though. We learned he had stolen one of the neighbour's baby rabbits for lunch while we were away.  Our dogs steal his chickens and our cat steals his rabbits.  Not good neighbourliness, is it?

We were amazed at how Tanya's flowers had grown.  They needed work and Tanya of course went into panic mode.  She was up at 5:30 this morning and out watering by 6:00.  Didn't stop for anything but cold water until supper time. Entire flower garden watered, weeded, clipped, pruned and transplanted.  Tomorrow it is the vegetable garden that gets it.

Our car battery was dead.  No surprise after sitting for three weeks.  It died after sitting one week in Crimea last year.  Yuri and Katya who looked after our place while we were away (along with Roman and Lena) came for supper tonight.  He was going to take the battery out and take it home to charge up.  Who knew a Kia battery could be impossible to remove.  Must be a secret formula.  Yuri went home and brought back what appeared to be a WWII vintage charger, about the size of a small fridge. Needed an engineering degree to operate it certainly.  But it worked.  30 minutes and the Kia fired up like nothing had ever happened.

I spent today catching up on emails and other backlogged paperwork.  Tomorrow I have to work on a business plan that needs finishing shortly.


  1. I'm glad you're back home safe and that Tanya's busy with her garden.

    I miss you, Tanya, your family, your dogs, your cat, your place, your gardens, the cherries, Marianovka, and even Zhovte Volte so much these days. It's almost a year since I was there, so I miss you all!

  2. It is good to be home after a trip away for a while. We are just packing up to weekend to leave for the US on Monday. I like traveling by van since we can go at our own schedule and stop when and where we want. But I am sure after 2 weeks we will be glad to be back in pour own bed.

  3. Oops I should proofread for typos before posting.

  4. Sounds like a memorable adventure, including all the traveling. The scale of traveling, the distances in that part of the world are so much greater, it must be exhausting. Even on a smaller scale, I know the "good to be home again" feeling.

  5. I asked a girl in Moscow once where she lived (she was from out of the city and we were both trying to figure out the Metro). She said not far. Only four hours by train. Only a Russian could say it and only a Canadian could understand it.
    The distances in Russia truly are incredible.


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