Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dark images of Russia

Laughter and sadness

Like the day before, nothing extraordinary happens today. I’m still in this compartment doing the same things with dad. We go to the restaurant for lunch, but then something new happens. There’s a man from Dagestan completely drunk. When he learns that we’re French, he talks to us about d’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas, Napoleon and Sarkozy. This man is in second class where men, women, and children are piled up in the carriages and where odors of fatigue, wait, desperation, and a certain poverty, mix with moments of joy and love. Going to the restaurant, we can smell the drinkers, smokers and dirty people. The face of the person preparing our food looks familiar to me. I observe him. That’s it, I know, he reminds me of my friend Pierre-René whom I haven’t seen in a long lime and would perhaps like to see again through Balthazar, my friend who lives in Spain and who sees Pierre-René often. We eat our Stroganov beef and go back to the compartment. The phone is ringing off the hook for work and I write. Dad imitates Harry in front of the camera and we have a good laugh. Harry was our translator in Inner Mongolia, and like every Chinese he chose an English name. But for a reason I don’t understand, he chose a name in which there’s an H and two Rs, letters that are unpronounceable for the Chinese. So, when he said his name it would sound like ALLI. I keep writing to keep up with my texts. Then, with dad, we stay in the compartment and wait to arrive to Astrakhan. To pass the time, we look out the window and see that we are passing from mountains to steppes and we’re getting closer to Europe. There is in this desert world a few human grains of sand that live in dented houses in a place that can barely be called a “village”. This place is filled with history. The indo-european civilization was born 15 000 years ago and eventually divided itself in two groups, the first went to actual India and the other towards actual Europe. That’s why we call it “indo-european.” These landscapes bring us closer to Astrakhan. A little later, going back to the carriage that was once full, I see that the second class is emptying as the stations go by. At each stop, old women come running with bags in their hands to sell small foods, to be able to bring something to eat to their families. We settle into the compartment and dad gets some rest while I listen to music. We call Webistan, the studio and I talk to my cousin Soheil who just got back from Italy. We stop at a station where the platform is cut in three rails and where the merchants shout. I observe and see a pregnant woman with a baby in her arms. Next to her is her daughter of about 13 who is also pregnant. I continue to walk to go buy ice cream like dad asked me to. On my way, I talk with two young Russians and I see that the also know Arshavin, the great Russian soccer player who is as well known as Cristiano Ronaldo. They pass me their Coca Cola, and then I go back to dad and I eat an ice cream, he eats two and also gives one to “mongolfiere” who is in actually Kazakh. When the train leaves, we go back to the compartment and I start to play chess and I lose. Then, after a few matches, I win. I talk to Mina, my grandmother, but I wasn’t able to speak to Titou and Djanan. It’s time to get ready for our arrival in Astrakhan and I finish my text and put everything away.

1 comment:

oveisa said...

For you with big love from Ukraine !
I like your warm and nice video " A childhood Promise" !Very very beautiful .I see it with big interesting
To you video about "Beetls "
http://www.myspace.com/oveisa

And photos from different s country's
http://www.liveinternet.ru/
users/2166633/post84559287/

http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/2166633/post126823108/
Victoria