Friday, August 15, 2008

On the Russian side

First contacts and traveling companions

I wake up in the train and do a morning stroll while everyone else is still sleeping. I go into the compartment and wait without doing anything. Dad tells me that it’s nearly noon and it’s time to go have lunch. I accept and get up to go to the restaurant. When we head towards the restaurant, I notice that it takes much longer to get there than the last time. When we arrive in front of the restaurant, everything has changed. The decor has become very cold, and the waitresses are cold, distant and smile very little. We take the menu and order something basic. When it’s time to pay, the waiter tries to make us pay for potatoes also, but dad doesn’t fall for it. So, first contact with Russia…, it’s rather so-so! When I return, my friends are awake. I go see them and we begin to talk. I learn that Carlos is studying political science in London; it’s someone with who I can have strong conversations. Louis wants to become an anthropologist and he’s going to study in Boston. Singoala wants to work in international relations. With Carlos I talk about soccer, but mostly we talk about communism, Castroism and the FARC. We exchange ideas and see that we share pretty much the same ones. I like these kinds of discussions but it’s sometimes difficult with my friends, those of my age. We pass next to Baical Lake and it’s just magnificent. After a while, dad calls me. We have to get ready for the so-called controller, since he told dad we had to get off in 30 minutes. I finish my discussion and say goodbye to my friends adding that if they ever come to Paris they’ll have a place to sleep. Our home in Paris is always open. Actually, when I go back in my compartment, I begin to talk with the two French and I see that we’re not about to arrive. I am furious because I had to stop my discussion for nothing. Finally, we arrive in Irkutsk, I say goodbye for the last time to my friends and get off the train.

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