Tuesday, 30 September 2008

from beyond the Ob

We travelled 23 hours to Novosibirsk on the banks of the vast Ob river. Our companion was Mikail, an ex-Army major, a charming man, 37, now working for a japanese firm. His schoolboy English blossomed with the hours, and together with Joanna's Russian, we were able to converse on English literature. Kipling, Charlotte Bronte, Conan Doyle,Walter Scott and many more - he knew them all, and we showed off our own knowledge of Russian literature, much more meagre. At midnight we rattled across the Ob and arrived here in a place that grew up around the Railway in the 1890,s and is now Russia's third city after Moscow and ST.Petersburg. More amazing Modernist buildings, a vast Opera House where tomorrow we go to see Coppelia. The Opera is on a huge square with a monumental Lenin statue. So many of these statues have been destroyed, or banished to corners of parks, like Gorky Park in Moscow, where two Stalins stand in a meadow with three Lenins, that its a pleasure and a shock to see them in situ, and to muse on the passage of time. Lenin's tomb in Moscow was amazing. The authorities cannot decide what to do with it and have deferred decisions until 2012. More of Lenin tomorrow - my time is running out, that is my Internet time!

love to all