These are little tidbits taken from my travel journal that holds all my stories from China, Russia, Mongolia, Germany, Portugal, and France.
Friday, May 16, 2008- late night/early morning on the train Had a great night with the Russians- by night, I mean the drinking started by mid-afternoon. I tried to stay awake all night with them because Саша (Sasha) is leaving tomorrow. The boys made us a feast of cheese, kolbasa, smoked salmon, bread, and little croutons around midnight. We lost ourselves in our quest to empty two five-liter jugs of beer, remnant cans of Балтика (Baltika), and prolonged talks about Russia, Russians, being a soldier, and rap music. We slept in their carriage until early Saturday morning; when I woke up, it was freezing, and I looked right over at Тимур (Timor) who silently got up and draped his own blanket over me. And so even on the train in the middle of Siberia, Russia has made great promises and shown me that chivalry is not completely lost in this world.
Saturday, May 17, 2008- afternoon on the train, near Omsk. The worst part of the day was at four this afternoon when Саша got off at his stop. An hour before he left, he came into our cabin and talked with us wearing the tiny Canadian flag pin we had just give him in the morning. He told us how he never liked Canada before he met us because he loves Russia so much, he talked about dental school, patrolling the Russian-Chinese border, and then about being a dentist in the military. He gave me a picture of his home city and some chocolate. I said "Я люблю шоколад!" (I love chocolate!) and he replied with a small smile, his cheeks hinting of color, "Я знаю..." (I know...). Саша made the greatest impression on me with his sharp, but delicate bone structure and his light green eyes that reminded me so much of a dear friend, the kind of eyes that could never belong to a thief because they would give him away every time. He whispered how much he hates goodbyes and I felt my throat close. I found him delightful and I relished in his embarrassment in attempting to make himself understood to me, he'd stutter away saying "как сказат? не понимаете?". I connect so rapidly to people, especially when I'm travelling, sometimes I wonder if I am too quick to bond or if it really is possible to make such quick connections with practical strangers. I like to think the latter is the truth.
Thursday, May 29, 2008- evening in Lisbon, PortugalWent shopping today at Amoreiras, Lisbon's first shopping mall and then found our way back and shopped the Chiado district for trinkets and designer names only known on this side of the Atlantic. Our favorite European store is most definitely Pull and Bear, a funkier, edgier version of Abercrombie. Tonight we have planned to go to Lux- the famous nightclub on the river owned by John Malkovich that plays host to Portugal's young and restless. The Portuguese boys are indiscreetly beautiful with dark features and tans fresh from days on the beach at Lagos, they smile their white smiles and wink with thick eyelashes every time you walk by as if they have just seen the most beautiful girl in the world. They reek of danger like most beautiful people do. You can look at them and already feel the future heartbreak but then animalistic instinct overrides humanistic logic and all is lost anyways.