Day of Labor!

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Happy Day of Spring and Labor! Due to today’s holiday, I had yesterday and today off, which made for what was essentially a four day weekend. I say essentially because I was helping people at the university with something on Saturday and I spent Sunday wandering around a few museums with my Russian teacher. As I have missed so many class hours, my Russian teacher has stolen the majority of my free time. Now weekends are no longer safe.

Skiing and snowboarding forbidden!

Saturday night was awesome as I went to a friend’s house for grilled meat goodness. Her husband and his friend grilled up some meet and we hung around in their yard for a few hours. The husband, Vadim, is an avid hunter and lover of military things. I asked him if he could find somewhere where I could shoot a Kalashnikov. He inquired with a number of friends, but apparently it’s very hard to do in Russia. While the Kalashnikov thing was a bust, Vadim asked me if I wanted to go parachuting. For a number of reasons, I politely declined the offer.

When it was time to go home, four of us ended up sharing a taxi to three different locations as all of the other taxis were busy. The result of this was that I arrived at my dormitory at 11.20PM, a good 20 minutes past my 11.00PM curfew. Lately the women who sit by the door have been changing frequently, so I always fear that the newly hired guards will be extra mean. Thankfully, I arrived at the same time as a group of somewhat drunk young men, so all I had to do was flash my ID and run off to the safety of my room.

After my escapades throughout three museums in Ulyanovsk with my teacher (none of which were Lenin museums), I wandered back to my room where a chance encounter with my neighbors led to an evening of fun. The guys next door to me were cleaning their room and they had a special wooden bat to beat the dust out of their rug. They made a joke about baseball and I asked if they wanted to learn how to play. They were interested and a few hours later we ended up playing waffle ball on the soccer field. Although there weren’t enough people, the guys were starting to pick up the game and were having fun. Unfortunately, we had to quit very quickly because it became dark and the lights for the field were not on. They seemed eager to try again in the daylight.

Ulyanovsk's first baseball team featuring players from Moldova, Turkmenistan, Dagestan, and the good old US of A. For an interactive adventure, guess who is from where.

I basically did nothing on Monday except wander around the city center in the moderately nice weather. The slightly depressing day was today. I wanted to see some of the festivities for today’s holiday, but that didn’t really go according to plan. I saw on the internet that there would be various speeches in the city center, which I figured I could skip. There was something written about a display of jeeps and other technology, but that didn’t seem to materialize. Lenin Square was actually pretty empty. Oh well, the real fun will come on the 9th.

I went to the center and all I got was this lousy picture. Happy holiday, dear citizens of Ulyanovsk!

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