Sochi sea terminal
Sochi’s water front is elegant and tacky at the same time. Modern structures hug around older Soviet constructions giving the place a strange feel. Wide squares and tree lined promenades dot the coast, which even has a small stony beach which I saw but never went to. The gentle see breeze made me Mumbai-sick and I walked around watching the sunset and ducking crowds at fancy restaurants oozing with booze and food.
Boats travel to Trabzon, Turkey and neighboring Georgia (which was closed since the latest Russo-Georgian war had just ended) from here and I fancied a Istanbul-Trans Siberia-Beijing trip as I saw several people lining up at the immigration office before boarding their ship.
You often meet random interesting people while traveling and sometimes you hit it off together – the circumstances are perfect: no strings attached, traveling in an alien land and everyone is looking for some entertainment anyway. I have this theory that locals are always interested in foreigners because foreigners are like rare commodities. A traveler on the other hand has multiple options. Sometimes you are consciously looking for something, at other times you are definitely not and this story is one from the later case.
After I found accommodation in Sochi, I dropped my backpack and went out to to see if I could have a quick snack. There was a little roadside shack manned (or should I say womanned) by an old lady (called Babushka – they keep Russia functioning) who was making Chicken Kievskaya, pieces of chicken (and cheese) stuffed in bread and deep fried, about which I had heard but never tried. At RUR 30 (1.5 USD), it was cheap and just the thing I was looking for. A twenty-five’ish girl came up to me and asked something to which I replied, “Sorry, I speak only a little Russian.” She was delighted and stopped there to speak English with me. I LOVE chatting with strangers and gosh, she spoke English! I was on the way to my room and I don’t know where she was off to, so we walked to a park nearby and sat on a bench in front of a Lenin statue (he watches us from everywhere) to eat. She spoke good English but she was talking very randomly and asking me every 2 minutes, “Hi, my name is Sofia, what is your name?”, while the molten cheese was dropping all over her face and hands.
She was beyond drunk.
Exhausted from the train journey and dying to crash on a stationary bed, I quickly finished my snack and proceeded to leave, but she insisted on going along with me. “What’s that ring on your finger, are you married? You have a girlfriend?” she kept on asking. “Ugh.. something like that..” “Buy me a beer, I will come with you, you are a nice guy.” I giggled in my head with sympathy… oh honey… and told her that I must go for I can’t do what she expects of me. But her grip on my hand was quite firm, making me wonder if she was the legacy of one of those steroid-fed Soviet power women.
I dragged her to a bus stop and the scene turned somewhat ugly. She wouldn’t let go of me and even started shouting, “Don’t you like me?”. I was yelling firmly “Я хочу уйти сейчас!” (“I want to leave right now!”) And people looked at us. And I looked away, slightly worried of police (who are everywhere) intervention since I had not registered my travel visa. And she walked behind me. “Do you really want me to go? What kind of a guy are you?” I said, “Dasvidanya, seeyou..” “See you? really? when?” Oh damn, why did I say ‘seeyou’.., I thought (some phrases come out of your mouth as a reflex, pravda?)
Anyway, finally I got rid of her, much to the amusement of onlookers and to my embarrassment. This whole incident reminded me of Cusco, Peru, 2008, where in a somewhat similar incident in the hostel common room, a girl ended up puking on my back, on my shirt that said ‘I love Machu Picchu‘ which I had purchased only few hours earlier. Damn!
Traveling is fun, isn’t it? Go ahead, lemme hear you laugh… 😉 🙂 😀