Archive for March, 2007

The Secret Trip to Moscow

 

The Secret Trip to Moscow

By Mike Lynn, Sr. Blogger 

This Blogger, sworn to secrecy under penalty of genital dismemberment, divorce and abandonment in a Siberian snow drift, can now report on the secret trip of Sophia Lynn to Moscow on March 1.

Sophia met with representatives of Ernst and Young to complete negotiations on an employment agreement that places her in charge of E&Y’s Yekaterinburg consulting operation. Ernst and Young will be the first of the big 4 accounting and consulting firms to establish a consulting beachhead in Russia’s 3rd largest and most industrialized city and region. Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk to you old Soviet hands) is the center of the former Soviet military/industrial complex in the center of Russia’s Urals region. The region still supports significant military-related industries for the Russian government, metallurgical processing and fabrication companies of all kinds and the production of a growing array of consumer products. “The region is ready for the full range of consulting services that Ernst and Young can offer”, said Sophia.

Sophia met to debrief family and close associates upon her return to Almaty on March 3 concerning the meeting. While in Moscow, she additionally met with representatives of Sultanna Frantsuzova, Sophia’s clothing designer of record. The debrief in Almaty included her modeling cloths from SF’s spring 2007 collection – consultants gotta look good!

Sophia has been in Almaty for Deloitte for nearly a year. The move to E&Y offers a significant increase in responsibility for marketing consulting services. She is looking forward to the return home to Yekaterinburg and the chance to assume significant new professional responsibilities.

Family members were rapturous in their response. Expected stay in Almaty was 3 years. This work opportunity fast tracks family plans for a move back to Yekaterinburg to work and be near family. Expected arrival to Yekaterinburg will be May 1, 2007. Now its time for ML to start looking for his new dream job.

This Blog note, appearing in talesfromkazland Blog, has been reviewed for content and cleared for release at this time………….(Sophie says it’s OK!)

Yelexsiy Resort-International Women’s Day Outing

Like our wine drinking habits we continue to seek out the bargains in other activities here in KZ. For our taste, resorts are getting out of control in KZ like so much other wealth-driven pursuits; we simply won’t spend 30,000 KZ Tenge to relax. Yelexsiy was a diamond in the rough and we only hope it stays that way. We aren’t interested in lux massage with coffee ground/sour cream facials (yuk!); our goal is to find relaxation in a natural setting. This is the best we’ve found so far in KZ.

 

Yelexsiy is about 40 Kilometers from Almaty. The resort has a maritime theme; somehow they pull this off, though the “ship” is a bit down in the tooth. We stayed in an old Soviet army command trailer sitting about 100 feet “inland” from the ship. It had been rewired and insulated and rechristened “Captain’s Quarters”. It was the only 2 room space on the property. It would be a stretch to call it a suite but it had two rooms and we were warm sleeping on army issue thin mats over a plywood bed frame with incredibly heavy blankets. The rest of the rentable space at Yelexsiy was a hodge-podge of outrageous construction that would never pass code in the States, but works fine out here in rural KZ. The ship I spoke of has cabins as well. It is in “dry dock” at present, being outfitted for the summer. It sits next to a great mountain stream that comes alive in the summer months. You can image the ship being anchored next to the stream. Right now we are on the tail end of winter and THE main attraction is skiing and snow boarding. The main run that curves so dangerously into the main barbecue area is shared by both skiers and boarders alike. The experts consider the slower neophytes only a new obstacle to go around. Sophie learned to ski in one afternoon and was looking pretty confident. Not as confident as a 7 year old girl who skied down the hill without poles. She was an inspiration to Sophie and to Nadia who we will get going skiing next season. The main run down to the lodge is short; maybe 3 minutes from where you disconnect from the cable line. But here are two wonderful upper ski areas that are simply breathtaking; one is a roughing-it run in the upper mountains away from the lodge. I think you take your life in your hands to ski this with rocks, hidden shrubs – it is totally un-groomed but it is a favorite for experts.

 

During the evening, we did kabobs on the grill. One of Sophie’s co-worker girl friends from Deloitte and her beau were there as well. We shared food, having a picnic at about a minus 15°C. My father-in-law calls this extreme living “KIFE” or the rush of life; what fun. We ate well; I was drinking Guinness Stout, not having to worry about it getting too warm.

 

I can’t forget the flies – our suite has a group of lazy flies that somehow have survived the winter hiding out in the trailer. When it’s occupied and heated they start moving a little faster, thinking its summer again. The best way to characterize our accommodation is to compare it to an old western bunk house; incredibly Spartan but full of charm and proximity to the skiing action.

 

The bottom line: We spent 6,000 Kaz Tenge for the suite, a two hour Russian banya and use of the BBQ area AND it included Sophie’s ski instruction plus 3 hours of lift time after the one hour lesson. She is a fast learner. This is about $50.00-US per day. Our only extra was pony rides for Nadia. Pony rides also doubled as a taxi to go the last 1.5 kilometers to reach Yelexsiy. The roads are so icy even 4 wheel drive vehicles can’t get there. You walk in or take a horse taxi. A new photo gallery is included.