Archive for July, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Job hunting in Russia – like herding cats……..I’m meeting lots and lots of people and they love me, some really gush but no one is putting their money where their mouth is. I think some are concerned that since I am an American, I am going to ask for a king’s ransom in salary….no, I know how it works here and know that I can live really well on about ½ of what I made in the States. Trying to get commitment on even a consulting assignment is like trying to herd cats….like next to impossible. But I keep trying, because I need to work. If your Uncle Igor is looking for a smooth talking, smiling American to help boost sales or smooth out operations, have him give me a call.

 

Escape from Russia. Escape plan are being finalized. It looks like we will travel out to Barcelona, Spain drop off the paperwork for our new visas. It’s about a ten day process after they are left at the Russian Consulate we can go play in Spain. Destination: Out to the Spanish wine country along the Mediterranean coast, driving down to Valencia and maybe further; just depends on what we see and how long we want to stay. Anyway we are looking a couple days in Madrid then take the overnight train to Barcelona, spend a couple days there, get visa apps in, etc. and then down the coast, at our own pace, exploring the country and the wineries.

 

Mastering Dacha Living.

  1. You would think that living in a cabin-like building and having a wonderful garden surrounding you would be easy, right? Kind of like the Hudson Gardens model just south of Denver. Well remember this delicate structure is without plumbing or normal toilet facilities. I have referred to using an outhouse as “that vile and disgusting act”…….Sophie just laughs. But my problem for those of you who remember is my back. It is next to impossible for me to squat – I don’t want to go in the tank – literally. Without going into detail I have developed a technique that permits effective utilization of the facility………it is still a vile and disgusting act. I’m a hotel guy, not a camper!
  2. Cutting grass………..with the onset of hot weather the vegetation and mosquitoes and horse flies are fighting to see which can grow the fastest. I got out the old sickle and zapped some grass on Saturday while the horse flies defied the bug repellant I was wearing and proceeded to feast on my old hide. It became very apparent that this valiant effort to recreate the camaraderie of cutting grass with a sickle was backbreaking and way too time consuming and well, out of step with all the modernization going on in Russia. What is needed is a weed eater. These are devices just now coming into commercial use but not widely used by individuals on their dacha properties. I’ll put that on my to-buy list for my father-in-law for Christmas.

 Driving and standing still. I had the displeasure this morning of the worst traffic jam I have ever been in. 2.5 hours to drive a normal 20 minute stretch from Sophie’s job back to the flat. I was literally sitting in traffic turning my engine off for 5-7 minute stretches to save fuel. Sooooooooo much new infrastructure is needed and roads are at the top of the list. There are so many cars it is literally like a parking lot at times. To sour the pot even more, add in bad driving manners. Today, I am waiting my turn (what a concept – waiting one’s turn) to cross a street when there was an opening. The woman behind me got out of her car, came up and told me I was stupid since I was not plunging ahead and blocking the intersection; forget about the cross traffic and their need to move along too. She spoke Russian; I spoke English. I knew what she was telling me and she knew that I was telling her she had bad manners behind the wheel. I was a nice guy and didn’t flip her off. Being on foot like we were in Almaty is starting to look better and better all the time.

 

Flying Gets Better. The first of the new Boeing 787 aircraft was rolled out of the hanger on 7/8/07 (get it!), at Boeing’s Everett, WA plant in front of a crowd of 15,000 Boeing employees vendors, customers and well wishers and to a wider world wide audience thanks to Boeing transmitting the festivities via satellite around the world.. This plane looks normal but under the composite skin are some technological marvels that will improve air travel for passengers and airlines both. Go out to the Boeing website www.boeing.com and see the roll out. Boeing so far has nearly 700 orders from 46 different airlines and leasing companies, making it the single most successful airplane launch in the history of the industry. The 787 is the replacement for the wide body work horse of the past 25 years the 767. Unlike the Airbus 380 – the humongous offering from Toulouse, the 787 is clearly a “better, not bigger” offering. Hats off to Boeing for a great new plane.

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