Saturday, 8 June 2013
The Accidental Diplomat - Day 5 - The Conference Part 2
I awoke this morning to find a note in the handle of my door informing me about a round table discussion on the teaching of Russian Language abroad with my name on it in bold. This somewhat perplexed me as I had not been told about this event before.
At breakfast I was told that it would be the same as yesterday - sit in the audience etc. Somehow I had the feeling that it would be just like the day before in that I would somehow end up speaking, but as the day before had been a success and it is an honour to be asked to speak I decided to go with the flow and see what happened.
Arriving at the conference venue I tried to hide at the back hoping that maybe I wouldn't be spotted, sadly this failled after it turns out that not only was I due to take part but that there was a name sign on the table. Luckily I was not the first to speak and was able to jot down a few notes about the teaching of Russian Language in the UK, how fortunate I was to have been able to learn it at school, how it was rare in the UK and some reasons for why that was.
During the round table the representative from Armenia got slightly bored and decided to start talking to me instead of listening, bit rude but she did say to contact her if I am ever in Armenia. After I had spoken the chair of the round table, Andrei Klimov, commented for a long time on the points that I had made in my speech.
Following some downtime in the gardens of the conference venue with some tea and sunshine there was breifly time for lunch before we were taken on a tour of the newspaper 'Argumenti i Fakti' Perm offices. This was a great chance to meet with their journalists and find out things like how they differ from the Moscow version of the paper.
That evening we had free time to explore the city of Perm. I decided that after sitting inside for so long that I would try to find a nearby beach and enjoy the sun and the 30C heat. Looking at the map I could see that it was a shortish walk over a nearby bridge to the less industrialised side of the river. I packed a bag and headed off.
I found the route no problem and could see the beach from the otherside of the river. The problem came in crossing the bridge, because it was fairly high up and exposed my head started to spin part way across. I decided to turn back and try to take a bus instead as we had been told that the number 3 went in that direction. I managed to find the bus no problems and was happily sat enjoying the trip until I realised it was going in the wrong direction. Realising this I jumped out and decided to explore Perm instead as my attempts to ask the ticket lady if the bus went to the beach were met with the reply 'I don't understand, I don't know *glare*'.
Fortunately I was in the city centre and not too far from the hotel so decided to head to a nearby park. This park turned out to be called 'Gorky Park' and was like a smaller version of the 'Gorky Park' in Moscow complete with theme park rides, pop corn and shooting games. After I had had a good look round and enjoyed some ice cream I wandered back to the hotel past statues, beautiful buildings and a couple of highly decorated churches.
Of all the places that I have visited in the World Perm is easily one of my favourites. The views are stunning, the buildings beautiful and because of the White Nights you have extra time to enjoy the city by daylight.