Monday, 10 June 2013

The Accidental Diplomat - Day 7 - A Bridge Over the River Kama

The energy levels began to flag today as all of the flying and travelling began to take its toll. Fortunately the itinerary for the day was a fairly relaxed one. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, yogurt, fruit and coffee it was off for a guided tour of Perm city. 
On the tour we were driven around the city and show sites including the statue of Boris Pasternak (author of Dr. Zhivago), the friendly bear of Perm, and the 'Salty ears statue' which commemorates all the former residents of Perm who carried salt sacks on their shoulders and suffered from enlarged ears due to the salt rubbing against them.
(Image - The Friendly Bear of Perm)

Taking a leaf out of the habits of the bear I decided that the next few hours should be used for napping, eating, then some more napping. After this rather dull but useful cycle I was much revived and ready to return to exploring Perm.
One of my fellow delegates had found about a boat tour of the Kama River that departed every two hours and lasted about an hour and a half. So a group of us decided that this would be a great way to see the surrounding area and lap up some more of the sun.
The sun gently shone down on us as our boat sailed down the Kama, sea gulls flew along side as children threw pieces of bread to them. The only thing to disrupt the tranquillity of the trip was the pop music blaring from the upper deck. It seemed that we had managed to board the party boat. Many an embarrassed Russia child looked on as their parents boogied down to Russian pop music and even the ever popular Korean hit Gangnam Style.
(Image - Me on a boat on the River Kama)

After dinner I attempted to buy souvenirs from a very grumpy Russian lady in a park who told me that she could not be bothered to serve me and to return tomorrow. In the time that she took to be rude to me she could have made several hundred roubles, but this seemed to escape her notice so I decided to return to the White Nights festival where the service was, well, actual service.
On the way back to the hotel I decided to stop and pick up a beer to make packing for the return to Moscow more enjoyable. Sadly my attempts to buy beer were hampered as it was after 11pm and a new 'no alcohol after 11pm' law was now in place. The strange thing about this law is that beer, spirits and wine cannot be bought after 11pm, even non-alcoholic beer, but Kvas (a Russian yeasty drink that is around 1.5% alcohol) can be bought after 11pm. So instead of stocking up on beer to drink while packing I had kvas, it would seem that my day frolicking around as a peasant had had more of an effect on me that I thought!

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